.NET Core vs .NET Framework: What’s the difference?

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.NET core vs .NET framework




Microsoft .NET is a software development language used to build applications and exists in two main forms: .NET core and .NET framework. Both frameworks are very similar but they do have key differences and advantages. This article will give you an overview of each and provide a list of key differentiators between .NET core vs .NET framework. 


What is .NET framework? 

.NET core vs .NET framework


.NET framework is the original .NET software used for the development of server side applications. Since it’s original release in 2002 it has been updated regularly to keep up with the pace of change in software development. .NET framework is supported mainly by Windows in the UWP, WPF and ASP.NET MVC forms. 



What is .NET core? 


.NET core vs .NET framework



.NET core was released in June 2016. It’s main purpose was to make .NET framework functional across different operating systems such as Mac and Linux. This cross platform capability is the key difference between .NET core vs .NET framework, however there are some other subtle differences which are outlined below. 


Microsoft’s Advice


When choosing between .NET core vs .NET framework Microsoft’s advice is to stick to the original .NET framework. One of the reasons for this is because many 3rd party .NET libraries and technologies are only available for .NET framework. Access to these libraries and technologies can be virtually essential to the development of some apps, depending on the functionality required. However, there are other scenarios where .NET core makes more sense. 


Open source availability


If money is a limiting factor, .NET core may be the best option. .NET framework does have elements that are available to all. However, other elements are behind a paywall and the user must pay a license fee. On the other hand, .NET core is totally open source and thus is completely free to use. 


App Portability


Apps developed on core are portable across different platforms such as Mac and Linux. As the diversity of operating systems is increasing, .NET core may be the better choice for developing cross platform apps.   


Ease of use


If you are already familiar with .NET framework and you are in a rush to develop and app, it might be best to stick with .NET framework. Some developers have stated that they believe there is a “steep learning curve” with .NET core, which could significantly slow down the app development process. 


Looking for a job? 


As .NET framework has been around since 2002 it is currently more popular amongst employers. Companies tend to stick to with their legacy setup. However, just because .NET core is new doesn’t mean it should be discounted. .NET core is steadily increasing in popularity, so if you are playing the long game you might be better to learn .NET core. After all, the current version of .NET framework 4.8 is set to be the last. 


Cloud based apps


One of the main advantages of .NET core vs .NET framework is that .NET core is designed to simplify the development of cloud based apps. ASP.NET core has a feature that allows the user to directly publish apps on the cloud. Though developing apps in .NET framework that are cloud ready is not impossible, it is much more difficult. 


Mobile apps


.NET core is the best option for mobile app development. .NET core is compatible with Xaramin, allowing the user to code apps using the popular coding language C#. There are also tools available on Xaramin that allow the user to customise apps for iOS or Android.  




As .NET core is the more up to date model it is definitely going to be the more popular choice in future.  Another advantage of using .NET core is that apps developed on .NET framework are compatible with .NET core. Using the .NET standard library, apps developed on .NET framework can be reworked to become compatible with .NET core. 



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