Our .NET Developer’s Handbook is an extensive manual developed to help you fully exploit your API development capabilities. It ranges from design and implementation through security testing, monitoring, versioning, documentation, and community engagement. Moreover, it also highlights important components in the .NET Ecosystem such as .NET Core and ASP.NET Core as well as major frameworks like Visual Studio and Azure. If you’re not sure whether to go with ASP.NET Web API or ASP.NET Core in your stack, then there are simple steps given on how to set up your development environment. Whether you're a newcomer or an experienced programmer dealing with APIs for .NET applications, this approach to starting new projects and writing code is sure to significantly enhance your skills.

Introduction to API Development with .NET

I)  Overview of API Development

  1. Definition: APIs are contracts that govern the way various software systems interact, usually utilizing RESTful, SOAP, GraphQL, or WebSocket.
  2. Design: Plan your endpoints, data formats, authentication mechanisms, and error-handling strategies at the design stage before development.
  3. Implementation: Backend coding will be done to write APIs for querying databases and processing input/output data.
  4. Security: Secure APIs with options including authentication methods, authorization frameworks, encryption techniques, and rate controls.
  5. Testing: This should be unit tested, integration tests should also be carried out, finally end-to-end tests should be used as well.
  6. Monitoring: Performance metrics monitoring is necessary for optimization purposes.
  7. Versioning: Effective management of backward compatibility and deprecation of old versions is needed in the versioning process.
  8. Documentation: Developers must maintain a wide-range documentation system that provides developer support too.
  9. Community Engagement: Organize events and programs to establish a community of developers.

II)  Introduction to the .NET ecosystem

  1. .NET Framework: This is Microsoft's extensive software platform for desktop, web, and server application development, comprising libraries and runtime environments that facilitate the easy use of different programming languages including C#, Visual Basic, and F#. The tool is intended to enable the development of Windows-based applications.
  2. .NET Core: .NET Core is an open-sourced framework that is effective for building cloud-based apps on platforms like Windows, Linux, and macOS that span different operating systems. This is modular and allows developers to create integratable, lightweight services that can be scaled up for microservices architecture. .NET Core additionally gives more performance than the traditional .NET Framework version having scalability and flexibility.
  3. ASP.NET Core: ASP.NET Core is a crucial part of the .NET Core comprehensive series of frameworks, used for creating web applications and services. It creates an ideal programming model for the creation of Web APIs, and Web applications, as well as for the development of real-time web services. ASP.NET Core is a tool that allows developers to suit different platforms to particular requirements. Therefore, applications can be deployed onto Windows, Linux, or macOS environments. This provides with kind of solutions that solution injection which is mostly built-in, middleware pipeline, and MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern.
  4. Entity Framework Core: The Entity Framework Core is experiencing an ORM framework that makes database management from .NET apps easy because of it. It enables developers to engage with relational databases that were previously manipulated using object-oriented techniques, thus removing the manual writing of SQL queries. Entity Framework Core provides several database providers and features of automatic schema generation, change tracking, and LINQ (Language-Infused Query) integration.
  5. Visual Studio: Visual Studio by Microsoft is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that makes the .NET development a question of a short period. It includes the whole package of tools and offers facilities to provide opportunities for software development, debugging, and testing. Visual Studio has numerous features including a rich code editor, project management functions, connectivity with built-in version controls, as well as support for several programming languages and frameworks. NET.
  6. Azure: Azure is a company of the cloud platform that offers the most services for developing, deploying, and administrating applications and services. It offers .NET application hosting in the cloud, enabling developers to replace local infrastructure with powerful virtual machines, data storage, machine learning, and analytics tools. Azure operates numerous programming languages, frameworks, and operating systems, which makes it possible for various application conditions to be covered.
  7. NuGet: The Metaphor is a package manager for .NET that streamlines the task of finding, installing, and controlling dependencies in .NET projects. The platform holds a repository big enough to store packages that contain downloadable codes, and libraries, and come from the Pier Sparkle community and Microsoft company. Nuget is perfectly integrated with Visual Studio and provides command-line tools to let the developers perform tasks more efficiently and thus, speed up and streamline their development process.

