.NET Framework vs .NET Core: A Complete Comparison Guide


August 16, 2019


September 1st, 2023

dot Net Vs dot Net Core

.NET Framework vs .NET Core – This is an old and on-going debate about which run-time to use to develop software applications?

But, at the same time, we are also aware of how .net core is adding new features and functionalities to simplify development and testing of desktop, web, cloud, and mobile applications.

Do you know what the trend says?

net core vs net framework popularity

As per the Google trends,  Custom .NET Development is making rounds of the internet and is leveraging in the enterprise market.

Moreover, in a Visual Studio Live! Conference Keynote, Microsoft affirmed that .NET Core is the future of .NET ecosystem which includes runtime, JIT, AOT, GC, BCL (Base class library), C#, VB.NET, F#, ASP.NET, Entity Framework, ML.NET, WinForms, WPF, and Xamarin.

So, how .NET Core is different from .NET Framework? Will there be a need to migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core?

Through this post, we will explain to you both the run-time, its comparison and we will even make it easy for you to choose one for developing the best software.

Let’s start with the basics.

Overview About .NET

.NET is a software development platform, created by Microsoft, for building many different types of applications. The .NET platform provides tools and libraries that allow developers to develop applications and services much easier and faster in a convenient way.

It supports two implementations for developing server-side applications i.e.

  1. .NET Framework
  2. .NET Core

Both of them have similar components and allow developers to share code but still, there is confusion and difficulty when picking the right project type for your requirements.

.NET Framework

Microsoft began developing .NET Framework in the late 1990s, under the name of Next Generation Windows Service. And by late 2000, the first beta versions of .Net 1.0 were released. Consequently, the number of frameworks was released retaining and adding new features from the previous version.

It includes a runtime environment for creating Windows apps and web services and supports websites, services, and desktops apps only on Windows.

The framework includes two main components:

  1. The common language runtime (CLR)— the engine for running apps and providing memory management.
  2. The extensive class library — a set of trials and tested reusable types of code for all development stages that any developer can use.

The goal behind .NET was to create an easy to use object-oriented environment, which could be supported by multiple languages; making development easier. But, being closed source, users migrated to open source platforms. Thus, to stand tall in the competition, Microsoft came up with the .net core as an open-source platform.

.NET Core

It is the open-source and cross-platform framework to build applications for all operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux. C#, Visual Basic, and F# languages can be used to write applications and libraries for .NET Core.

It has been designed to enable broad adaptability to new platforms and workloads.

The first major version of .NET Core was focused on high-performance web and microservices. And, with the announcement of version 2.0, multiple APIs and components were added to ease the migration of web applications to .NET Core.

Moreover, Microsoft shows .NET 5 as a unifying platform for desktop, Web, cloud, mobile, gaming, IoT, and AI applications. The goal of the new .NET version is to produce a single .NET runtime and framework, cross-platform, integrating the best features of .NET Core, .NET Framework, Xamarin, and Mono.

Both .NET Core and .NET Framework are designed to make development easier. So, let’s understand how the .NET core is different from the .NET framework.

.NET Core Vs .NET Framework: Understanding the Core Differences

The choice to opt for .NET Core development and .NET Application development depends upon the type of the application, requirements, budget, and platform on which it is to be developed. However, there are some of the factors that must be considered for your next project.

Some of the factors are listed below:

Cross-Platform Compatibility and Open Source

  • .NET Framework

.NET Framework enabled developers to build applications on a single platform – Windows.

The language compilers of .NET Framework ensures that programs written in one language can be compiled and accessed in other languages.

.NET Framework was released as a licensed and proprietary software framework. Microsoft subsequently made certain components of the .NET Framework open-source.

  • .NET Core

.NET Core is a cross-platform which means it is compatible with the various operating systems – Windows, Linux, and even Mac Platforms.

This compatibility makes it easy to develop cross-platform applications and migrate the existing applications to another platform.

The company has released .NET Core as an open-source software framework. Hence, both enterprise and individual developers can build apps with .NET Core without paying any licensing fees.

Deployment Model

  • .NET Core

.NET Core offers flexible deployment model.

Whenever any latest version of .NET core gets launched, it can be instantly updated on one machine and thereby gets uploaded in new directories without affecting the existing app.

Moreover, applications can be directly deployed in the cloud or developers can even self-host the application by creating their own hosting process.

