Why .NET Core Web Applications are Better Than Spreadsheets for Managing Data
8 min read
Web applications offer a number of advantages over traditional spreadsheet-based data management systems. First, the obvious: web applications are much more scalable and can support a larger number of users simultaneously. Web applications support real-time updates and collaborative infrastructure. They offer additional features and analysis.
But, maybe even more important than this level of interactivity, is that .NET Core Web Applications won't just optimize a business—they will protect a business. Now more than ever, organizations have to protect and preserve the information essential to keeping their business privacy-first and operable.
Let's look at how companies can benefit from abandoning the spreadsheets and developing an internal ASP.NET Core application.
What is ASP.NET Core?
ASP.NET Core is a new open-source cross-platform .NET framework from Microsoft.com for building modern cloud-based web applications on Windows, Mac, or Linux. ASP.NET Core apps can run on .NET Core or on the full .NET Framework. It is maintained by Microsoft and the .NET user community on GitHub. It was created to provide an optimized ASP.NET development framework for apps that are deployed to the cloud or run on-premises.
ASP.NET Core is a re-release of ASP.NET and the previous .NET Platforms, providing a more modular framework that is built from the ground up to support modern business software development paradigms such as containerization, micro services, and cloud-based deployments.
In addition, ASP.NET Core apps can take advantage of many of the same features that have made .NET so popular, such as a large and active ASP.NET developer community, rich tooling support, and a vast ecosystem of open-source libraries.
History of ASP.NET and .NET Core
ASP.NET is a web application framework that was first released in 2002 as part of the .NET Framework. ASP.NET was created to provide a way to build dynamic, data-driven websites using the .NET Framework.
In 2016, Microsoft released ASP.NET Core, which represented a major redesign of the framework. ASP.NET Core 1.0 was built from the ground up to support modern development paradigms and to be lightweight, modular, and cross-platform. ASP.NET Core 1.0 was released as part of .NET Core 1.0, which is a new cross-platform .NET framework that can run on Windows IIS, Mac, or Linux.
ASP.NET Core 2.0 was released in 2017 and included a number of significant improvements, such as better performance, expanded tooling support, and new features such as Razor Pages. ASP.NET Core 2.0 could run on .NET Core 2.0 or on the full .NET Framework, while ASP.NET Core 1.0 could only run on .NET Core 1.0.
ASP.NET Core 3.0 was released in 2019 and brought support for building desktop applications using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Windows Forms. Today, ASP.NET Core is a feature-rich and high-performance framework that is well-suited for building modern web applications. All in all, ASP.NET is an incredible web application development platform, and quality ASP.NET development services are sought out by thousands of corporations.
What is NET Core Used for?
NET Core is a versatile framework that can be used to build a wide variety of applications. ASP.NET Core is the most popular use case for .NET Core, but it can also be used to build console applications, Windows services, and even IoT devices. Essentially, anything you can do in most robust languages can be done with a combination of ASP.NET and associated technologies like SQL Server.
The major benefits of ASP.NET Core:
- Cross-platform: ASP.NET Core apps can run on the Windows platform, Mac, or Linux.
- Modular: ASP.NET Core is built as a set of NuGet packages that can be added to your project as needed. This makes your app more lightweight and allows you to only include the features that you need.
- High-performance: ASP.NET Core apps are built to be fast and scalable.
- Open-source: ASP.NET Core is an open-source framework that is actively developed by Microsoft and the community.
- Active developer community: There is a large and active programmer community around ASP.NET Core, with many open-source libraries and tools available.
- Rich tooling support: There are many development tools available for developing ASP.NET Core apps, including Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, and command-line tools that allow you to compile runtimes and perform debugging of source code. There are dozens of templates for quickly creating all kinds of apps. There is even support for multiple .NET programming languages such as C#, VB.NET, F#, XAML, and TypeScript. Each language gets compiled into the CLR (Common Language Runtime).
- Ecosystem of open-source libraries: There is a vast ecosystem of open-source class libraries that can be used with ASP.NET Core such as Entity Framework Core which simplifies SQL Server database access and eliminates most of the code needed to access data. Visual Studio comes with the .NET SDK (Software Development Kit) which is a set of libraries to allow developers to create robust applications. It contains the .NET libraries, the .NET CLI, the .NET runtime, and the .NET driver.
- Container-friendly: ASP.NET Core apps can be easily containerized via a command-line interface, and deployed to the cloud with Docker Containers. There are several package managers available, Nuget being the most popular.
- Cloud-ready: ASP.NET Core was designed from the ground up to support deployment to the cloud.
- Mobile Apps: ASP.NET Core can be used to create the backend and frontend for a robust mobile app. Xamarin is a free Microsoft, cross-platform, open source, app platform for building Android and iOS apps with .NET and C#.
- APIs: APIs are important for application integration. .NET Core has built-in support for communicating with web APIs. .NET Standard is a specification for APIs that tries to create uniformity in .NET APIs.
- Modern development paradigms: ASP.NET Core supports modern development paradigms such as microservices and cloud application development.
There are many benefits to building ASP.NET Core applications. ASP.NET Core is a cross-platform framework that can be used to build ASP.NET web applications that run on the operating systems Windows, MacOS, or Linux. Additionally, ASP.NET Core apps can be deployed to the cloud or on-premises, making them a good choice for a wide variety of deployments.
What types of data do businesses need to manage?
There are many types of data that businesses need to manage, such as customer data, employee data, financial data, inventory data, and sales data. In most cases, this data is stored in a database, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, or MySQL. But sometimes it's instead just popped into Excel spreadsheets or Google sheets.
- Customer data. Personally identifiable information such as a person's name, address, phone number, and email address. This data is used to contact customers, send them marketing materials, and track their purchase history. Critically, customer data management is now under new regulations regarding privacy and security.