III)  Choosing the right technology stack

ASP.NET Core: A cross-platform framework designed for developing web applications, microservices, and APIs. Known for its scalability, modularity, and high performance, ASP.NET Core is an excellent choice for modern cloud-native applications that require compatibility across different platforms.

ASP.NET Web API: A framework tailored for constructing RESTful APIs within the .NET Framework. While ASP.NET Web API has been a longstanding option, it is limited to Windows environments. Opt for ASP.NET Web API when developing Windows-based applications that necessitate robust API functionality.

IV)  Setting up the development environment

   I) Visual Studio Installation:

  1. The first step is to navigate to the Visual Studio webpage where you can obtain the installer.
  2. Choose the one that suits you. It could be Community, Professional, or Enterprise editions, run the installer. Open it and install it.
  3. Here's where we ask you to proceed and do the installation following the instructions.
  4. First fire Visual Studio after installation.

   II) .NET SDK installation:

  1. Navigate to the .NET Website and get it to run the SDK.
  2. Decide on the OS type and structure (x86, x64, ARM), after that give all the necessary steps responsible for the installation.
  3. After installation, verify it by opening the command prompt or terminal and running the command: `dotnet --version.`

   III) IDE Setup:

  1. Open Visual Studio.
  2. You can either bless someone with the gift of starting a new project or continuing one.
  3. Decide on a project class and the framework (e.g., ASP.NET Core or a Console Application).
  4. Visual Studio will look out for the latest installed .NET SDK automatically then compile the program and run it.

V)  Creating a new project

  1. Open Visual Studio: Open Visual Studio: Open Visual Studio on your computer either via desktop shortcut or using the Start menu.
  2. Create New Project: Shift your focus to the "File" tab that has been shelved at the very top of the Visual Studio window. Just as before, click "New" then "Project..." from the drop-down menu. This will bring about a "New Project" dialog box where will you choose a project type to create.
  3. Select Project Type/Template: From the "New Project" dialog, look through the project list on the left to select the desired template. Select the suitable type of project/template in the system for your project (for instance, Console Application and ASP.NET Core Web Application). You can select the template from which you will see additional options and settings for the project in question.
  4. Configure Project: In the 'Name' field type in what you call your project. Select the location where the data for the project will be saved, by hitting the button with the name "Browse" next to the field that says "Location". Select the target framework version on which your project gets built. You may use the given selections and opt for the project specifications as desired.
  5. Customize Settings (Optional): Upon confirming the exact template of the nature of your project, you might be provided with an opportunity to customize more elements of the project. They might involve for example establishing authentication schemes, setting up a project structure, or customized options concerning specific projects. Therefore, adjust these settings in proportion to your needs to ensure the effective completion of the given task.
  6. Create Project: After you do all the necessary project settings configuration, and click the "Create" or "Finish" button, you can create the project. Visual Studio will proceed to create project files and directories that you have selected during this process.
  7. Explore Project Structure: Following creating the project, examine Source Explorer to have an in-depth regard for the generated files as well as folders. This will familiarize recruits with the project flow and hierarchy.
  8. Start Coding: Launch your coding process by launching the necessary files in the Solution Explorer window. Put your code in files that you've chosen based on the logic of your application and its necessities. Firstly You can then explore the entry file(s)(e.g., Program. cs for Console Application. (Next, open your project in Visual Studio (VS) 2017 and choose File -> New -> Project. Then create the needed files to implement your application functionality).

Our .NET Developer’s Handbook is the everything-you-need-to-know renewable energy guide in the development of an API and includes design, implementation, security, testing, monitoring, versioning, documentation, and community engagement. It goes straight to the point with the components of the .NET ecosystem which include .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, Visual Studio, and Azure, and provides stepwise instructions for setting up the development environment. Whether it's your first time or the tenth, our handbook is equipped with real tips to grow your skills in the area of the initiation of the project and coding. If you're interested in learning about ASP.NET Core basics, be sure to check out our blog ‘Comprehensive Guide to API Development with .NET: Part 2'.