  • .NET Framework

In .NET Framework, developers have to deploy web applications only on the Internet Information Server.

However, it has the option of Xcopy deployment- which has the ability to copy your files into the directory where they’re ready to run. This works great for the simple applications but for the complex apps, it requires more steps to be fully deployed on the server.

Performance and Scalability

When performance and scalability are critical, which is the best .NET Core or .NET Framework?

  • .NET Core

.NET Core development is more effective than .NET development as developers can boost the performance of the applications drastically without using additional hardware.

The code compiled in .NET core automatically gets optimized without any changes. The recompilation feature in .NET core optimizes the code directly, thereby increasing the performance.

Moreover, it enables the developers to build, test, and deploy the applications directly in the cloud.

Thus, with the help of .NET core, developers can increase the performance and scalability of the applications hassle-free.

  • .NET Framework

.NET framework lags in performance and is not faster, flexible and secure in nature.

When an application is first launched, the .NET Framework compiles the CIL code into executable code using its just-in-time compiler and caches the executable program into the .NET Native Image Cache.

To speed up the first launch, developers may use the Native Image Generator utility to manually compile and cache any .NET application.

Library collection

  • .NET Framework

The .NET Framework can take advantage of robust class libraries. These class libraries implement many common functions, such as file reading and writing, graphic rendering, database interaction, and XML document manipulation.

  • .NET Core

.NET Core can even take advantage of robust class libraries, but it even uses a redesigned common language runtime called CoreCLR, where developers have the choice to pick and use only the libraries that are required for the application and can remove unnecessary libraries.

.NET Framework vs .NET Core: Quick Comparison

.NET Framework
.NET Core
Build for Windows Build for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux
A few components of the .Net Framework are open source. .NET is a free and open-source framework
Used for both desktop and web apps. .Net Core doesn’t support the desktop application development
Supports Web Forms, Web API, Web Pages, and MVC Supports web and Windows mobile.
Develop with Visual Studio using C#, VB, F# Develop with Visual Studio for Mac and Visual Studio Code using C# or F#
Lags in Performance Great performance than the .NET framework.
Can be considered low in scalability and performance in comparison to the .NET framework. High scalability and performance because of the architecture.
Mature Framework Open-source and Cross-Platform framework
Does not allow the construction and deployment of microservices .NET Core allows and supports microservices.
Build server-based web apps, enterprise-grade apps Builds modern, cloud-based apps
Has an edge in terms of security due to the Code access security feature No Code access security is available  in the .NET core
Runs on .NET Framework Runs on both .NET Framework and .NET Core
No support for mobile app development. Some support for mobile app development.

.NET Framework Vs .NET Core: What Should You Choose?

Certainly, from the above comparison, we can see that .NET Core is giving a competitive edge; saving your time and money. However, let’s check-out in when you can use the .NET framework and .NET core.

Choose. NET Framework When:
  • Less time to learn new technology
  • Existing app is written in the .NET framework and you just have to improve the functionality
  • You’re using technologies that are not available in .Net core
  • Have nearer release schedules
  • Creating Windows client desktop applications using Windows Forms or WPF.
  • You need a mature and stable environment for work
  • Do not want to deal with continuous upgrades and changes
  • Have a pre-existing team with .NET Application Development experts who have a proven record of building production-ready software
Choose .NET Core When
  • If you want to build cross-platform applications
  • The need is to develop high-performing and scalable system
  • You need to containerize your solution
  • You need to install apps with dependencies on various .NET versions
  • You need side-by-side .NET versions per application
  • You are eager to learn new technologies
  • Have the time and capacity to take on new skills
  • You want to develop a microservices-based system
  • You’re prepared for the inevitable learning curve that comes with .NET Core

What Is Right For Your Organization?

.NET Core development is the best choice to develop new scalable server-side applications and with the continuous improvement in features, .Net core is making development easier and more profitable.

Existing applications are always safe to remain on the .NET framework.

Existing applications can take advantage of using new features and functionalities by migrating on .Net core. However, if the components are not supported on .Net core, it is recommended to stay on the .NET framework.

Are you still confused about choosing the right runtime for your software application?

Well, we can help you!

As, we are offering ASP .NET Development Services for three decades, we’re considered as one of the premium software development companies giving satisfying experiences to SMEs, enterprises, and Fortune 100 companies.

Are you looking for .NET Development Company? Contact our experts today.

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