.NET Core and .NET Framework: Key Differences

The .NET Core vs .NET framework discourse highlights the key differences between the two. At the end of this post, you’ll realise why you even need to choose and determine which one is better suited for your project.

Going into the .NET ecosystem without ample background can be like being in a maze. You may begin in the right direction, but eventually you come to a dead end. If you’re aware what is .NET Framework and what is .NET Core, then you’ll know how to navigate the maze.

What is .NET Core?

.NET Core is a free, open source, cross-platform framework used for developing cloud-based software applications on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems using the MIT and Apache 2 license. You can use it to build different types of apps like mobile, web, desktop, cloud, game, IoT, microservices, machine learning, etc.

.NET Core runs across multiple platforms and has been updated to make .NET fast and scalable. It’s a successor to .NET Framework and it was developed by Microsoft employees through the .NET Foundation.

Practically written from scratch, .NET Core includes the fundamental features required to operate a basic .NET Core app. Its other features are offered as NuGet packages that you can integrate into your app as needed. This allows the .NET Core app to reduce the memory footprint and speed up the performance.

What is .NET Framework?

.NET framework is a software development platform designed and developed by Microsoft for building Windows applications and web services. It covers a massive .NET Framework Class Library which includes classes, value types, and interfaces that provide access to system functionality.

.NET Framework features a Runtime software environment executed in a Common Language Runtime which is a virtual machine component that makes the development process easier. The framework also supports language interoperability across several programming languages like C# and Visual Basic. To be precise, .NET Framework supports at least 60 programming languages, including 11 that were designed and developed by Microsoft.

What is .NET Core Best Suited For?

Use .NET Core when your app needs to run across multiple platforms.

Given the fact that .NET Core is portable and runnable on virtually any platform, you have several hosting models and you can easily switch from one platform to another if your business model requires it.

Use .NET Core for building microserservice applications.

Microservices (a.k.a. microservices architecture) are software applications composed of small, modular business services. They are a cloud-native architectural approach wherein a single application is comprised of several loosely coupled components or services that can be deployed independently.

Use .NET Core when working with Docker containers.

Since it’s lightweight and modular, the framework works remarkably well with containers. We’ve singled out Docker because it’s ‘best in class’ in the container niche since it homogenised the container format. Docker made it easy to move containers from one host to another. This, in turn, made testing and deployment plain and simple. With .NET Core you can deploy server apps cross-platform to Docker containers.

Use .NET Core if you’re after heightened security.

Security these days are of paramount importance. Having your app exposed over the Internet is a major risk and protecting it must be a top priority. With modern architectures, microservices, and REST APIs, looking at security in the traditional manner won’t suffice anymore. Luckily, .NET Core offers a variety of tools for authorisation, authentication, and attack prevention.

For instance, you can use Data Protection API and Secret Manager to protect data, generate keys and rotate keys. You can even build on top of these APIs to cover the business aspects you need to secure. As for authentication, .NET Core allows you to integrate your app with major external providers.

Use .NET Core if you have scalable and high-performance system needs.

Microsoft suggests using .NET Core with ASP.NET Core for optimum performance and scale. This proves extremely useful when hundreds of microservices can be used, and you’ll only need fewer servers and virtual machines. The scalability and efficiency gained will eventually translate to cost savings and improved user experience.

What is .NET Framework Best Suited For?

Use .NET Framework if you’re using third-party libraries or NuGet packages that are unavailable in .NET Core.

You’ll have to settle with .NET Framework if you are using libraries that are incompatible with .NET Core. NuGet is the free package manager for .NET and other development platforms of Microsoft. It is designed to allow developers to create and share useful .NET libraries, and also to share reusable code. It is available as a Visual Studio extension.

 Use .NET Framework if you’re working with technologies that are not yet available in .NET Core.

.NET Core doesn’t support all technologies in the .NET Framework ecosystem. Such technologies include app domains, code access security (CAS), and remoting. Others include the following:

  • Security transparency
  • EnterpriseServices (COM+)
  • Saving assemblies generated by the System.Reflection.Emit APIs
  • Assemblies that consist of multiple modules
  • Workflow related services including Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)

Use .NET Framework if you want to build and release something fast

If you are a .NET developer who doesn’t have time to learn the intricacies of .NET Core, then .NET Framework is your best bet .NET Core entails a learning curve. NET Framework is also your choice if you are maintaining and/or upgrading existing .NET applications. Note that porting a .NET app to a .NET Core app needs some time and effort.

Parting Words…

So, in the .NET Core and .Net Framework debate, which one wins? Given the information discussed above, we hope you gain a better understanding of what is .NET Framework and what is .NET Core. But which one should you choose for your next project?

Well, there are several factors to consider. Moreover, technologies are evolving and new innovations are being introduced on a regular basis. For example, .NET 5 was officially introduced by Microsoft in November 2020. It is capable of running on multiple platforms, including Android and iOS. Its launch solved a number of problems with the .NET ecosystem, which is good news for the future software development.

Strictly speaking, the differences between .NET Core and .NET Framework are increasingly becoming academic with each passing day. No worries though, JhavTech can help you in practical matters. We have software developers who work with multiple frameworks and can cater to specific needs for your business.

Contact us today and start turning your visions to reality!

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