Why and Why Not to Use .Net with Nearshore Programmers
The Pros and Cons of Using .Net with Your Nearshore or Offshore Programmers
.Net (it’s said “dot net”) is a free, open source, cross-platform developer platform for building different types of applications. Once famously maligned as being “like cooking in a McDonalds kitchen” (because everything looked the same), .Net is now dynamic and versatile choice and an ideal platform for nearshore and offshore teams, with only a few significant drawbacks.
Identifying a need for a platform based on managed code, Microsoft developed the first versions of .Net in the late 1990s. The most recent version, .Net Core, is an open-sourced, multi-platform version of the original that lives in the cloud and is highly adaptable to programming Windows, Web and Mobile applications.
While .Net code is usually written in C#, F# or Visual Basic — making it an easy-to-use and widely understood platform for nearshore and offshore programmers worldwide — it is also adaptable for use with 25 other CLI-compliant languages, including IronPython, Phalanger, Oxygene, and more. Since its rollout in 2016, Microsoft has been pushing hard to standardize .Net Core so that it becomes the go-to for all .Net programmers. If your team is considering using .Net, here are a number of reasons it might be ideal for your nearshore or offshore team — and two reasons why it might not.
When Microsoft rolled out .Net Core, one of the essential changes between it and its earlier counterparts was that the new version would run code on OS X, Windows, and Linux. This means whatever coding language your team uses (C#, F#, or Visual Basic) your applications will be able to run on OS X, Windows, and Linux. If your nearshore team is looking to create efficient products with less administrative burden, or less time rewriting code for different uses, .Net could be an ideal choice.
Partly because of its versatility, and partly because of its robust backing as a member of the Microsoft family, .Net is amply supported by a large and vibrant user community. This means if you choose to bring your nearshore or offshore programmers on board to work with your team in .Net programming, they will be able to connect to other programmers around the world who are already solving problems and creating code with .Net that can increase the efficiency and usability of .Net for your uses. That’s a pretty impressive advantage.
Unlike a purely open-sourced community, .Net is not only user supported: it is supported, in large part, by the might and brainpower of one of tech’s most robust organizations: Microsoft. What this means in real terms is that the ecosystem of Microsoft is continually applying cutting edge technological advancements to the improvement of .Net Core. The result is that your nearshore or offshore programmers are unlikely to get stuck up a creek without a paddle. Microsoft wants you to use .Net, and so they are constantly creating, sharing, and supplying new paddles! However....
This link to Microsoft also comes with a cost. Unlike a purely community-run programming community, while .Net might have open-source components, it is not entirely open-sourced. For example, to use Visual Studio for .Net, it will net you $1,999 per year for one engineer; multiply that by your nearshore team size to get a sense of how feasible this is for your company. Another stumbling block for budget conscious companies will be the fact that while .Net can be used to program for Mac and Linux it is perhaps (understandably) best known for use with Windows — and that will come with an additional licensing cost.
While this might not be a drawback for long, at present, Microsoft is still in the midst of transitioning between older versions of .Net and the new .Net Core. What this means is that there is still more existing code in the older versions, and more programs, documentation, and support for the older .Net. This can be a challenge for nearshore teams who have been using .Net for many years and are still in the midst of this transition themselves.
But as with anything new and innovative, there are going to be some bumps in the road. The question is: will the newest version of Microsoft’s .Net developer platform continue to live out its potential, or struggle to overcome its setbacks? Only time will tell.
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