.NET Framework vs .NET Core

DZone 's Guide to

.NET Framework vs .NET Core

Choose the best runtime for your development needs.

· Web Dev Zone ·
Free Resource


Do you take the red pill or the blue pill?

.NET Framework vs .NET Core – This is an old and on-going debate about which run-time to use to develop software applications.

But, at the same time, we are also aware that .NET Core is adding new features and functionalities to simplify the development and testing of desktop, web, cloud, and mobile applications.

You may also like: .NET Core or Java for Web Development.

Do you know what the trend says?

.NET Core continues to separate itself As per the Google trends, the .NET core is making rounds of the internet and is leveraging in the enterprise market.

Moreover, in a Visual Studio Live! Conference Keynote, Microsoft affirmed that .NET Core is the future of .NET ecosystem, which includes runtime, JIT, AOT, GC, BCL (Base class library), C#, VB.NET, F#, ASP.NET, Entity Framework, ML.NET, WinForms, WPF, and Xamarin.

So, how is .NET Core different from .NET Framework? Will there be a need to migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core?

Through this post, we will explain both run-time environments and make it easy for you to choose the best one for your specific needs.

Let’s start with the basics.

.NET Overview

.NET is a software development platform created by Microsoft for building many different types of applications. The .NET platform provides tools and libraries that allow developers to develop applications and services easier, faster, and more conveniently.

It supports two implementations for developing server-side applications:

  • .NET Framework.

  • .NET Core.

Both of them have similar components and allow developers to share code, but still, there is confusion and difficulty when picking the right project type for your requirements.

.NET Framework

Microsoft began developing .NET Framework in the late 1990s under the name, Next Generation Windows Service. By late 2000, the first beta versions of .Net 1.0 were released. Since then, newer versions have been released, retaining and adding new features from the previous version.

These include a runtime environment for creating Windows apps and web services. These support websites, services, and desktops apps only on Windows.

The framework includes two main components:

  • The common language runtime (CLR— the engine for running apps and providing memory management.

  • The extensive class library — a set of trial and tested reusable types of code for all development stages that any developer can use.

The goal behind .NET was to create an easy to use object-oriented environment, which could be supported by multiple languages, making development easier. But, being closed source, users migrated to open source platforms. Thus, to separate itself from competition, Microsoft came up with the .NET Core as an open source platform.

.NET Core

It is an open source and cross-platform framework used to build applications for all operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. C#, Visual Basic, and F# can be used to write applications and libraries for .NET Core.

The first major version of .NET Core was focused on high-performance web and microservices. And, with the announcement of version 2.0, multiple APIs and components were added to ease the migration of web applications to .NET Core.

Moreover, Microsoft describes ".NET 5 as a unifying platform for desktop, Web, cloud, mobile, gaming, IoT, and AI applications." The goal of the new .NET version is to produce a single .NET runtime and framework, cross-platform, integrating the best features of .NET Core, .NET Framework, Xamarin, and Mono.

Now, let’s understand how the .NET core is different from the .NET framework.

.NET Core Vs .NET Framework: Understanding the Core Differences

Framework vs. Core

The choice to develop .NET core and .NET framework depends upon the type of the application, requirements, budget, and platform on which it is to be developed. However, there are some of the factors that must be considered for your next project.

Cross-Platform Compatibility and Open Source

NET Framework

.NET Framework enabled developers to build applications on a single platform – Windows.

The language compilers of .NET Framework ensures that programs written in one language can be compiled and accessed in other languages.

.NET Framework was released as a licensed and proprietary software framework. Microsoft subsequently made certain components of the .NET Framework open-source.

.NET Core

.NET Core is a cross-platform, which means it is compatible with the various operating systems – Windows, Linux, and even Mac Platforms.

This compatibility makes it easy to develop cross-platform applications and migrate the existing applications to another platform.

The company has released .NET Core as an open-source software framework. Hence, both enterprise and individual developers can build apps with .NET Core without paying any licensing fees.

