Standing for Component-based Scalable Logical Architecture, CSLA.NET is a software development framework designed to manage the cost of building and maintaining applications. By focusing on object-based design, CSLA gives all of its created business objects full functionality with all.NET platforms. CSLA is widely preferred because of its versatility and detailed documentation. The great barriers to successful CSLA implementation stand with the challenging learning curve and its complexity; these factors lead some to consider other options.
Businesses gravitate toward CSLA because of its ease of use with other critical programs and platforms. The latest incarnation of CSLA.NET, version 4.3, functions with Microsoft.NET 4.0, Visual Studio 2010, and Silverlight 5. As demand continues to increase for strong mobile applications, CSLA 4.3 also supports mobile devices, including Linux, Android, and Mac OSX.
Utility aside, some critics argue that CSLA’s learning curve makes it unsuitable for some business needs. In theory, small businesses enjoy neither the time nor the budget necessary to learn the program or hire experts. CSLA’s sole documentation comes in the form of creator Rockford Lhotka’s books, and while they are not prohibitively expensive, some may balk at the proposition of learning a software development framework from a book. The alternative would be to seek a mentor in a classroom environment, but the cost – and perhaps more significantly, the time – involved could form a barrier to entry. Even with training, businesses will need at least one person with expert knowledge of things like serialization, generics, and programming using abstract classes. Though no software development framework is “easy ” to learn, other open-source alternatives may provide a simpler solution. Likewise, the belief in CSLA’s “feature bloat” usually comes from those with a specific need as opposed to CSLA’s broad applications. For a fledgling business with a small project, CSLA’s powerful capabilities could become unnecessary complications.
Other users cite frustration with CSLA’s reliance on reflection over interface method implementation. CSLA’s DataPortal uses reflection to identify an object’s data save and retrieve behavior, which can lead to problems when debugging code. Specifically, the reflection will negate compile time during DataPortal’s runtime, increasing the threat of deploying buggy code. Furthermore, reflection’s detractors claim it is slow, especially when compared to static code execution.
Lhotka developed the primordial version of CSLA.NET in 1998, and its long history of refinement has currently afforded it the status of the “alpha and omega” of open-source software development frameworks. To some, its over-arching capabilities will require too intricate knowledge for efficient use because of budget and time constraints. Those without the expertise or finances to take full advantage of CSLA.NET’s offerings should consider a more narrowly-focused open-source alternative. For enterprises that have the means to take full advantage, however, it remains one of the market’s top choices for open-source.NET development frameworks.