Setting up ASP.NET Hosting
Web developers are constantly on the lookout for new tools and technologies that they can use to enhance both their own productivity and the effectiveness of their client’s Web sites. One of the recent trends in site design, is increasingly complex and highly dynamic Web pages. The businesses that are supporting these websites are demanding more and more from their websites, so developers are trying to build even more sophisticated websites. That is one of the reasons that the developer community has been eager to learn more about the opportunities afforded by Microsoft ASP.NET. This set of technologies in the Microsoft .NET Framework offers the ability to develop complex, highly dynamic Web sites more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
In order to build customer sites on the ASP.NET platform, developers must rely on ASP.NET hosting providers. Many Web Hosts are realising the unique opportunity in this growing interest in ASP.NET, and are gearing to offer ASP.NET Hosting.
The key to ASP.NET hosting is Developer orientation. Developers are the key decision makers in their companies for this type of Hosting. They want to make sure that their apps will work on the Web Hosts platform. The key question Web Hosts interested in Technology Hosting need to ask is, How best to support developers who want to build complex websites cost-effectively. How to maintain a Hosting framework that will support such websites cost-effectively. One of the ways for this, is to consider Developer oriented services running on ASP.NET running on Microsoft Windows Server 2003.
ASP.NET is a truly Object oriented language, with sophisticated object oriented features supported. Object oriented programmers can easily get used to this new environment. Another benefit is that developers have language flexibility, which means they can write code in various languages.
A major strength of the ASP.NET platform is in its Development Environment. Developers can use WebMatrix (a free IDE), or Visual Studio .NET or Borlands tools like Delphi or C++ builder. This reduces the time to develop code, by at least 2-3 times. Tools like Visual Studio has sophisticated debugging environment including breakpoints and tracing sections of code.
ASP.NET is an improvement over ASP. ASP.NET compiles code for execution, It also detects change and recompiles code automatically. The result is a three to five fold increase in the performance of classic ASP apps when they move to an ASP.NET platform. However, ASP.NET consumes more memory and somewhat slower than competitor platform, PHP.
Web Hosts that are eager to offer a new developer-oriented service on ASP.NET, can best do it based on the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system using Microsoft ASP.NET.
Companies like Verio which have adopted the ASP.NET platform in their hosting offerings, claim that with ASP.NET plus IIS 6.0, they have been able to host nearly twice as many websites on a shared server as it could under earlier versions of IIS.
ASP.NET hosting also means more opportunities for upselling developer-oriented services. Developers who start a customer site using a Microsoft Access or SQL Server Desktop database can move a customer over to the Web Hosts Shared SQL Server offering as site growth warrants.
The best platform to run .NET apps are Windows 2003 operating system with .NET Framework Version 2.0. You can download the .NET Framework 2.0 at Design packages free of cost. The Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 (x86) redistributable package installs the .NET Framework runtime and associated files required to run applications developed to target the .NET Framework v2.0. Many ASP.NET Web Hosts also provide .NET Framework 1.1, which supports ASP.NET 1.1.
Out of the box, ASP.NET comes with about 4,500 components built in,Ã¢ says Eric Carsrud, Manager of Windows Systems Administration for Verio’s SME unit, and they’re very easy to access. ASP.NET Web Matrix and [Microsoft] Visual Studio .NET basically allow you to do drag-and-drop programming. Developers can add functionality to their applications at a record pace and much of it is functionality that they used to shy away from offering to their customers because of the amount of time they would have to invest in developing it.
In addition to the default components like WSDL, SOAP and IE Web controls, Web Hosts can enhance the customers experience, with addons like Component One. ComponentOne Studio(Componentone.com) for ASP.NET is a comprehensive suite of components including grid, reporting, charting, data, user-interface, and eCommerce components for ASP.NET.
/n software IBiz Integrator ASP.NET Suite(nsoftware.com) is also a popular component which includes PayPal, e-payment, QuickBooks, USPS and OFX Integrators.
Many Web Hosts offer Basic Web Hosting packages with Access database integration. Advanced packages typically offer MSSQL Database Server.
Ensim Pro for Windows includes pre-installed .NET Framework to support ASP.NET Hosting. It supports Microsoft ASP.NET Web Matrix and other tools to develop differentiated .NET services. Ensim’s Unify is also a Web Hosting product they developed in collaboration with Microsoft. It includes an exclusive Windows platform, prepackaged to run ASP.NET out of the box.
The Plesk Windows control panel also supports ASP.NET platform.
Remember that the customers who buy ASP.NET services are probably all developers. Tech support “has” to be familiar with .NET technology, installing related components, MSSQL Database connectivity issues etc, in addition to the regular Web Hosting queries that come by.
Microsoft supports Web Hosting companies that plan to get into ASP.NET in a big way. Verio, for example partnered with Microsoft in designing their Web Hosting products.
Studying some Web Hosts that have already got into ASP.NET may also help.
About the author:
Sangeetha Naik heads Bobcares.com. She is the co-founder of Poornam Info Vision Ltd., Software and IT services company specializing in Linux based solutions for Webhosts and ISPs. Poornam Info Vision is an ISO 9001:2000 certified company with a team of over 140 engineers.
Sangeetha is a Computer Engineer based in India and has over 7 years of experience in the Hosting industry. Her articles have been published both online as well as in print.