Developers April 17, 2020

Any Other Indie Hackers Building with .NET?

Jon Blankenship @Jon99

Hey IH-ers!

Who here's building with .NET?

The framework is underrepresented in the indie hacker community, which I think is a shame.

I'd love to hear from other makers who are using .NET to build their thing. Shout out and tell us what you're working on!

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    I started to build https://cloudsprt.com with C# .Net Framework but the problem I found was hosting was more expensive for Windows Servers and the cheaper one's were generally slower or added more bloatware compared to the equivalent Linux servers. I may look at converting it to C# Asp.Net Core but that may be more because I prefer to code in C# rather than any other benefit.

    I also create website for friends using C# .Net Core when they need things more advanced than a static page (like ability to Review the company or Photo Gallery with an Admin Console).

    I personally think less people use it is because up until recently it had been limited to deployment on Windows Servers which adds more costs to a limited budget and most companies that use C# and Asp.Net tend to be enterprise companies so less people learn this language compared to one's like Java (although I know this is similar to C#), PHP and others.

    @Jon99 Have you built a product with C# as an indie hacker?

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      Great thoughts @CW92.

      Yes, I think .NET (and I'm including .NET Core) has suffered poor adoption in the indie hacker community for a few reasons like you mentioned:

      • Up until recently w/ .NET Core you were forced to run on Windows (no longer the case)
      • Up until recently you were forced to develop on Windows (no longer the case)
      • Microsoft's history of being a closed ecosystem (no longer the case)
      • Viewed as an "enterprise" language/framework (not the case, IMO)
      • Mature, not shiny/new/sexy (yes, it's mature, but I there are cool/exciting things going on w/ .NET Core)

      I think we're at a great point in the evolution of the framework where there's tremendous opportunity for the millions of devs using .NET at their day jobs for 40+ hours a week to leverage those skills to build something of value for themselves (if they're so inclined - I realize not everyone has the desire). The barriers to entry are lower than ever.

      To answer your question, I've built a few side projects in .NET Core. My latest is Excepticon, a .NET exception monitoring service geared towards solo devs and small teams.

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        Excepticon looks good and will definitely take a look at it further as would be interested in adding more monitoring without using something as "heavy" as New Relic or needing a lot of work like other tools I have found.

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          Thanks! I'd welcome any feedback or suggestions if you do try it out. Yes, trying to offer an alternative to some of the "heavier" competitors.

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        I started my career with .NET (well, actually I started in ASP 3, long before .NET, but I can barely remember those days) and I think the problem .NET faces right now is overcoming its 20 year history.

        Most of what prevented adoption in the startup / indie community has been remedied with .NET Core, but the majority of people still view it as a Windows-only platform. It will take time for them to change those opinions.

        The .NET community has almost never been "scrappy". It's always had a strong focus on design patterns and, frankly, over-engineering everything. There are entire libraries of books that make .NET way more complicated than it needs to be. Things like the Entity Framework made things bloated and slow. DLL-hell was a problem for years (although not the old COM-based ring of hell, but still bad). And it seemed like every year a new "better" version of ASP.NET would come out that tried to keep up with Ruby on Rails, but was complicated and frustrating.

        .NET Core is a huge step in the right direction, and with AWS Lambdas now supporting C#, there's a ton of potential. .NET is slowly shifting, but it has a long, sordid history to overcome before you see real adoption in the indie community.

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          Completely agree. .NET's history, which got it to the dominant position it enjoys in the enterprise, is its largest obstacle in the indie/startup world.

          Yes, it's been shifting in the past several years, but it's very hard to change public opinion.

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      Definitely agree that .NET Framework adoption along indies suffered from platform dependence.

      .NET Core is sweet though :-)

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        Yes - .NET is dead, long live .NET Core! (Until .NET 5 that is, when they drop the "Core" again.)

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          I wish I could agree with .Net Framework being dead but in my day-job I don't see any way of migrating to .Net Core anytime soon (which sucks).

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            Yes - very fair point - I was mostly joking. .NET still has a huge footprint in the enterprise (which is why I feel like .NET Core is such a great option for enterprise devs who are well-skilled in .NET who want to build something of value for themselves - as you know there's not much of a learning curve to jump from .NET to .NET Core).

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    This post has gotten a better response than I had anticipated. Glad to see you all out there! 🙂

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    Hey @Jon99,

    I built a small service to inspect SMTP here - https://mailaza.com using ASP.NET Core 3.1, SignalR, and Blazor.

    Host it for $5 in Digital Ocean + CloudFlare Free.

  4. 2

    I'm convinced that with the recent changes in strategy, Microsoft has set up .NET for success in enterprises as well as for indie hackers. I intend to make .NET knowledge available to every developer in the world by creating videos for my .NET programming YouTube channel.

    https://youtube.com/claudiobernasconi

    I hope that more and more Indie Hackers will see the advantages of using .NET for their projects. I think about readable and maintainable source code, cheap hosting opportunities on Azure that can scale with the project requirements, and much more.

    Also, since Microsoft acquired GitHub and NPM, most open-source developers will come in contact with Microsoft in one or another way. I'm curious to see where the future leads.

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    We are building with .NET over at Runly! Just launched our MVP a couple of weeks ago.

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    trainermade.com is on a complete .NET platform. c# asp.net core for the web application portal for trainers/web API for the mobile app and Xamarin for the ios and android mobile app for clients.
    It's on Azure servers on a Linux docker container. My background is in .NET so I preferred to go with it than anything else. The Linux option def makes it a much more viable option because the comparable Windows containers are significantly more expensive.

  7. 2

    .NET Core is perfect. Blazor is going to fill the gap for nice usable web UI (similar to desktop one, WinForms, WPF). Finally C# everywhere!!
    Trying to enhance open-source community around .NET and cryptocurrencies as much as my free time allows (https://github.com/Marfusios). Hopefully, I will get into some indie project.

