Key differences between .Net core vs .Net frameworks

.Net core vs .Net

Which platform should you use: .Net or .Net Core. This is one of the most debated questions. Both the applications work on language interpolation and software development, which make them very similar and is the prime reason for this confusion. 

This post will draw light on the functionality of these programs and help you to differentiate between them. It will also guide you in choosing the one that suits your software development requirements.

Difference between .Net Core Vs .Net

To understand the difference in .Net Core and .Net Framework, you need first to understand what exactly these two programs are and why you even need them.

What is .Net Framework?

.Net Framework is a language interpolation program that came to light around the 1990s. The software company Microsoft developed it for application for its operating system-windows. Its first version that goes by the name .Net framework 1.0, released in 2002. The newest update of this Framework rolled in 2019 by the name .Net framework 4.8.

 The working model of this program mainly consists of three main elements- Language, library, and Common Language Runtime (CLR). You feed it a project file in any of the compatible language; the Framework used the Framework Class Library to understand, then it covert the code in CLR and execute it.   

The Framework is compatible will almost every language and was usable for web-based as well as offline softwares. However, it had limitations, which later led to the development of the .Net Core.

What is .Net Core?

.Net Core is an open-source language that allows cross-platform software development. Microsoft announced it in 2014 and released its first version in the year 2016. This successor of .Net Framework removed the operating system barrier and enabled the users to manage computer software framework for MacOS, windows as well as Linux.   

The new platform included improved features that enabled you to develop and test both desktop and cloud-based applications. It also supported mobile application development. The best part of it was that you could also use it for newer technologies like Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. The program was in every way more effective than the .Net Framework, but it did not work that good with UI based desktop application. Its drawbacks are part of the reason why it didn’t replace .Net Framework completely.  

What Differentiates .Net Framework From .Net Core?

The difference between both the programs is straightforward; the .Net Framework is single platform software while the other is cross-platform interpolation software. Of course, this isn’t the only difference, so have a look at the table below; it will present a side by side comparison of both the programs.

.Net framework .Net core
Run-on Microsoft Windows only Runs on Apple MacOS, Windows, Linux, and more.
licensed and proprietary program(except for some component) Open-source application with no operating system limits.
It can be installed as a single package and runtime environment for windows. To be packaged and installed independently. 
Its application models include Asp.Net and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Application model Includes ASP.Net core and Windows Universal Apps.
Not that compatible with cloud-based applications Full support for cloud applications
It’s challenging to create a mobile app with it. Supports Xamarin and other programs that enable cross-platform mobile app development. 
You cannot use multiple versions of .Net Framework on the same machine Can install separate .Net core version for different applications
Works with third-party .Net libraries and NuGet packages Use Docker containers
Standard speed and low scalability High on speed and scalability


Deciding Whether To use .Net Framework or .Net Core

Even with the knowledge of .Net Core, .Net Framework, and the common difference between them, it’s challenging to decide which one works best for you. The next part of this post will simplify this choice. 

When to choose .Net Core

.Net Core is compatible with newer technologies and offers much better speed than the traditional frameworks. It is a considerable choice when:

  • You need to build cross-platform applications that can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • .Net Core allows mixing of technologies, which makes its choice for app development involving microservices.
  • The new and improved library of .Net Core makes it an excellent choice for situations when you need high speed and more scalable systems.
  • Sometimes you need to create more than one program and need to use more than one version of .Net, side by side. .Net Core can provide you with this flexibility.
  • .Net Core uses ASP.Net core that makes it very reliable in terms of speed, which is the prime need of a program that has to deal with hundreds of microservices.
  • In case you prefer to work on a lightweight editor or command-line based interface, .Net Core can come in really handy. You can switch to its command-line Interface Control for this task.

When Not to Use .Net Core

Remember that the .Net Core is not entirely flawless. So, there will be situations when using it can cause inconvenience. It’s recommended not to use it:

  • When you need to work with Windows forms and WPF applications
  • While working with service-oriented applications that use Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Framework.
  • When you need to work with older version .Net framework APIs. .Net core support some of them, but not all.
  • .Net Core is not a preferable choice when you plan to work with Higher-level frameworks like entity framework 6.X and Windows Workflow Foundation
  • .Net Core is not ideal for tasks that include sub-frameworks or need frameworks to be ported to .Net Core

When to choose .Net

.Net Framework has been a part of the software development world for a far more extended period than .Net Core. This time gap provided it leverage over other frameworks. You can prefer to use it when you need:

  • To import third-party DLL, and NuGet libraries
  • To build an application that needs WCF and WWF (Windows Work Flow Foundation) services implementations
  • To create programs that will need better language support (.Net core support only #F and visual basics)
  • To use APIs like Azure Service Provider that is not supported by .Net Core
  • To use a rich set of UI controls, including Third-party UI controls like drag and drop feature, and quality visual effect.
  • To develop programs that can securely integrate with Microsoft Email, Sync, messenger, and other similar services.
  • To develop applications with Model- View Control or MVC.

When Not to Run .Net Framework

The .Net Framework doesn’t align with the latest technology and sticks with one single operating system. So, using it is not a good idea if you plan to: 

  • Build applications that have to run on an operating system other than Windows.
  • Develop software using an open-source framework
  • Create software with high performance and scalability 
  • Run multiple projects on the same machine
  • Target microservices and need to work with Docker containers

Porting from .Net Framework to .Net Core

There are scenarios when you need to run the code created in .Net Framework in .Net Core. The task is not that complicated and won’t need more than just a few tools. Here’s how you can port your file from .Net Framework to .Net Core:

  • The first step of the process will be finding the compatibility of assemblies of the provided file with.Net core.  For this, you will need the .Net portability Analyzer. You can download this extension from the Visual Studios marketplace or by clicking here
  • Once you have integrated .Net portability Analyzer with your Visual Studio, open your project and right-click on the file name.
  • In the dropdown that opens, click on the ‘portability analyzer settings.’ Visual Studio will present you with all the available .Net that you can use for output. Checkmark the.Net core version you want and click ‘ok.’
  • Now, click on the project name again, and this time, click on the ‘Analyze Project portability option.’ visual Studio will check your .Net framework file and present you with a report file in Excel format.
  • The next part will be to analyze the API, and for that, you will need the .Net API analyzer. For this part, you will need to move to the open the Visual Studio and right-click on the ‘Dependency’ option.
  • Now, from the dropdown that opens, click on ‘manage NuGet packages.’ In the windows that pop, choose ‘Microsoft.DotNet.Analyzer. Compatibility’ and install it. Once the installation is completed, paste your code, and the analyzer will present you with the report. (The step is not necessary for files build in net framework 4.7.2 or higher, but its best to check)
  • After you have checked the files, it’s time to convert their package configuration. For this part, head to the ‘packages.config’ and use it to open the solution containing the project.
  • Now, right-click on the References node in the explorers and select ‘Migrate packages.config to packagerefernce’ option.
  • Now, Visual Studio will start the conversion and filter the error that you will later need to fix manually. 
  • Once you are through this part port or copy your converted code and you are good to go for a test run.  

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