Deal Pack Blog
ASP Versus .NET: A Guide to Hosted Applications
Many dealers ask if Deal Pack Pro is a .NET application.
While over 40% of the Deal Pack Pro solution is a .NET (pronounced “dot net”) application, the characteristic dealers are asking about is if the application is accessible over the Internet. Terms such as “cloud computing” or “.NET” are used by many people, but few outside of Silicon Valley fully understand what these terms mean. Let us review the definitions of these technical terms, in order to provide some clarity:
ASP: Abbreviated as ASP, an Application Service Provider manages and distributes software solutions to customers across a wide area network (such as the Internet) from a central data center. In essence, ASPs are a way for companies to outsource aspects of their information technology (IT) needs. Software applications offered using an ASP model are sometimes called “software as a service” (SaaS), where a vendor provides access to a particular application over the web. The application resides on the vendor’s system and is accessed by users through a web browser.
.NET: .NET Framework is a software framework developed by Microsoft that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows. The .NET development tools can be used to create applications for both the Windows operating system and the web. ASP.NET is a set of web development tools offered by Microsoft, built on the .NET framework, which provides an application program interface (API) for programmers.
Cloud Computing / Web-based Applications: The cloud refers to the Internet. Cloud computing refers to hosted services provided over the Internet. A web-based application is any application that uses a web browser as a client.
Fat Client: A fat client (also called a “thick client”) is a computer with most resources installed locally, rather than over a network as is the case with a thin client.
Thin Client: A thin client describes applications that use the client-server model where the server performs all the processing. The most common type of thin client is a a web browser which only provides a graphical user interface to the end user. Simply put, a thin client depends heavily on some other computer (its server) to fulfill its computational roles – it only displays information, it does not handle any computations.
SaaS: Software as a service (SaaS) is a delivery model in which software applications and associated data are centrally hosted by a vendor (Application Service Provider). Vendors manage the infrastructure and platforms that run the applications. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client (web browser). SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications. Users are provided access to applications, and users do not manage the infrastructure and platform where the application runs – eliminating the need to install and run the application on the user’s computer, and simplifying maintenance and support.
Simply put, when many dealers ask if an application is .NET, they are really asking if the application is web-based; they want to know if the software is accessible over the Internet with a web browser. While a .NET application can be web-based, the terms are not synonymous. The term ASP does not define the language nor framework the application is written in, however it represents a business model/service where a vendor hosts the application at its data center and provides access to users over the Internet via a web browser.
ABCoA is a software developer and application service provider. ABCoA offers SaaS, meaning we can handle all hosting, backups, security, compliance, maintenance, and updates related to Deal Pack. For dealers seeking to outsource their IT needs, Deal Pack Pro can be hosted at ABCoA’s data center and accessed over the Internet via a web browser. An added benefit of Deal Pack Pro over other web-based applications is the ability for users to use interactive peripheral tools, such as driver license scanners and biometric devices. Critical reports and features are even accessible on mobile devices. However, Deal Pack Pro can also be installed and hosted by users on their own computer or server, making Deal Pack Pro the most versatile dealer management system available today. The next generation of Deal Pack, Deal Pack Cloud, is entirely web-based.