Deployment Model

.NET Core

.NET Core offers a flexible deployment model. Whenever any latest version of .NET core gets launched, it can be instantly updated on one machine and thereby gets uploaded in new directories without affecting the existing app.

Moreover, applications can be directly deployed in the cloud, or developers can even self-host the application by creating their own hosting process.

.NET Framework

In .NET Framework, developers have to deploy web applications only on the Internet Information Server.

However, it has the option of Xcopy deployment- which has the ability to copy your files into the directory where they’re ready to run. This works great for the simple applications but for the complex apps, it requires more steps to be fully deployed on the server.

Performance and Scalability

When performance and scalability are critical, which is the best .NET Core or .NET Framework?

.NET Core

.NET Core is more effective than .NET Framework, as developers can boost the performance of the applications drastically without using additional hardware.

The code compiled in .NET core automatically gets optimized without any changes. The recompilation feature in .NET core optimizes the code directly, thereby increasing the performance.

Moreover, it enables the developers to build, test, and deploy the applications directly in the cloud. Thus, with the help of .NET core, developers can increase the performance and scalability of the applications hassle-free.

.NET Framework

.NET framework lags in performance and is not faster, flexible, and secure in nature. When an application is first launched, the .NET Framework compiles the CIL code into executable code using its just-in-time compiler and caches the executable program into the .NET Native Image Cache.

To speed up the first launch, developers may use the Native Image Generator utility to manually compile and cache any .NET application.

Library collection

.NET Framework

The .NET Framework can take advantage of robust class libraries. These class libraries implement many common functions, such as file reading and writing, graphic rendering, database interaction, and XML document manipulation.

.NET Core

.NET Core can even take advantage of robust class libraries, but it even uses a redesigned common language runtime called CoreCLR, where developers have the choice to pick and use only the libraries that are required for the application and can remove unnecessary libraries.

.NET Framework vs .NET Core: Quick Comparison

.NET Framework
.NET Core
Build for Windows. Build for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
Supports Web Forms, Web API, Web Pages, and MVC. Supports Web Page, Web AP, and MVC.
Develop with Visual Studio using C#, VB, F#. Develop with Visual Studio for Mac and Visual Studio Code using C# or F#.
Lags in Performance. Great performance than .NET.
Mature Framework. Open-Source and Cross-Platform framework.
Build server-based web apps, enterprise-grade apps. Builds modern, cloud-based apps.
Runs on .NET Framework. Runs on both .NET Framework and .NET Core.

What Should You Choose to Develop the Best Software?

Certainly, from the above comparison, we can see that .NET Core has a slight competitive edge, as it saves time and money. However, let’s check out when you should use the .NET framework and .NET core.

Choose NET Framework When:

  • Less time to learn new technology.

  • The existing app is written in the .NET framework and you just have to improve the functionality.

  • You’re using technologies that are not available in .net core.

  • Have nearer release schedules.

  • Creating Windows client desktop applications using Windows Forms or WPF.

  • You need a mature and stable environment for work.

  • Do not want to deal with continuous upgrades and changes.

  • Have a pre-existing team with .NET expertise who have a proven record for building production-ready software.

Choose .NET Core When:

  • If you want to build cross-platform applications.

  • The need is to develop high-performing and scalable system.

  • You need to containerize your solution.

  • You need to install apps with dependencies on various .NET versions.

  • You need side-by-side .NET versions per application.

  • You are eager to learn new technologies.

  • Have the time and capacity to take on new skills.

  • You want to develop a microservices-based system.

  • You’re prepared for the inevitable learning curve that comes with .NET Core.

What Is Right for Your Organization?

.NET Core is the best choice to develop new, scalable, server-side applications with continuous improvement in features, while .NET Core makes development easier and more profitable. Existing applications are always safe to retain on .NET framework.

Existing applications can take advantage of using new features and functionalities by migrating to .Net Core. However, if the components are not supported on .NET Core, it is recommended to stay on .NET Framework.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Articles

.net core, .net framework, aot, c#, f#, jit, server-side development, vb.net, web dev

Published at DZone with permission of Ankit Kumar . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}