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ASP.NET development best and worst practices

Recent tips from Microsoft highlight what to do -- and what not to do -- to keep ASP.NET applications running as they should.

Despite all the tools, widgets and add-ins on the market, application development remains a challenge. Most developers undoubtedly keep a list -- whether digital, paper or mental -- of the techniques that have gone right and wrong in their years at the keyboard.

Under the "Things Gone Right" category, Scott Mitchell, editor and founder of the ASP.NET reference site, is writing a series of ASP.NET 2.0 tutorials for Microsoft's ASP.NET site.

The tutorials focus on managing data in Web applications. Data management presents quite a challenge, since developers must establish best practices for connecting an application to its data, displaying and modifying data and limiting which users get to view which types of data.

Mitchell's tutorials can be read and downloaded here. VB and C# code are available with each tutorial. So far there are 23 postings in the following categories:

  • Introduction
  • Basic Reporting -- working with ObjectDataSource
  • Master/Detail -- filtering
  • Custom Formatting -- using TemplateFields and GridView
  • Editing, Inserting, and Deleting Data -- events, exceptions and customizations

Additional postings are on the way as well.

On the other hand, from the "Things Gone Wrong" file, Jeff Prosise covers 10 common ASP.NET pitfalls in this MSDN article. Prosise, cofounder of the consultancy Wintellect, draws on his experience to present real-world examples of applications that suffered because of a single, and often simple, mistake.

A few of Prosise's points concern data. In particular, he offers strategies to combat long database queries, poor database design and SQL Server session state, which increases scalability but kills performance. Other ASP.NET pitfalls include output caching, view state in large controls and profile property serialization.

The article ends with a 10-point checklist that developers should use to judge the strength and security of their ASP.NET applications.

The challenges and complexity of building applications means that a developer's work is never done. As soon as one set of obstacles is cleared, another emerges. Fortunately, resources such as these make issues like data management and application performance quite a bit easier to handle.

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