Is It Time for Developers to Switch to .NET Core?

The release of .NET Core created a lot of excitement. Microsoft promises that 1.0 is leaner, modular and will be a cross-platform solution. Let’s take a look at .NET Core’s current state and its expected future.

A Line in the Sand

Microsoft touts .NET Core as a line in the sand. Developers can use this brand new stable base to build components, update features and frameworks. .NET Core contains the most drastic changes for developers, with further releases to add more features.

A First Look: Ease of Use

startup business, software developer working on computer at modern officeCode magazine highlights ease of use as one of .NET Core’s major features. It takes just three simple command line commands to get a new application running and ready to edit.
You can do this by downloading the .NET SDK from Microsoft and following the instructions to create a new project on that page. Three commands later and you have a program.cs file ready for editing.

Getting started is just that easy. You pull down the SDK, drop it on your machine, set up a base project and are a text editor or Visual Studio project away from getting rolling. Think about the feature rich options Visual Studio can provide to this simple project.

What Are the Experts Saying?

Jeffrey Fritz wrote an interesting blog debating whether users should prefer .NET Core or MVC 5. In his opinion (read the full blog here) Core offers a few excellent benefits now including:

  • Winning in the raw performance category
  • Offering more operating system choice for running and developing your applications
  • Flexibility to deploy to containers
  • Surfing the edge of technology, but dealing with nightly builds and code updates

Core also offers merging of Web API and MVC so that you don’t have to define multiple configuration sets for your API and MVC applications.

Microsoft Sets a Standard

Just last week (Sept. 26, 2016), Microsoft introduced .NET Standard, touted as a way to make porting to .NET Core easier. Immo Landwerth wrote that “.NET Standard solves the code-sharing problem for .NET developers across all platforms by bringing all the APIs that you expect and love across the environments that you need: desktop applications, mobile apps & games, and cloud services.”

It delivers a set of APIs that all .NET platforms have to implement. This unifies those platforms and (we hope) prevents future fragmentation. You’ll see it implemented by .NET Framework, .NET Core and Xamarin when we get to .NET Standard 2.0. Landwerth said developers only have to master a single base library. Read his blog for all the details.

The Future of Core

Like any 1.0 release, Core lacks some features that Microsoft needs to add over time. Workarounds for those limitations can be difficult or impossible depending on the application.

The promise of platform development and mobile support may make it worth adopting in the long run. Having the patience to deal with the setbacks of any platform called a “line in the sand” is tough.

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