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What is .NET Core? Guide to Its Features and Applications


June 27, 2016, marked the initial release of .NET Core, indicating the advent of a modern framework for software developers. Microsoft developed it as an open-source, cross-platform framework, empowering developers to create cutting-edge, high-performance, and modular applications.

In contrast to the conventional .NET Framework, .NET Core was introduced to provide developers with a more adaptable, lightweight, and runnable platform compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Since its inception, the framework has undergone numerous upgrades and improvements, solidifying its role as an essential component in the software development ecosystem.

This blog aims to delve into the history of .NET Core versions, exploring their key characteristics. Additionally, we will uncover why many developers prefer choosing .NET Core for their projects.

But before delving into that, let’s establish a clear understanding of what exactly .NET Core is.

What is .NET Core?

Imagine a toolbox overflowing with all the tools you need to build stunning software products. That’s what .NET Core is: a free, open-source, cross-platform development platform backed by the might of Microsoft.

It is a successor to the traditional .NET Framework and is designed to be more lightweight, modular, and versatile.

.NET Core supports multiple platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it suitable for various application development scenarios. It empowers you to develop various applications, from web APIs to robust desktop programs, all under one powerful umbrella.

But wait, there’s more!

Unlike the previous .NET Framework, .NET Core is not limited to Windows. It can run on Windows, Linux, and macOS, allowing developers to write code on their preferred operating system and deploy their applications almost anywhere. This broader compatibility offers developers more freedom and options for creating and sharing their software.

Now you must be wondering,

.NET Core Version History, Key Releases, And Their Support Status

Version Date Support Status Key Features
1.0 June 27, 2016 Out of Support Cross-platform, Web Development
1.1 November 16, 2016 Out of Support Performance Improvements, API Refinements
2.0 August 14, 2017 Out of Support .NET Standard compatibility, Razor Pages, SignalR
2.1 (LTS) May 30, 2018 Extended Support Performance gains, RyuJIT compiler (ARM64), Global tools
2.2 December 4, 2018 Out of Support Containerization improvements, ASP.NET Core enhancements, Platform support expansion
3.0 September 23, 2019 Out of Support Windows desktop applications, Single-file applications, C# 8.0, Improved frameworks
5.0 November 10, 2020 No longer receiving updates Unified .NET platform, Blazor WebAssembly, ASP.NET Core improvements
6.0 November 9, 2021 No longer receiving updates Performance gains, C# and ASP.NET Core hot reload, Minimal APIs, Cloud capabilities
7.0 (Current Extended Support) November 8, 2022 Extended Support Performance optimizations, Native AOT compilation, ASP.NET Core updates, Platform support expansion
8.0 (Current Mainstream) November 14, 2023 Mainstream Support Cloud-native development enhancements, Performance improvements, Developer productivity

.NET Core, introduced in 2016, focused on working across platforms and modern web development. Versions 1.0 and 1.1 started the framework, 2.0 and 2.1 strengthened it.

The 3.0 update added support for Windows desktop apps, and in 2020, .NET 5 combined various technologies. Subsequent versions like 6.0 and 7.0 improved performance, introduced hot reload, and expanded cloud features.

The latest, .NET 8.0, emphasizes cloud-native development and productivity. Older versions (1.0-3.0) have no support, and 5.0 and 6.0 no longer get updates. It’s essential for security and compatibility to choose a supported version like 7.0 or 8.0 for new and existing projects.

Now, let’s dive into the key features of .NET Core

Key Characteristics of .NET Core and Its Features

Here are some of the key features that make developers choose .Net core for complex software development:

Cross-Platform Compatibility:

One of the key features of .NET Core is its ability to smoothly operate on different types of computers, including those running Windows, Linux, and macOS. This means developers can create applications that work seamlessly on various computer systems, providing them with flexibility and reducing dependence on a specific operating system.

Open-Source Nature:

One of the significant shifts with .NET Core is its open-source nature. This promotes collaboration within the developer community, encourages transparency, and enables continuous improvement. Developers can actively contribute to the framework and the community-driven development model results in rapid updates and enhancements.

