Top .NET Tutorials in 2018

Visual Studio Magazine's stable of expert programmers this year wrote code-laden, hands-on tutorials ranging from traditional topics such as ASP.NET MVC to cutting-edge Blazor to Microsoft's new direction: .NET Core.

In case you missed some of this valuable content, here's a review of the top 10 .NET-centric tutorials and advice columns we published this year.

1. How to Query JSON Data with SQL Server 2016
Dino Esposito explains JSON-to-rowset native support in SQL Server 2016 and provides a realistic perspective of data query when you have JSON data stored in the database.

2. Converting Your ASP.NET Web Forms Application to ASP.NET MVC
There are a lot of Web Forms applications out there ... but the future belongs to MVC. Here's Peter Vogel's advice on what to do about that.

3. Creating Reusable View Components in ASP.NET Core
ASP.NET Core lets you bundle up business functionality along with its related UI into a view component that you can reuse in throughout your application.

4. High Performance Object-Oriented Data Access with Dapper
Entity Framework is fabulous ... but it does impose some overhead. If you like working with data in an O-O kind of way but feel the "need for speed," then you should be looking at Dapper.

5. Validating JSON with JSON Schema
Once you've created a JSON Schema that describes a JSON document, you can use it both in Visual Studio -- to provide guidance when creating JSON documents -- and in your code to validate the messages you're receiving.

6. Leveraging Raw SQL in Entity Framework Core
The ability to use SQL with Entity Framework Core has always been a cool feature. There's a new feature in Entity Framework Core that opens the door for whole new set of SQL-related functionality.

7. Introducing the .NET Core Unit Testing Framework (or: Why xUnit?)
There's a new kid in the Visual Studio testing environment, though it's only for your .NET Core projects. You don't have to use it, but here are some reasons you'll want to.

8. The Case Against Zero-Defect Software
Testing is a necessary but not a value-added task. To put it another way, while testing is something we have to do, our users would be just as happy if we could produce quality software without it. Understanding that leads to a realistic approach to testing.

9. Defining JSON Messages with JSON Schema
If you're building a RESTful Web service, you can provide both guidance and control around the JSON messages your service works with by replacing documentation with JSON Schemas.

10. Invoking and Sharing View Components in ASP.NET Core
View components let you create reusable chunks of business logic coupled with a UI in multiple places in your application ... and then let you share that logic across multiple projects. Here's how to invoke them and share them.

And Then There's Blazor
A newcomer on the scene this year is Blazor, Microsoft's experimental project to leverage WebAssembly (think bytecode for the Web) so .NET coders can use C# to write Web apps to run in the browser, instead of JavaScript. While this upstart isn't reflected in the above list of 2018 tutorials, delving into our analytics shows it was definitely one of the topics readers were most interested in this year. As it's so new, much of our coverage was in news articles, as opposed to tutorials. However, VSM veteran programmer/author Peter Vogel quickly picked up on the new technology and we hired some new experts to explain Blazor, whose code changes monthly. Here's a selection of top Blazor tutorials.

1. How to Consume Web APIs in Blazor
Chris Sainty provides hands-on code samples on how to use Web APIs to interact with Blazor, an experimental framework from the ASP.NET team that allows developers to write C# and Razor code and have it run in the browser via WebAssembly.

2. Integrating Blazor and JavaScript Code
Downloading compiled C# code to the browser using Blazor is all very good -- but it would be so much better if you can integrate your Blazor code with JavaScript. Here's how to do that.

3. Your First Blazor App
Blazor is the Microsoft toolset that exploits the WebAssembly standard to let you write C# code that will run in your browser. Here's how to set up Visual Studio 2017 and create your first app.

4. Blazor: Working with Events
Blazor expert Chris Sainty provides hands-on code samples to explain how to handle DOM and user-defined events in Microsoft's experimental project for writing browser-based apps with C# instead of JavaScript.

5. Adding Blazor to Existing HTML+JavaScript Pages
Not only can you integrate JavaScript with Blazor, that integration provides a strategy for moving your existing pages to Blazor without having to rewrite your existing JavaScript code.

6. Architecting Blazor (and Integrating JavaScript)
Sometimes the easiest solution isn't the best one. Here's an architectural approach to building Blazor pages that also makes it easy to combine the worlds of JavaScript and Blazor.

Any tutorial topics you'd like to see Visual Studio Magazine cover in 2019? Let us know in the reader comments section of this article or in an e-mail.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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