In today’s data-driven world, advanced analytics technologies that use data mining tools and predictive modeling get a lot of attention and for good reason. Data mining in action can be a game changer for businesses in 2018. But many organizations still find the highest analytics value in business intelligence dashboards that are used to track metrics, KPIs, and other data about business processes and provide users with basic and advanced visual reports about their company’s current performance. A dashboard can be a good solution for monitoring the success of business operations and key activities to identify trends and insights in vast real of data.

Need advice on what technologies and tools you should use to develop dashboard in ASP.NET?

In this article, we’ll discuss popular frameworks and technologies that are used to create ASP.NET Dashboard in Web applications and websites in 2018, their advantages and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s start with ASP.NET back end technologies.

3 Options to Consider When Developing Dashboard’s Back End

Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework is one of the most commonly used server-side web application frameworks and it allows developers to write code using multiple programming languages simultaneously for one project. Due to numerous ASP.NET advantages, developers still continue to use ASP.NET 4.x to develop web apps. ASP.NET Core is a redesign of ASP.NET 4.x, with essential architectural changes that help overcome typical ASP.NET challenges; it features a higher performance and provides lots of other benefits.

Developers can take advantage of different options when working on the back end of the dashboards.

ASP.NET Core from Scratch

ASP.NET Core is one of the hottest frameworks right now for the back-end development and you can use it for development of ASP.NET Core dashboards from scratch. This option gives maximum flexibility and ensures an individual approach to the customer’s needs but it is time-consuming. You will need to develop architectural concepts such as logging, exceptions, multi-tenancy etc.

But it doesn’t always make sense to write all project’s components from scratch. All applications need some common tasks and procedures. Using an application framework is the best decision because it allows developers to save time while writing less code and prevents them from repeating themselves. Ready-made frameworks also offer significant budget savings.

ASP.NET Boilerplate

ASP.NET Boilerplate is a general purpose application framework that can be a starting point for creating dashboards. It automates the common development tasks and allows developers to focus on business code and create their own solutions using free or premium startup templates which provide a basic layout and some common features for an application.

 

Pros

  • ABP is free and open-source.
  • It works well with the latest ASP.NET Core and supports ASP.NET MVC 5.x as well.
  • There are predefined templates based on Angular and Vue.js.
  • The framework features basic multi-tenancy, authentication & authorization, UI localization as well as basic user and roles management.
  • It contains Unit Tests.

Cons

  • ASP.NET is based on customizable templates which are worse than the Metronic template.

ASP.NET Zero

ASP.NET Zero is a ready-made enterprise-level solution that is based on the ASP.NET Boilerplate and ASP.NET Core / ASP.NET MVC & Web API. The premium templates can be expanded and adapted to the specific needs of particular clients.

 

Pros

  • ASP.NET Zero features advanced multi-tenancy, user and roles management, authentication & authorization, and UI localization.
  • The templates are based on the Metronic theme and come with basic functionality so developers can immediately proceed to developing unique solutions; it ensures a rapid development of the business logic.
  • The framework contains Unit Tests.
  • The service offers premium support to the users.

Cons

  • The system is heavy and contains many rarely used components.
  • It is rather expensive and offers the limited number of products per license, for example, Regular License costs $1 499 and allows to develop a single product.
  • The license includes the limited number of developers (Regular License $1 499 - 3 developers) so it could be difficult to teach new developers.

3 Most Popular Fron End Frameworks

 

 

After we have discussed the strategy of how to use ASP.NET Core technology for solving back-end development tasks, we need to choose a framework for the front-end development. Currently, JavaScript frameworks are developing fast, their number grows every year but there are 3 leaders in the market. According to the GitHub statistics, the most popular frameworks are React and Angular. Vue.js is rapidly gaining popularity despite being pretty “young”. Wondering what to choose in 2018? Keep reading.

 

Vue.js

According to a survey, 43% of developers would like to learn Vue.js front-end library. It was first released in February 2014 and the release was quite successful. It is suitable for creating highly adaptable user interfaces as well as single-page applications.

Pros

  • Vue.js is the most lightweight framework with around 20KB but it keeps its speed and flexibility.
  • It has a very detailed documentation and is easy to learn if you have a basic knowledge of JavaScript and HTML.
  • The framework is actively contributed.

Cons

  • Vue.js is young and has a pretty small market share so there is a certain shortage of resources for knowledge sharing.
  • It is supported by an open source team and has a Chinese background. Many descriptions are available in Chinese and that may lead to a some complexity in the early stages of development.
  • The framework is not recommended for large teams (3+ developers).

Angular

Angular is powerful front-end framework that is actively developed by Google. Angular 5 was released in November 2017. Angular 6 was released in May 2018 and features updates in the Angular Material package, the Component Development Kit, and the Command Line Interface.

Pros

  • Angular has a good documentation with explanations of fundamentals and techniques; there are also tutorials for beginners.
  • The framework is based on TypeScript that is good for OOP developers.
  • It has MVVM architecture so developers can work separately on the same section of an app using the same data set.
  • It is built-in into the Metronic template.

Cons

  • The framework is the heaviest.
  • Angular has the complex syntax and requires more knowledge to start working with it.
  • You may encounter migration issues when moving from the older versions to the latest ones.

React

React was developed and is maintained by Facebook and the community of individual developers. Facebook also uses React components on several pages.

Pros

  • React is very popular and is the biggest in terms of ecosystem.
  • The framework has a huge range of already developed components.
  • It has a wide range of extensions and tools.

Cons

  • There is no ready template for Metronic so you will need to create your design from scratch.
  • Due to super-fast development of React, there is a lack of official documentation.
  • Developers will need to write JSX instead of simple HTML files.

Why Do You Need Design Templates?

We have discussed frameworks for front-end and back-end development which you can use to create dashboard in ASP.NET and now let's talk about the design. Effective visual design is crucial for dashboards because they should present data about system parameters, stats, and KPIs in a quick, easy-to-scan format and allow users to understand the most relevant information at a glance.

When dashboard layouts are created from scratch, they feature unique and branded designs. Such dashboard designs require an experienced designer and a developer who slices PSD to HTML/CSS. Besides, they require time for UI/UX testing. If you want to reduce time and effort, you will need a ready-made dashboard design template that can be customized according to the customer’s needs. There are a lot of dashboard templates available out there on the Internet but we recommend using the Metronic template based on Bootstrap.

Metronic Template

Metronic Responsive Admin Dashboard Template is one of the most popular templates that allows creating customized layouts, pages, and business flows.

Pros

  • It is not expensive – it costs less than $50.
  • It provides support for Angular 5.
  • Metronic has a lot of components (tables, forms, trees, charts etc.) and there are 15 different templates.
  • It requires less time for UI/UX testing.
  • We have experience in creating user-friendly and eye-catching dashboards using the Metronic template.

Cons

  • The template is heavy and it is difficult to make it look unique.
  • The Extended License is rather expensive - it costs $1400 and it can be used for creating only one customized dashboard. If you want to create a second dashboard from the same theme, you will need to purchase another license.