What Exactly is .NET Core? Exploring its Definition and Functionality

In today’s fast-paced digital world, the demand for efficient, scalable, and secure software applications has never been higher. With the release of .NET Core in 2016, Microsoft introduced a game-changing framework designed to make it easier for developers to build, deploy, and maintain powerful software applications across multiple platforms. As of 2021, .NET Core has already reached version 5.0, with its active community and growing interest. This glossary page aims to provide you with a deep understanding of what .NET Core is, how it works, its benefits, practical use cases, best practices, and recommended books for learning more about this revolutionary framework.

“.NET Core is the open-source, cross-platform, and future of the .NET platform. It empowers every developer on the planet to build amazing apps for the world’s people.” – Scott Hanselman, Microsoft Program Manager

What is .NET Core? Definition of Microsoft .NET Core

.NET Core is an open-source, general-purpose software development framework created by Microsoft. It is a cross-platform successor to the .NET Framework, designed for building modern, cloud-enabled, and high-performance applications. It offers compatibility and support for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, and is the basis for other Microsoft offerings like ASP.NET Core, Entity Framework Core, and ML.NET. The .NET Core’s flexibility, modularity, and open-source nature make it a popular choice among developers for various application types, from web services to mobile apps, microservices, and machine learning solutions.

ℹ️ Synonyms: .NET Framework, DotNetCore, CoreCLR, .NET Runtime, CLR Core

How it Works

.NET Core provides a set of tools, libraries, and runtime components necessary for developing and running applications. Developers can write applications using C#, F#, or Visual Basic programming languages, targeting any supported platform. .NET Core consists of multiple components, including:

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– The CoreCLR: The Core Common Language Runtime, responsible for providing just-in-time compilation (JIT) and managing memory, garbage collection, and other runtime services.
– CoreFX: A collection of cross-platform libraries for various functionalities, such as file I/O, networking, diagnostics, and more.
– CLI (Command-Line Interface): Provides a set of tools for building, testing, and deploying .NET Core applications.
– SDK (Software Development Kit): A set of libraries, tools, and templates for building .NET Core apps.

Applications developed using .NET Core can be deployed in two ways: framework-dependent deployment or self-contained deployment. In the former, the host computer must have .NET Core runtime installed, while the latter packages the required runtime with the application, making it platform-specific and fully self-contained.

Benefits of using .NET Core

  • Cross-platform support: Build once, run everywhere! .NET Core supports Windows, macOS, and Linux, allowing you to develop and deploy applications on your platform of choice.
  • Open-source: The entire .NET Core ecosystem is open-source, providing transparency, flexibility, and an extensive community of contributors for support and continuous improvement.
  • High performance: .NET Core brings several performance improvements, making it one of the fastest-running frameworks available today. Applications can benefit from reduced memory usage, faster startup times, and optimization for modern hardware.
  • Modular and lightweight: .NET Core uses a modular design, allowing developers to include only the necessary libraries for their applications, reducing the overall footprint and improving performance.
  • Flexible deployment: Choose between framework-dependent or self-contained deployments to suit the needs of your applications and ensure they run seamlessly on any platform.
  • Support for microservices and containers: .NET Core’s lightweight design makes it ideal for building microservices and deploying them using containers, supporting modern development and DevOps practices.
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.NET Core use cases

.NET Core has a wide range of applications, including:

– Web applications: Develop and host high-performance web apps utilizing ASP.NET Core, a modern, modular, and cross-platform web framework.
– Mobile apps: Build native or cross-platform mobile apps for iOS and Android using Xamarin, powered by .NET Core.
– Microservices: Implement scalable, resilient, and independently deployable microservices, benefitting from .NET Core’s lightweight design and support for containers.
– Desktop applications: Develop modern Windows desktop applications using Universal Windows Platform (UWP) or Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) on .NET Core 3.1 or later.
– Machine learning and AI: Leverage the ML.NET library to develop custom machine learning models, incorporating AI and data analysis capabilities into your applications.

Best Practices

When developing with .NET Core, be mindful of the following best practices: Keep your software up-to-date, as Microsoft frequently releases new versions with improvements, features, and bug fixes. Adopt a clean and modular architecture, utilizing best practices like SOLID principles to ensure maintainability, scalability, and testability. Embrace Dependency Injection (DI) and configuration provided by the framework to promote loose coupling between components. Focus on performance optimization by taking advantage of .NET Core’s built-in performance features like garbage collection, Span, and SIMD support. Lastly, collaborate and engage with the .NET Core community for assistance, learning resources, and staying informed about the latest trends and advancements.

Most recommended books about .NET Core

To further your knowledge on .NET Core, consider these highly recommended books:

1. C# 9 and .NET 5 – Modern Cross-Platform Development by Mark J. Price
2. Essential ASP.NET Core 5.0 by Christian Nagel
3. Pro Entity Framework Core 5 by Erik Jensen and Edmilson Rodrigues
4. Hands-On Domain-Driven Design with .NET Core by Alexey Zimarev
5. Microservices in .NET Core by Christian Horsdal Gammelgaard

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Conclusion

In summary, .NET Core is a versatile, high-performance, and open-source development framework that continues to grow in popularity among developers. Its cross-platform nature, combined with its modern architecture, make it the go-to choice for various application types, from web and mobile apps to machine learning and microservices. By following best practices and utilizing resources like the recommended books and the active community, you can stay ahead of the curve and build powerful software solutions with .NET Core.

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Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
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li-url Lou Reverchuk

IT Entrepreneur

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