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Calling all .NET Gurus

I have barely gotten my feet wet with .NET.  My initial impression thus far, is that former ASP developers love this platform for web development.

What about developing traditional thick client apps?

I have an n-tier project that has a web ui and several thick apps and a handheld component.  .NET seems perfectly suited for the requirements, on paper, that is.

So a few questions:

Any of you had success with thick client apps using WinForms?  Any gotchas?

Would you write a commercial application for this platform?

Any issues with maintenance? Platform stability?

Any info is appreciated ...

canuck
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Yes. Watch out for the size of the runtime, and performance on older machines.

Absolutly.

Not that I've run into.

John Rosenberg
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

To quantify the question about commercial software:

There is a potential that this project will be hatched as a commercial product targeting a vertical market.

Two versions would likely be available:

A beefy, bells and whistles Enterprise version.  I see no issues with respect to .NET here.

A stripped down Pro version, with a Winforms UI.  Are there possible issues with Win 95/98/Me users with respect to .NET? 

canuck
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

.NET doesn't run on Win 95. Other than that it is a good platform, which is still in its infancy, but already usable and with a lot of potential.

Stefan Haubold
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The .NET Framework has lots of bugs, unfortunately.

Plan ahead and allot time for working around lots of bugs even in basic library functions, and maybe write external .DLLs in plain C or C++ if you can't work around the bugs.

Michael
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I'm not a guru of .NET so to say, but I've used it long enough to say my 2 cents worth.

The .NET framework is primarily targetted for web based applications. You can develop using WinForms, but I would suggest that till the framework becomes mature enough you had better use the traditional GUI languages like VC & VB

The One You Loved (TOYL)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

We have been using it to write thick client Handheld applications and we are loving it.  Doesn't sound like we are doing the scale that you are looking at but we have been very happy with it so far.

The only issue we had was load time of applications.  I think that this was mostly a Complact Framework type issue.  We found this article: http://smartdevices.microsoftdev.com/Learn/Articles/565.aspx
And were able to reduce our load time by almost 80%.  It may help you out as well.

Matt Watson
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I'd take Michael's comments with a grain of salt.

No doubt there are known issues, but we've been developing applications with .NET since it's inception and the only major hassle I've had it dealing with the Oracle Managed provider from Microsoft.

If Michael is encountering that many bugs that it's constantly slowing down his production, he should indicate what kind of software he is developing that he is having that much trouble with. Perhaps it's specific to his particular type of application.

Here, we've been developing fat clients as well as n-tier ASP.NET applications in C# since the release of .NET and haven't really run into major issues.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Not trying to sound like a cheerleader, but I love .NET (at least C#) so far. I've done a few WinForms apps, but had to revert back to Win32 because the .NET runtime distribution isn't all that great yet.

The one thing I don't like is the UI slowdown you get with it. Calculations, I/O, etc. are pretty fast, but the actual UI seems to drag with even the simplest apps.

Chris

Chris
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I've heard that the UI is slow because .NET uses GDIPlus instead of GDI. GDIPlus doesn't yet work with graphics acceleration (thus throwing you back to Windows' middle ages). Developers at Microsoft seem to be somewhat ashamed of this.

http://groups.google.nl/groups?q=gdiplus+embarrassed&hl=nl&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&scoring=d&selm=3f00c43f%241%40newsgroups.borland.com&rnum=2&filter=0

Frederik Slijkerman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"I'd take Michael's comments with a grain of salt."

+1. I've been using .NET off and on since the pre-beta, including full time for the last year. I am at time frustrated with architectural decisions, but have hit almost no bugs of any significance whatsoever. My productivity is MUCH, MUCH higher in .NET than it was in the traditional C++ (ATL, MFC) world.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The best is yet to come?

Microsoft Developer Tools Roadmap 2003-2005
http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/productinfo/roadmap.aspx

Guy Incognito
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

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