  8. 2

    I worked with C# but as I hate IIS, I switched to .net Core quickly and used it to build colofon.io.

    I use it for the API and it's super powerful and so easy to deploy. The community is great with projects like Ocelot or Kestrel which allow you to manage all server-side aspects.

  9. 2

    I've built some side projects in it since it's what I use at work, but I find myself gravitating to node and python for a lot of my side projects.

    There's nothing wrong with .NET Core, it's a great framework. Use what you feel you're most productive with and enjoy using.

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      100% agree - the best framework/language is the one that best fits you and your goals. If your goal is to produce an MVP, choose the tool that will get you there the fastest, whether it's .NET Core, Python, Node, Ruby, PHP, etc...

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    Quick plug here for Xamarin (.NET cross platform app framework) - which I used to build www.remotime.net app. Was able to ship fully native android and iOS app in the same week. 95% code sharing (I use Xamarin Forms, which abstracts the UI layer as well)
    Xamarin have made some great tooling advances lately - like Hot Reload & Hot Restart (no need to recompile /deploy app to see code changes) - which gives it more of a level playing field to the likes of Flutter / Web Dev experiences.
    I'll be looking to use the same code base to ship windows and mac app version as well.

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      Love Xamarin btw.
      I had to step away from it to focus on other areas but I always thought Xamarin.Forms was absolutely fantastic and quite under-valued, even my Microsoft themselves.
      Heard a lot of "it's only a prototyping tool" - but I still hold the opinion that it holds so much potential, and a success story of cross-platform native goals where so many others haven't hit the mark. Mvvm, Xaml, .Net Standard, VS just worked so nicely together.

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    In the day job, and the side project (www.ga-insights.com).
    Love Azure, Love .Net. developers, developers, developers.

    And has anyone mentioned Blazor yet? Really excited with Blazor, web-assembly and rivaling SPAs like angular and reactjs with .Net tech.
    It's .Net/C# end to end - including running on the browser replacing javascript - for anyone interested.

    1. 1

      GA Insights looks nice!

      I'm a huge fan of Blazor. It makes .NET even more compelling for side projects, especially for .NET developers who don't want to learn YAJF (Yet Another Javascript Framework).

      All of my recent stuff uses server-side Blazor. Is GA Insights written using Blazor?

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        Great - glad to see there are people adopting.

        GA-Insights has a 2-3 year old code base so unfortunately, it's running MVC.Net, Razor, .Net Framework and typescript/knockoutjs.

        Once we hit the revenue targets, we will start on a tech and UX overhaul, which will undoubtedly be written in Server-side blazor.

        On my day-job side we're just starting into a project with Blazor, Wasm + progressive web apps - should be interesting!

  12. 2

    Building crypto exchanges with .NET Core. Chosen it because of great combination of high level language with low level features like pInvoke, structs, unsafe code, etc.

    ASP.NET Core is great and becoming better with every release. Till 3.0 there was an issue with tracing and performance profiling, now this is solved as well as remote debug.

    I don’t think there is any other platform with this combination of modern language, low level features, maturity, tools and vendor support.

  13. 2

    At this point I have about 8/9 yearish professional experience writing .NET. When starting out with Skyhop, I considered going with Node for a while, but that did not stick, so I went back to writing C#.

    While we're at it; for Skyhop I have developed several things which might come in handy for other developers. One of those things is a mail library with simplifies sending transactional mails a lot. Check it out here (https://github.com/skyhop/Mail).

    Besides that I'm blogging quite a bit about .NET development on topics about which I think might be helpful to the broader community. Some of the more interesting posts;

  14. 2

    I am using .Net Core at work and my backend of my project https://reportbug.net is entirely based on it.
    Its a blast, deployment on Linux is literally with one command, which can easily be converted to automatic deployment...it's amazing, I am also really curious why it's not so popular in this community...cheers!

  15. 2

    My day job required me to work a lot with .NET and a few years ago I had a small passion project as well in .NET mvc + typescript.

    As an employee I think it's great, but as a hacker/maker, honestly there's no substitute for being able to write all your code in the same language.

    When .NET Core released 3.0 I had the opportunity to spin up a containerized web service as part as my consulting work. It works, it's great, it's modern and performant —but I don't feel like it's a hacker's tool.

  16. 2

    I always built web apps in .Net Core. It is powerful and light weight.

    My latest community software Hittly is also built using .net core

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      Very nice, @naveen_pacha!

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    I use it for most of my projects. I love the language and can be very productive in it.

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      Great to hear, @smithgeek. Same here - I love C# and it's what I'm most productive with. I think there's more than enough friction as an indie dev - no need to add the additional friction of having to learn another language. My philosophy is use the tools you know that will get you there the fastest, and for me that's C#/.NET Core/Azure.

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    I write about .NET Core on my blog, and I use it when programming for leisure, but I don’t have a product.

    I use .NET Framework at work.

    1. 2

      Very nice! Your link didn't work for me. I think you meant https://kasperallerslev.com/?

      Nice blog! You've really gotten off to a strong start this month. I've got a .NET-focused blog too that I've been trying to post to more frequently.

      1. 2

        Fixed the link, thanks.

        I’m scaling back to one post per week. It was too time consuming :-/

        I’m going to checkout your blog now :-)

  19. 1

    If VS for Mac as as good as Visual Studio 2019 for Windows, I would be a lot more likely to use it. The same is true if SSMS ran on Mac (vs. Operation Studio).

    When you team up with a mix of .NET developers and Node/Java/other developers, it ends up being hard to make the case to go with .NET when the majority work on Macs.

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    Only in the day job....

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