NET Framework Vs .NET Core: A Comparison Guide

It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that even the slightest change can bring major differences. Here we are talking about the NET framework and NET core. As a leading .net development company we thought it’s a good time to talk about the major difference between these two technologies – .NET framework vs .NET core. Both these technologies are commonly connected by word .NET and separated by core and framework. The functioning of the application differs based on what you choose- a framework or use .NET core for your business app. 

You must have assumed from the title, we are talking about the .NET Core and .NET framework. These two are often considered the same but when it comes to its implication, these technology frameworks are different from each other. The only reason they are used together is that they both belong to the same .NET family developed by Microsoft. .NET as a platform can help you build various types of web and desktop applications using C# and other compatible languages.

1. .NET Framework vs .NET Core

.NET framework and .NET core both are ways of implementing .NET within businesses. The very thin line difference that anyone could identify is that the .NET framework specifically works for web and desktop-based applications along with windows forms and WPF applications while .NET Core is designed to develop web and windows store applications. This can help you identify the difference and understand what works in the favour of your business. In order to highlight bigger changes, one must know essential differentiating factors that would make the concept clear.

In the next segment, we will be discussing six parameters on .net framework vs .net core

1.1 Cross-Platform Compatibility and Open Source 

.NET framework- Application development using the .NET Framework is restricted to only one platform, namely Windows. This framework’s language compilers ensure that if the application is written in one language then it may be simply compiled in another. However, the .NET Framework is a licensed software framework released by Microsoft with multiple open source components.

.NET Core- Finally, in 2014, Microsoft decided to begin work towards the evolution of .NET. In 2016, they introduced .NET Core, which was developed primarily to develop applications which can be supported on various operating systems such as Windows, MAC OS and LINUX

With the proven results of being an open-source platform, .NET core allows you (companies and individuals) to build apps using it without paying any licensing costs. The interoperability and compatibility of .NET core distinguish it from others.

1.2 Deployment Model

.NET Framework- The .NET Framework is a single package that contains everything a developer could need to create a Windows OS based application. This one takes a limited approach which means it just allows the Windows operating system to execute codes for websites, web applications, and web services. Web applications developed using ..NET  framework can solely be deployed on Internet Information Server which is compatible with windows OS.

.NET Core- So on the other side, the .NET core is fully composed of modules. The package of the .NET core simply contains the fundamental development components. Following that, the developer may select only the modules required by their selected platform. If we simplify this, we can say it includes lighter versions of the essential development components, and that’s it. As a result, a developer has the option of adding modules. However, browser based web applications built with ASP.NET Core may be hosted in a variety of ways. The ASP.NET Core apps may be deployed directly in the cloud or self-hosted by the developers by developing their own hosting procedure.

1.3 App Performance, Scalability and Reliability 

If we are strictly adhering to the features of both-.NET core and .NET framework then when it comes to performance and scalability let us see which one of the two has an upper hand?

.NET Framework- .NET Framework was introduced in the early years of the 20th century with C# language that can be used to write code that is similar to C++. The .NET framework lags a little in performance compared to .NET Core as .NET Framework was more focused on Windows-based computers and servers which were prevalent at that time. When an application is started for the first time, the .NET Framework converts the CIL code into executable code using its just-in-time compiler and stores the executable program in the .NET Native Image Cache. Developers may use the Native Image Generator utility to manually build and cache any .NET program to speed up the first launch. 

.NET Core- As .NET Core was released more recently, Microsoft has tried to address the majority of the drawbacks OR the concern areas where the .NET framework was lagging in performance. New framework is enriched with features and advancements that made the platform fast and smooth. .NET Core has elevated performance than the traditional version, specifically for Cloud based application and cloud environments, which are one of the crucial elements of the application development and hosting nowadays. Alas, “All that glitter is not gold” and minor performance regressions and start-up performance issues have been reported by several organizations with .NET Core 3.1 compared to .NET Framework 4.8, but those are being continuously addressed by Microsoft. .NET Core reported more CPU usage time, however very good improvement in rendering time is noticed with .NET Core based applications. 

