How to Keep ASP .NET Web Forms Running Safely in .NET 6

It is impossible to run your ASP.NET Web Forms applications using .NET Core runtime.

Web Forms – like Windows Communication Framework and Windows Workflow Foundation – aren’t dead yet, just in suspended animation as it awaits it’s real EOL when it’s respective operating system is no longer supported.

What does that mean for your Web Forms applications? Will you spruce them up, maintaining them every year, maybe migrating them to microservices…or will you let them limp along and only address them when problems crop up?

Now is the time to act; Microsoft has increased it’s release cadence with the .NET series. Since .NET 5 in 2020 they will release a new .NET every year for the foreseeable future.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can keep your ASP.Net Web forms running safely in .NET 6 and future .NET releases.

Consider Security Risks

Good news: if your Web Forms application is not exposed to public Internet, there’s little risk in maintaining it.

Still, internal applications can be compromised. Rewriting or patching an application after a vulnerability is discovered becomes more and more expensive as time passes.

Use this opportunity to do a security check on your legacy applications and take inventory on which internal and external applications are at risk.

Assess JavaScript and Browser Type

If your web application requires an old browser (heads-up: Internet Explorer is losing support in June 2022), you will need control of the desktop too. Although not a huge barrier, it will add cost and friction to using the application.

An ASP.Net Web Forms application working on a modern web browser will reduce the Javascript risk. The recent havoc of Log4j Shell proved, if anything, moving away from Java can help increase security on your applications.

Train Generations Ahead

Now is the time to document what Web Forms features your applications leverage and how it uses (or abuses) those features.

Eventually (if not already), team members who built, or are greatly familiar with, your team’s Web Forms applications will move on, and their personal understanding of the application will leave with them.

HTTP with HTML/CSS/JavaScript will likely continue to be used and well-understood in 20 years, but Web Forms programming will likely not be. Spending a few hours writing about how your applications use Web Forms could save your successor and your successor’s successor a lot of time and resources.

Plan for the Future

There is no immediate need to rewrite your Web Forms applications, but the lack of urgency doesn’t mean we can’t plan ahead. Some actions today to help future team members or setting up foundations for future projects can have great ROIs.

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