It’s time for .NET Core

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Photo by Oscar Nord on Unsplash

By Eric Wise

The Microsoft .NET Framework has had a great run since its initial release in 2001. My first programming experiences were with Java, C++, and Visual Basic 6.0, but I quickly fell in love with C# and .NET. I wasn’t the only one. More than 2 million developers worldwide code in C#, which is just one of the language options on the .NET Framework.

.NET Core, introduced in November 2014, was a complete rebuild that took all the lessons learned maintaining and supporting the .NET Framework and brought much-needed improvements, not to mention that it is both open source and cross-platform. I have personally taught ASP.NET Core courses with students in the room using both macOS and Windows, which is quite a long way from where Microsoft started.

Unlike some of that hip front-end JavaScript stuff like Node, Angular, and React, which gets new releases and adopted at what seems like the speed of light, the enterprise moves more deliberately. It’s not uncommon to see servers and databases in the enterprise running old versions of software and frameworks because, frankly, if it isn’t broke, there’s often not a compelling business reason to chase version numbers. Thus, the enterprise tends to lag three to five years behind and often ignores the 1.0 release deeming it too risky for their critical apps and infrastructure.

.NET Core 2.0 was released in 2017, and this September’s .NET Core version 3.0 brings some important announcements and guidance from Microsoft:

  • The legacy .NET Framework, version 4.8, will be the last major version of the .NET Framework. This decision means bug fixes and security fixes only from here on out. All new feature development will happen on .NET Core.
  • .NET Core 3.0 has ported pretty much all the major features from the .NET Framework, and this includes dinosaur technology such as WinForms. Where there isn’t a port, Microsoft has recommended modern replacements available.

The official guidance is that after September 2019 all new .NET applications should be based on .NET Core.

What does this mean for you as a .NET developer or enterprise business? Will existing .NET applications still work? Yes, absolutely. However, you will want to keep these three critical points in mind:

  1. With cloud-based applications and architectures becoming the norm, businesses are paying for the computing power they use, and being on the latest most-optimized platform will save real money, especially at scale.

  2. From a talent attraction and retention standpoint, developer talent will be increasingly aware that .NET Core is the future and will seek positions that leverage the platform. Data from Burning Glass Technologies, an analytics software company that provides real-time information on job growth and labor market trends, reveal that in the past 12 months there have been 112,186 job postings in the US for .NET skills.

  3. For a modern application world, the next release after .NET Core 3.0 will support Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and WebAssembly with a variety of interoperability features including Java, Objective-C, and Swift.

With all this in mind, it’s important to consider a career pathway in .NET Core for existing developers and our Accelerator corporate program to quickly train and deploy new developers.

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