1.4 .NET Standard Library

Since both .NET Core and .NET framework come from the same .NET ecosystem, mostly all the libraries and functions are the same. Both .NET Framework and .NET Core assists the developers by providing a robust set of powerful libraries for the app development which they can use as required. However, .NET Core supports the CoreCLR, which was redesigned by Microsoft to address the needs of the future developers. It also supports the broad features of CoreFX in the modular collection of the library. As a result, developers may select and utilize just the libraries required by them within each application, therefore improving application speed by getting rid of redundant libraries within the project. Below is a chart with each .NET Standard version that shows the specific areas they run on:

.NET Standard Library

1.5 Packaging and Shipping

.NET Framework

The packages for each one can be different. The .NET Framework must be installed as a single package as well as used for a Windows runtime environment. NuGet packages are generally not available for .NET core, it is only available for the .NET framework. You need to make modifications if you wish to use it. 

.NET Core

If we talk about .NET Core on the contrary, it is cross-platform, packaged and deployed independently but based on the chosen operating system. NuGet packages that can be included in .NET Core must be compiled by the developers. They may also assemble Nuget packages straight into the program or they can also save them in a different subdirectory within the application. It does not provide all .NET framework technologies, you either need to port it or wait for official upgrades.

1.6 Microservices Support

.NET Framework

Microservices divide a huge application into smaller apps and services. This simplifies scaling and management.The NET Framework does not support the development and deployment of microservices, although it does support REST API services. 

.NET Core

On the other hand,.NET Core supports both microservices and monolithic architecture. Microservice architecture lets the developer work on one component/service at a time without impacting the entire system. 

2. Let us Explore More About .NET

The .NET ecosystem developed and designed by Microsoft in 2002 is a solid singleton platform used for developing applications using the programming languages supported by  .NET. There are more than 50+ languages that are used by .NET that also includes programming languages like C#, and F#, and Visual Basic and several other languages. The framework offered a common API set, language independence, compatibility, usage of different operating systems and other non-.NET applications, portability and a slew of other intriguing features.

In .NET system is majorly divided into three -levels of components- The .NET framework, the .NET core and Xamarin. Yes, you read it right, Xamarin is also an inseparable part of the .NET library. As we can see in the image, there are three main sections. Initially, we will start off with the .NET framework.

In .NET framework-  You are free to construct all types of windows desktop applications as the .NET framework supports windows. You can also utilize Windows Forms, UWP, and WPF as an inclusion in the .NET framework.  ASP.NET MVC is also a sub- part of this which plays a major role in the creation of Web applications.

The one is .NET core- Many of you might know that .NET Core is a new open-source, cross-platform framework that is used to create apps for various operating systems. These apps are compatible across Mac, Linux, and Windows platforms. As we can see in the image, .NET Core supports UWP and only ASP.NET Core and UWP are supported by NET Core. UWP is used to create Windows 10 target Windows and mobile applications. Meanwhile, ASP.NET Core is used to create browser-based web apps.

.NET STANDARD LIBRARY

Some of the major components of .NET architecture that 

The third section is for Xamarin- Xamarin is used to create mobile apps for Android, iOS, Windows Mobile or and Windows phone devices) using C#. Xamarin is developed in C# and is included in all Visual Studio versions.  Xamarin works well for mobile apps and is the sole alternative.

2.1 .NET Framework

One of the most important reasons why you must know about the .NET framework is because there is so much that .NET as a framework can offer. Hence, knowing that, there are possibly many other benefits that can be leveraged. As we know, Microsoft introduced the .NET framework as a powerful software framework that comprises a runtime environment for developing Windows programmes and web services. You can use .NET to develop all types of .web apps that are compatible across any device and operating systems. It also has a huge class library which is popularly known as the .NET framework class Library. It consists of all the types of class, interface, and value to enable access to system functions.