Modular Architecture:

Another important feature of .NET Core is its adoption of a modular and lightweight architecture, enabling developers to include only the necessary components for their applications. This modularity enhances performance, reduces the footprint of deployed applications, and provides greater flexibility in selecting the components needed for specific projects.

High Performance:

One of the main goals of.NET Core is performance. Its optimized runtime, Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation, and modular architecture all help to improve overall performance and accelerate application startup times. Because of this, .NET Core is a great choice for developing scalable and high-performance applications, especially when used in conjunction with microservices architecture.

Unified Programming Model:

.NET Core offers a unified programming model that spans various applications, including web, desktop, mobile, cloud, and IoT applications. This feature of .Net core provides a consistent programming model that simplifies development and maintenance, as developers can leverage their skills across different domains and platforms.

Container Support:

.NET Core is well-integrated with container technologies like Docker, making it easy to package and deploy applications as containers. This enhances the portability and scalability of applications, simplifying the deployment process across different environments and facilitating efficient resource utilization.

Cross-Language Interoperability:

.NET Core supports multiple programming languages, including C#, F#, and Visual Basic. This multi-language support promotes flexibility within development teams, allowing them to choose the language that best suits their expertise while still collaborating seamlessly within the same project.

Now let’s understand,

What is .Net core used for?

.NET Core is a versatile and powerful framework used for developing a wide range of applications. Some common uses of .NET Core include:

Web Development:

The ASP.NET Core framework, in particular, makes extensive use of.NET Core to create web applications. Its cross-platform compatibility and lightweight, modular architecture make it the perfect option for creating high-performance, scalable web applications that work on a range of operating systems.

Microservices Architecture:

Another use of .Net core is seen in the development of microservices-based architectures is a good fit for .NET Core. Because of its modular architecture and support for containerization technologies, developers can create and implement autonomous microservices, which makes it easier to create distributed systems that are scalable and maintainable.

Cloud-Native Applications:

With seamless integration with major cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud, .NET Core is commonly employed for developing cloud-native applications. Its cross-platform nature enables developers to build applications that can run in the cloud environment and scale effortlessly.

Cross-Platform Desktop Applications:

WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and WinForms are two frameworks that .NET Core supports in the development of cross-platform desktop applications. This makes it possible for developers to produce native desktop apps that function consistently across platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

API (Application Programming Interface) Development:

Building APIs that act as the backend for web and mobile applications is a common use case for.NET Core. Because of its efficient and modular design, it can handle data and business logic in microservices or RESTful APIs, facilitating effective communication within and between applications.

Now the question comes,

Why Choose .NET Core?

Opting for .NET Core brings several benefits for developers. It allows your applications to work smoothly on Windows, Linux, and macOS. Since it’s an open-source framework, it encourages collaboration among developers.

.NET Core is built for speed, making applications run faster and use resources more effectively. For big and complex projects, its support for microservices lets you create flexible and scalable solutions.

The included command-line tools give you more control and compatibility with Docker making deploying and scaling easier. Plus, its unified development model simplifies the whole process, whether you’re working on web, desktop, mobile, or cloud applications.


In summary, .NET Core stands out as a dynamic and adaptable toolkit for developers, perfectly suited to meet the demands of modern software development. Its cross-platform compatibility, commitment to open-source collaboration, modular design, and high-performance capabilities position it as an excellent choice across a broad spectrum of applications.

As a leading .NET Core development company, we specialize in providing advanced solutions leveraging this powerful framework. Our skilled team of .NET developers brings extensive experience in crafting applications that seamlessly operate on diverse systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

We thrive on working with open-source tools and staying abreast of the latest tech trends to offer our clients creative and scalable solutions. Whether it’s developing applications that run smoothly on various platforms or delving into cutting-edge technologies, we are dedicated to delivering solutions that make a difference.

Our commitment to open collaboration and a proactive embrace of innovation ensures that we deliver projects that are not only up-to-date but also tailored to meet our clients’ unique needs. We take pride in being a reliable partner, consistently providing our clients with solutions that stand at the forefront of technology.

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    Pranjal Mehta

    Pranjal Mehta is the Managing Director of Zealous System, a leading software solutions provider. Having 10+ years of experience and clientele across the globe, he is always curious to stay ahead in the market by inculcating latest technologies and trends in Zealous.


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