There’s something of a stigma in using .NET in the startup ecosystem. With the history of the .NET framework and the tight coupling it held with Windows and Microsoft products, it is easy to understand why. The costs of using all Microsoft products were prohibitive and the performance of anything running on Windows leaves much to be desired. The days of the old framework are long gone though and it’s time to reconsider
Microsoft has completely rebuilt .NET from the ground up. It runs anywhere, on anything and is open source. It is time to seriously give it a chance in your startup. We’re going to take a look at a few reasons why and cast away some myths.
Its not just for Windows anymore
In the old days, .NET and Windows were bound together as one but no longer. .NET allows for cross-platform development, meaning you can create applications that run on multiple operating systems (e.g., Windows, Linux, and macOS). This can save time and resources, as you won’t need to create separate codebases for each platform. With .NET MAUI and Blazor you can finally achieve the dream of a single codebase to run your mobile app, web app, and even desktop app and it will run on any OS you can dream up.
This removal of Windows coupling also means .NET is no longer bound to Azure either. Take the new .NET to the cloud of your choice and it will run there easily. AWS, GCP, Azure and even Heroku can run it. Anywhere you can have Linux, you can have .NET
Strong developer tools
NET has a powerful set of development tools, including Visual Studio, which can make it easier to write and debug code. This can help speed up development and reduce the likelihood of errors. You can now code for .NET on Windows, Mac, or Linux. It works on ARM or x86. Your developers can use the hardware and OS they love and don’t need to touch Windows. All the tooling you ever need is built righ tinto Visual Studio so you won’t waste time looking for plugins and extensions everywhere to do your job.
Scalability and Performance
.NET is designed to be scalable, so it can handle large amounts of traffic and data. This can be particularly useful for startups that expect to grow quickly.
Take a look at the awesome benchmarks at TechEmpower. You can see .NET absolutely smokes the other top startup frameworks. At the time of this writing, .NET is ranked at #12 while NodeJS is #213. As for Rails? We have to go all the way down to #407 to see it. This kind of performance is going to save you loads on compute.
Async programming is also a breeze in .NET compared to other technologies. At some point, your startup will scale to the point of needing lots of async processes. By choosing .NET, you’ll be in the best position to quickly take advantage of the tools to do this.
Integration with other tech and open source
Obviously if for some reason your startup is a Microsoft shop technology wise (Office, Sharepoint, etc) you’re going to want to choose .NET. There is no other tech with as good of support for Microsoft products as .NET. What many don’t know though, is that you don’t need to use any Microsoft technology at all with .NET.
.NET has first class support for pretty much every tech out there due to the fact that is open source and has such a large community. Postgres, Mongo, ElasticSearch, you name it, and .NET supports it. In fact when we start a project, we always use Postgresql because of the cost savings and the super fast Entity Framework ORM support for it.
The community around .NET is huge and growing. The support is great and you can find packages for anything.
You can use it for AI and ML
These days, your startup is probably going to have to do something with AI/ML to generate any buzz right? Welp, good news, with ML.NET you can build and run AI/ML workloads right in C# and .NET. The libray is fantastic and has some awesome AutoML capabilities to make implementing AI simple. If there is something that isn’t supported yet, it has first class support for integrating into Tensorflow workloads.
It doesn’t require much code anymore
One of the major issues with .NET in the past is how much code you had to write to get something working. That is no longer the case. With the introduction of Minimal APIs, you can get up and running with less code than even NodeJS. Let’s take a look at what a minimal API looks like:
Yep, that’s it. We now have a functioning API. Pretty awesome right?
Ultimately, whether or not to use .NET in your startup depends on your specific needs and goals. It’s worth considering the potential benefits and drawbacks, and comparing .NET to other technology stacks to determine what will work best for your startup. Overall, .NET’s scalability features make it a good choice for startups that need to build applications that can handle large amounts of traffic or data. The flexibility leads to cost savings as you can do more with the same codebase.
We’d love to hear your opinions. Have some compelling reason you shouldn’t use .NET? Something you’re wondering if it can support that we left out? Let us know in the comments!