The .NET Framework supports a runtime software environment known as Common Language Runtime (CLR). Now CLR is an application virtual machine that simplifies development and allows you to develop codes compatible across varied platforms. The utilization of CLR can help you in memory management, security, and exception handling several other functions too. The primary functions of .NET are to offer assemblies, application runtime host, meta data, self- describing components, cross-language interoperability and in addition to all this .NET framework class library and framework security. 

2.2 .NET Core

From the .NET family, if we talk about NET Core then, .NET Ccore is a free to use,  open- source, all-inclusive programming platform that can be used to create modern cloud-based software applications for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It runs on several platforms and has been updated to make .NET quick, scalable, and contemporary. Dot NET Core is one of Microsoft’s major contributions, and it is also licensed under the MIT License. Some of the most salient features of .NET core includes

  • .NET core is an Cross-Platform and Open Source framework
  • .NET Core offers high performance, scalability and can work well in various environments. It is High Performing ance and can work well in various environments
  • It is suitable across multiple development modes too.
  • .NET provides Cross-Platform support. Hence, .NET Core apps are supported on multiple platforms.

3. What Should You Choose To Develop The Best Solutions?

So, now that you know the strengths and weaknesses of each of these, it is now time to know which one is best suited for your business. Here are some of the major parameters you must consider while choosing between the .NET Framework and .NET Core today. 

3.1 When Will the .NET Framework Work Best For You?

This can change with time but as of now, these points will help you select the right one for you. Starting with when to use the .NET Framework, so if your business wants to achieve the following aspects then, .NET Framework is a superior option:

  • In case you have quickly decided on technology and there isn’t enough time to study new technology. Go ahead and use the .NET framework to develop .NET apps.
  • If you are working in a concrete and stable environment, the .NET framework can benefit largely.
  • If you have more frequent releases and deliveries
  • If there is a team with .NET framework development experience then use it for quicker releases and results.
  • When there are fewer updates about version changes and you do not want to cope with constant upgrades and modifications, the .NET framework can be favorable.
  • When you want to develop Windows-based client apps with the integration of Windows Forms or WPF.

3.2 When Will .NET Core Work Best For You?

The capability of .NET Core is already showcased previously in the above segment, hence here you must know when is .NET core best for you. Ideally, it’s best-suited for almost all times but specifically when

  • Your business wants to target and develop apps and software for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. Visual Studio Code can be used on all of the above listed OS. The command line tools can be used on all supported platforms. .NET Core is a superior alternative.
  • Now since you haven’t been afraid of breaking and maintaining apps, NET Core is perfect to assist you in all its stages.
  • If you want high performance and scalable systems.
  • If you want to execute multiple .NET versions side-by-side on the same server.
  • If you want control over the command-line interface (CLI) then use .NET Core.
  • If you want something for free to learn, use .NET core as we know it’s an open-source platform that includes the universal windows platform.

4. Conclusion

The latest version of the .NET family is .NET 5 which is the future and is confident to offer many flexible and compatible development facilities. Though this version is in preview, there can be more advancements to this ecosystem which will not only simplify the development but also enhance it in every possible way. Meanwhile, we hope that we did a fair job in making you understand why it is important to bring clarity between these two frameworks accessible –.NET Framework and.NET Core. By now, you will definitely be able to select the optimal framework for your project. The ball is in your court, make the best use of it.

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Itesh Sharma

Itesh Sharma is core member of Sales Department at TatvaSoft. He has got more than 6 years of experience in handling the task related to Customer Management and Project Management. Apart from his profession he also has keen interest in sharing the insight on different methodologies of software development.

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    1. Alma J.

      Being a software developer I personally love the .NET framework, I recommend it a lot to my clients for their projects. I went through this article and I really enjoyed reading it I am surely sharing this blog with trainees in my team. This article has been written really well it is much helpful, Thanks!

    2. Jaden

      Since .NET has gained popularity among developers, many individuals and businesses are interested in learning more about these Microsoft advancements. The argument between .NET Core and .NET Framework is raging in the IT world. Hence I was looking on for some blogs that would really help me out with this topic and I found your blog really helpful. Also, the section which shows when to opt for which - .NET framework or .NET Core cleared many of my doubts. Great read!