In-Depth

Leverage Real-Time Communications in ASP.NET Sites, Apps with Signal R

In a Q&A preview of her session at Live! 360, veteran Visual Studio Live! presenter Rachel Appel shares her thoughts on the benefits of working with SignalR.

There are more tools that ever before to build responsive apps for a variety of platforms. If you're looking to build apps that can leverage real-time communications libraries, then you should look into SignalR. Actually, SignalR is a set of ASP.NET server and client libraries you can use to build real time, scalable, websites and apps.

Veteran Visual Studio Live! presenter and former MSDN magazine columnist Rachel Appel is a content writer for ASP.NET at Microsoft. Next week, her session on Building Real-Time Websites and Apps with SignalR at Visual Studio Live! in Orlando (part of Live! 360 2016) will give you complete coverage on how to use the SignalR libraries and help you learn about polling, real-time development techniques, and cross-platform client connectivity.

Lafe Low: For those not familiar with SignalR, can you briefly explain the benefits of having the server push the content to clients instead of having the client make the call? Can you perhaps provide an example of when this is particularly useful?
Rachel Appel: SignalR really is great anytime. However, where it really shines is in real-time communications. Software that monitors factors such as stocks, dashboards, voting, social networks or anything that needs live, up-to-the-second data, is a perfect candidate for SignalR. People gotta get those "likes" ASAP.

SignalR is a collection of libraries, correct? Not just one technology?
Yes, SignalR is a server-side library with companion client libraries for JavaScript, iOS, Android, and native Windows.

There's a lot of interest in this topic right now. Why do you think it's so hot?
It really is just that awesome. Seriously though, the need for real-time data in today's fast paced world is mandatory for businesses to succeed.

What is your number one tip for working with SignalR?
You don't have to wait for that brand new shiny project to use SignalR. You can integrate SignalR into your existing software with minimal effort.

What surprised you most when you first started working with SignalR technologies?
How easy it is to get up and running quickly. Just add a Nuget package and you can start coding right away. Plus the code required is small and easy to write.

What one thing would you recommend that people not do when working with Signal R?
Consider carefully whether or not you really need the lower level libraries or can stick with the Hubs, which should cover 90 percent of development scenarios.

For more on Live 360! events, go here.

About the Author

Lafe Low has been a technology editor and writer for more than 25 years. Most recently, he was the editor in chief of TechNet magazine. He has also held various editorial positions with Redmond magazine, CIO magazine and InfoWorld. He also launched his own magazine entitled Explore New England, and has published four editions of his guidebook The Best in Tent Camping: New England.

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