Microsoft’s .NET is massive, with the general purpose of software development. The platform consists of modules and libraries for making web-based and desktop software for Microsoft Windows.

Nowadays, many developers are using .NET to develop software for Windows, Mobiles, and IoT devices by using computer languages like C#, F#, and Visual Basic, libraries, and editors.

.NET Framework is the natural choice for the existing applications as it cannot be replaced by .NET Core for server-based applications. The community of developers makes an essential contribution to the development of the community of the .NET platform. Many named brands like Google, Red Hat, and Unity are using the platform to create compelling and essential software for commercial use.

According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2020, In professionals’ most preferred platforms for software development, .NET and .NET Core stood second and third position respectively among the top 10.

To make a server-side application for sharing code and libraries .NET offers two implementations like .NET Framework and .NET Core. Both provide similar components for the development of software and share code across themselves.

What is .NET?

.NET family is the unified framework for the development of business-ready software for Windows and other operating systems. Microsoft introduced the framework. There are two frameworks under the umbrella of .NET technologies, namely, .Net Framework and .Net Core. At the same time, the .Net Framework is the initiation of the innovation. .Net Core is the modern and advanced version of the .NET family.

An Overview: NET Framework and NET Core

What is .NET Framework?

The idea for the .NET Framework was conceived in the 1990s for the need for next-generation Windows Services. By the early 2000s, the .NET Framework was designed and published by Microsoft for the need of the platform for developing software. As a result of the release of the .NET Framework, many frameworks were launched and updated with many advanced features.

.NET Framework has mainly two components called the common language runtime (CLR) offers a platform for mobile application development and provides memory management.

The extensive class library is a set of trials and tested codes that can be modified for all stages of software development.

.NET Framework is designed with features that can be used in multiple languages and have many object orientations. Software development is easier with .NET Core, as it supports libraries with many languages that support software designing a smooth process.

However, the .NET Framework is a closed source. Hence, there was a need for an open-source platform for .NET software development. .Net Framework is a perfect solution for software developers. It does not support contributions from the developer community.

What is .NET Core?

.NET Core is an open-source platform used for developing software for multiple operating systems like macOS, Linux, and Windows. The libraries in .NET Core are designed to support many languages that can be used by a large number of developers and designers worldwide.

The primary purpose of developing the .Net Core version was to offer a software development solution to the tech industry with the ability to contribute to the community.

Microservices is the form of service-oriented architecture. This software is made up of small business services, each service can be launched and created independently in different applications.

.NET Core allows a mix of technologies that can be used which can be minimized for each microservice. With this, there are very lightweight CLI tools integrated for all platforms. The developers can switch to IDE tools as well.

Functional Differences between NET Core and NET Framework

Platform or Framework
  • .NET Core is compatible with multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, and macOS. It also supports many computer languages, which makes it a universal framework platform to use. Since .NET Core is open-source, it can be used by individuals and enterprise developers without paying any license fees.
  • .NET Framework is used to create Windows Desktop applications and server-based software. The Framework is built with single language use for compilation but can be assessed in other languages too. .NET Framework is not an open-source platform. The developers can get a licensed copy after paying fees.
  • .NET Core 3.1 is the latest version of the platform, which currently has been used by the developer’s community. The platform is enriched with features and advancements that have made the platform fast and smooth. However, lately, there have been some performance twitches and startup performance issues observed by the professional.
  • .Net Framework was introduced in the year 2002 with C# language that can be used to write code that is similar to C++. The Framework focussed on Windows-based computers and servers. It had a GUI Library, ASP .NET framework for the web, and ADO .NET for data access. All these components were compiled and executed by CLR.
  • The deployment of the .Net Core is very flexible and accessible. When the new version of the Net Core is released, it gets deployed instantly and automatically without affecting the existing files. It gets uploaded in new directories one at a time and in one machine.
  • .Net Framework deployment model is slightly different than the net Core. When the new version of the net Framework is released, the users must launch the Framework manually via the Internet Information Server.
Modular Collection of Libraries

Both .Net Framework and Core help the developers with the usage and application of a robust set of libraries for app development.

