Kiandra Insights

From Zero To Hero

Rhys Evans - Kiandra custom software developer
Rhys Evans
October 5, 2020
Rhys Evans
October 5, 2020
Illustration of the word Hero

I’ve been brushing up on my coding skills recently, jumping back into Codewars to refresh some forgotten muscle memory. But, the best way to improve skills quickly is to apply them in the real-world - and that’s where ASP.NET Zero comes in.  

I have been taking part in a project using ASP.NET Zero.  While Zero offers several compatible tech stacks, we used ASP.NET Core and Angular 9, so I’ll be using that as a reference point. I have been impressed with these 5 features that come out of the box with Zero.

Power Tools – Set up your data quickly

ASP.NET Zero comes with a feature called ‘Power Tools’. This allows you to quickly assemble your CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) screens for the various types of data you require.

ASP.NET Zero interface

When you get started, you will see this screen and from here, you can decide how you wish to represent your data on the server side and in the database. Your server side choices will also lead to generated client side classes that you can work with via TypeScript. You can also decide where to show this data, allowing you to control who gets access to it.  

  • Need a space for your public users to keep a running list of items, like a checklist? Open it up to them!  
  • Need a data type that stores messages you broadcast to users? Consider setting it up so that only administrators can edit it.

ASP.NET Zero will take your configured data type and all the properties you have given it and generate enough of a starting point that you will have something functional. You will still need to handle the custom business logic and make further tweaks, but Power Tools helps to give you a strong start. It is also worth noting that you do not need t to use Power Tools if you prefer not to.

Built on Familiar Technologies – and the choice to pick your preference

Something that stands out to me is that Zero can be used with a handful of related technologies. You aren’t forced to pick a prescribed tech stack to use it.

Logos of technologies used with ASP.Net Zero

While you won’t be able to use every tech stack you can think of, when it comes to ASP.NET, you can pick your poison. If you need to focus on mobile development, you can even use Xamarin. If your project calls for any of these technologies, you might like to consider Zero as an option.

Common Elements like authorisation built up and ready to customise

Projects built in ASP.NET Zero don’t start out as empty shells. They come with core functionality built in such as the most used types of ‘boilerplates’ that development teams inevitably build from scratch otherwise. While the door is open to the development team to customise and fine-tune the code, when it comes to security concerns, it can be reassuring to know that a tried and tested implementation is already there to use.

Front end themes out of the box – get a nice look and feel sooner

ASP.NET Zero comes with Metronic out of the box, which gives you twelve different themes to play with. You can also create your own custom theme if they aren’t quite what you’re looking for. With that said, an opportunity to leverage a theme will help you to get your website from a bare-bones functional website to a user-friendly website that is pleasing to the eye.

Localisation to reach a wider client base – start translating your text elements right away

If you intend to reach a wide audience with your website, you may find that you need to support multiple languages. ASP.NET Zero comes with localisation tools out of the box so that you can target specific languages. Once a user is detected as using a particular language, the corresponding translated text can be prepared. You will need to configure your translations yourself and ensure anything that needs translating is appropriately set up, but Zero can handle the rest once you’ve done that.

There you have it – five features of ASP.NET Zero that stuck out to me while working on my first project with it. There’s certainly more to it than that, but if any of these catch your eye, you may want to give it a try on a project of your own.

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