The ruins of technology stack

The dilemma of shifting technology landscape
published on 2019/05/28

Plain and simple question, isn't it ? We're stuck with a load of applications in .Net 4.6.1 and are not litterate in .Net Core. Now that has become the future, I'm beginning to worry about the EOL. Some applications use WebAPI 2 but most are WebForm. No MVC. Thanks for your answers !

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This is a dilemma that many organizations face in their IT infrastructure. How do you make sure that your software is always at good standing in regards of the underlying technology stack.

The good news about WebForm and it's underlying .NET framework is that they will continue to work and be supported by Microsoft indefinitely in terms of security fixes. The bad news is that WebForm won't be part of .NET framework future.

If you are in this position, there are two viable path you can take short of rewriting:

  • Migrate to MVC then eventually .NET Core. You can host WebForm and MVC at the same process. Only implement new features in MVC and slowly rewrite WebForms part of the application to MVC. In 5 or 6 years time, you will have all the functionality converted to MVC. The migration part to .NET Core from MVC is smaller and can be done efficiently.
  • Stay in .NET Framework. Stay in WebForm as long as the application continues to serve your and your customers' business needs.

In the latter option you will encounter the challenge of finding developers interested in working your system. This is a risk that you need to consider in making these types of decisions. Software stack requires a healthy ecosystem of developers and designers working in it. If your system stack is relatively modern, it makes it trivial for developers to find their community and get support for their questions. Once this ecosystem shrinks because of the diminishing number of participants, the more unattractive it becomes for the current and upcoming developers to continue to invest their time in mastering this technology.

Our default recommendation is the first option - take the bullet and invest in migration effort. The longer you postpone the decision, the riskier and the costlier it will get. Good luck!