- Employee data. Employee information such as name, address, phone number, email address, job title, and salary. This data is used to contact employees, track their work history, and manage payroll. If breached, this data could lead to costly identity theft.
- Financial data. Financial information such as income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity. This data is used to track the financial performance of a business and make decisions about where to allocate resources.
- Inventory data. This data includes information about the products that a business sells, such as product name, description, price, and quantity. This data is used to track inventory levels and make decisions about ordering new products. Quite a lot of logistics information pulls from inventory data.
- Sales data. This data includes information about the sales that a business makes, such as a customer name, product name, sale date, and sale price. This customer relationship data is used to track the performance of a business and make decisions about pricing and marketing.
- Operational data. This data includes information about the day-to-day operations of a business, such as employee schedules, customer orders, production plans, and all of the dependencies between those data. This operations data is used to manage the day-to-day activities of a business and make sure that everything is running smoothly.
When it comes to managing data, businesses need to have a system in place to store, organize, and access this data. Importantly, organizations have to maintain governance.
There are significant security concerns when it comes to unmanaged data. Unmanaged data can be lost or stolen, which can lead to financial losses, legal liabilities, and reputational damage. In some cases, data breaches can even result in the closure of the business.
The problems with using spreadsheets for managing business data
There are many problems with using spreadsheets for managing business data. While it may be the most direct solution (and often easy to set up), they aren't scalable.
- Spreadsheets are not designed for storing large amounts of data. They get bogged down very quickly. Additionally, when data is spread out across multiple spreadsheets, it becomes very difficult to keep track of everything. It's easy for data to get lost or corrupted in a spreadsheet.
- Spreadsheets are also not very secure. They can be easily hacked or stolen. And if they are stored on a computer that is not properly secured, they can be accessed by anyone. If they're on the cloud, they can also be very vulnerable and they can train viruses that could infect your entire company.
- Spreadsheets are not easy to share or collaborate on. Multiple people can't work on a local spreadsheet at the same time, which can make it difficult to get work done in a timely manner. Cloud spreadsheets can be worked on by multiple people, but it can be confusing—while you can see the changes being made in real-time, it can be difficult to see what has been changed and updated.
- Spreadsheets are also not very flexible. They can't be easily customized or integrated with other systems. You need to import/export data to/from spreadsheets, whichhttps://www.keenesystems.com/blog/why-every-growing-business-needs-database-development-services can add another layer of complexity.
- Spreadsheets are not very efficient. They can take a lot of time to set up and maintain. Even if you can hit the ground running with a spreadsheet in a day or so, you will frequently find yourself having to go back and modify it to be useful.
- Spreadsheets can lead to errors and inconsistencies if they are not carefully maintained. There are no internal checks that you don't program yourself. A spreadsheet can't tell whether data makes sense; it can only report the data that's entered.
- Spreadsheets limit growth: Spreadsheets were developed for the masses. But your business is unique, and you need a web application written for the specific needs of your company instead of something written for the masses.
Spreadsheets are a great way to store simple information and do calculations. But they are a terrible way to manage business data and your business process flow. They simply cannot match the functionality of a well-written web application.
Why .NET Core web applications are better for managing business data than spreadsheets
As you can see, spreadsheets aren't the best solution. Spreadsheets vs. Off The Shelf Software vs. Customized Software, why is .NET Core any better? As we've discussed, ASP.NET has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2002. It's advanced, accessible, and easily deployable. You can engage with a .NET core developer to create a custom software application for data management with ASP. NET.
Here are the most critical advantages .NET Core web apps have over spreadsheets:
- .NET core apps are more secure. They can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. They can also be easily integrated with other security systems.
- .NET core apps are more scalable. They can handle large amounts of data without getting bogged down. An enterprise has to be able to scale its data or it could actually hurt itself as it grows. Spreadsheets used to store data should be converted to databases.
- .NET core apps are more flexible. They can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business. They can also be easily integrated with other systems.
- .NET core apps are more efficient. They don't require a lot of time to set up or maintain. You can get started quickly and have a fully functioning system in no time.
- Collaboration. ASP.NET Core applications allow multi-user collaboration, whereas spreadsheets do not.
- Ease of development: .NET Core development is easier because of the rich set of tools and libraries available for it.
Overall, .NET Core web applications are better for managing business data than spreadsheets. These web applications can be customized for your business. Many companies shy away from developing their own apps because they're worried about the investment, but there are hidden costs of off-the-shelf software, and the investment will pay for itself over time in improved efficiency. The bottom line is that it is easy to convert spreadsheets into Web Applications when you have the right team.
Build your web application using .NET Core for performance, scalability and accessibility
Ultimately, .NET Core web applications are much better than spreadsheets on virtually every level. Custom web applications will implement your unique business processes—the thing that made your company successful in the first place.
.NET Core is a powerful framework that can be used to build fast, scalable, and accessible web apps. ASP.NET Core is the most popular use case for .NET Core, but it can also be used to build console applications, windows services, and even IoT devices.
You'll find that you'll be able to manage, analyze, and optimize your data for far greater success by building a custom web application. But you don't need to do it alone. a web application development company will build your organization a custom web app to perfectly match your unique business needs. You have to ask yourself, “Is your current off-the-shelf software built for you or all your competitors?” Seek out Custom Software Development Services to stay up with the competition and to take your company to the next level.
To find out more information about our ASP.NET software development outsourcing capabilities, or if you’d like to discuss your ASP.NET needs with Keene Systems CEO, Lance Keene click here to book a call with him. You can also download our great new eBook - Why ASP.NET Development Services Fuels Business Growth - to learn more about this essential topic.