But NET Core supports the CoreCLR, which is redesigned to fit the needs of future developers. It also supports the broad features of CoreFX of the modular collection of the library. Hence, the developer has to download the libraries only that is required for the project.

NET Core vs NET Framework: Quick Comparison

Compare .NET Framework .NET Core
Platform It is a fully developed platform with all the necessary components for the development of software It is an integrated part of the platform used for the development of applications like ASP.NET Core and UWP.
Source Code It is licensed and closed-source code It is free and open-source code
Cross-platform It is used to design and develop applications for Windows only. It is used to design and develop applications for multiple operating systems like Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
App Model the application model of the net framework includes WinForms, ASP.NET, and WPF. the application model of .Net Core includes ASP.NET  and Windows Universal Apps.
Installation Net Framework has a single packaged installation and runtime environment for Windows. Net Core is cross-platform, hence needs to be installed independently.
Support for Microservices It Is not easy to build microservice-oriented systems quickly. Net Core enables programmers to develop custom microservices with the help of various programming languages.
CLI Tools It is not appropriate for CLI tools. some developers find it difficult to use CLI with .Net Framework. It supports CLI tools which can be used by the developers. There is an option to choose between CLI tools and IDE tools with Core.

When to Choose .NET Framework?

When .NET technologies like ASP.NET web pages and workflow-related services must be developed, these applications are not supported by the libraries in the .NET Core. There are some technologies and software platforms which can be developed only by using .NET Framework.

Some of the Microsoft services and third-party applications do not support the .NET Core platform for development. When the developer is designing applications made for Microsoft services, which only allows .Net Framework, cannot use .Net Core.

.NET Framework Advantages
  • If you are a software developer that needs to be built and released quickly in the .NET technologies then .NET Framework is the best choice.
  • .NET Core is difficult to learn and needs time to get used to the platform. If you need to upgrade the apps in the .NET technologies, then a faster way to do so is .Net Framework with .Net Core porting of an app.

However, the current version of .Net Framework 4.8 is the last. As per the media, there will be no more new versions of the Framework in the Future.

When to Choose .NET Core?

When the developer wants to develop cross-platform applications for web and mobile, NET Core is a better choice.

NET Core was first introduced to develop high-performance web applications and scalable systems. It offers high-performance server runtime for Linux and Windows.

If the web application needs microservices and Docker containers, then choosing .Net Core is viable. It also supports Ruby, Java, and other monolithic services.

.NET Core Advantages
  • If you are developing software that could use both .Net Framework and Core, it is better to choose .Net Core.
  • The Dot NET Core platform is an easy way to develop cross-platform web applications. There is the newest version of .NET Core has a learning curve. However, it also helps the developers to bring modern interfaces to Windows Forms and WPF.
  • NET Core is the cross-platform technologies that support Windows and also Linux and macOS. If you are developing a cross-platform application that needs integration, .NET Core is the option.
  • It also supports microservices along with Java and Ruby, which makes the platform extremely useful for developers.
What is the Future of .NET?

Microsoft has announced the launch of .NET 5 shortly. The scheduled date of .NET 5 is not official yet, but it is planned to launch in 2020. With the launch of .NET 5, the .Net Framework and .Net Core will be limited. .NET 5 will be a unified platform with combines all the features of the .NET Framework and .NET Core.

Conclusion .NET Core vs .NET Framework

We can conclude that .NET Core is the more viable and modern solution to software development. With the release of .Net Core 3.0, more business-ready applications can be made, that are industry-competitive and offer cross-platform performance.

The main points that be derived from the comparison

  • NET Core is developed as a tool that supports most of the features of the NET Framework.
  • As .NET Core is open source and free to use, the contribution to the community is an asset for the development of software.
  • It also supports Windows Forms and WPF.

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