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ASP.NET Web Forms Modernization

Migrating Your ASP.NET Web Forms Application to .NET Core

Tons of business applications have been written in .NET and its most famous project type – the ASP.NET Web Forms, which some 20 years ago helped organizations migrate their legacy Windows Forms applications to the web and thus open to global markets.

.NET Core (and its latest version, .NET 5) is the exciting new future for .NET and, along with its announcement, Microsoft made it clear that ASP.NET Web Forms will not be ported to .NET Core.

While your ASP.NET Web Forms applications will remain functional as long as you have the talent to support them, just like Classic ASP applications, they will become increasingly brittle and outdated over the years.

ASP.NET Application Modernization

.NET 5 is here. What does it bring along?

.NET 5 is the new step forward with .NET Core, the platform where all future Microsoft investments in .NET will converge. When compared to .NET Framework, .NET Core has a lot to offer that resonates with modern application development principles:

  • The code you write will build upon the same shared framework components APIs, regardless of the type of app you are building.
  • You will be able to reuse more code across app types, platforms and devices C# updates move in lockstep with .NET 5. Developers will have access to the latest C# version and features.
  • You will be using the same languages across application types, operating systems, and chip architectures.
  • You will have the ability to choose the runtime experience (CoreCLR or Mono).
  • Objective-C and Swift interoperability will be supported on multiple operating systems.

With .NET 5+, Microsoft builds on its promise to make .NET more universal and offer broader capabilities.

Why should you migrate to .NET Core?

While Microsoft confirmed they would be supporting existing ASP.NET Web Forms applications, for the time being, there are many good reasons for you to consider migrating to the latest .NET project.

Key concerns to consider:

Application Modernization Reasons
Better syntax
No new features and updates for ASP.NET Web Forms; simpler development models and better syntax in newer C# versions (available with .NET Core).
.NET Core performance improvements
.NET Core features a lot of performance improvements that are off the limit for your project.
.NET Core better security
ASP.NET Web Forms applications are more susceptible to security risks and vulnerabilities. Even internal applications can be compromised.
Application stability
.NET Core offers better overall application stability.
Talent scarcity
The scarcity of ASP.NET Web Forms talent makes software changes expensive and risky, opening the door to introducing new bugs that are hard to trace and fix.

Still running ASP.NET Web Forms or Classic ASP.NET applications?
These are your options:

Rewrite their ASP.NET application from scratch using MVC or Blazor
When the application has been around for a decade or more (which would often be the case), and there is a hefty backlog full of new feature requests and UI to be developed, the task of rewriting the entire application becomes not just time-consuming, but outright impossible.
Rewrite the application while maintaining the ASP.NET Web Forms version
Most ASP.NET applications support business-critical functions in the organization, facilitating daily tasks and workflows, which poses a substantial challenge for the development team. They will need to rewrite the application while keeping it operational. Building a new version in parallel with maintaining the old one proves very expensive.
Modernize their ASP.NET Web Forms application
Continuous, iterative modernization can enable the development team to gradually migrate from ASP.NET Web Forms to a modern stack like MVC or .NET Core. With this approach, the engineering team gradually creates a new system around the edges of the old, letting it grow slowly until all system capabilities have been rewritten and the old system is now obsolete. Software engineers often call this the strangler fig application. By replacing Web Forms with a modern UI framework, while keeping the business logic intact, the development team can incrementally switch to .NET Core, keeping the lights on the Web Forms application while modernizing their system.

The Resolute Way

Web development is moving fast. Web applications need to be lightweight and performant to deliver business value. Further, they need to be secure, responsive, and operational across browsers, platforms, and devices. You might want to focus on planning for the not-so-distant future, weighing the pros and cons of staying with obsolete technology.

Choosing to modernize your application using MVC, Razor or Blazor would require rewriting the entire application, retraining your team while fixing UI glitches, and handling customer dissatisfaction that inevitably stems from such updates. If your organization does not have the resources to dedicate to manage all this, a partner may be the way to go.

.NET Framework vs .NET Core .NET Framework vs .NET Core

At Resolute Software, we take the time to assess your application‘s architecture, interdependencies with other applications and databases, separation of the business logic from the UI before proposing a plan of action.

The Steps We Take

A quick rundown of the ASP.NET Web Forms application modernization steps we take:

Step 1
Together with the client, we choose the front-end (UI) framework for the application modules, carefully weighing the pros and cons depending on the type of the application and the business goals.
Step 3
We inventory your application and assess its architecture as well as the state of the components used. We prioritize the parts that need our attention first – functionality that needs to be rewritten, migrated to the cloud, or replaced.
Steps we take
Step 2
We analyze the opportunities for refactoring, code cleanup and the introduction of modern development concepts such as test automation, continuous integration and delivery, and so on.
Step 4
We assess and consider any improvements that can be done to the business layer to help decouple monolithic applications and convert them to microservices.

Need help to modernize your ASP.NET Web Forms applications?

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