The successful development and launch of a software product is often the result of strategic planning and decision making. One of the significant decisions that must be made by project managers is choosing what development platform and deployment strategy to employ in developing the product.
There are many such development platforms available today that can be used to develop a wide range of software products. However, the .NET Core platform stands out as a unique solution thanks to the many advantages it brings to the table. Thus, it is used by many companies and individuals for software development.
What are those advantages that make this platform popular across project development teams? Should you use it for your project development needs? First, let’s discuss what the .NET Core platform is and how it works.
What is .NET Core?
.NET Core is an open source, cross-platform software development framework developed by Microsoft. It was released in 2016 alongside Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 which enabled its development.
This framework is a newer alternative to the .NET Framework which has been around since 2002. The original .NET Framework was created to enable developers to write programs more efficiently and in their language of choice.
Taking things, a step further, .NET Core enables development teams to target multiple software platforms with just one code base. Also, unlike the older .NET Framework, .NET Core is open source which means developers have access to the code. It is maintained by Microsoft with help from a large community of developers on GitHub.
The framework comprises a highly optimized runtime known as CoreCLR (Common Language Runtime) which is basically a virtual machine where programs that are written for this framework run. It also consists of an extensive collection of base class libraries and APIs. It only supports the C#, F# and Visual Basic languages. C, C++, and other languages are not supported.
Applications that can be built using this framework include console (command-line) apps, ASP.NET Core web applications, and class libraries. Support for Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform and desktop technologies such as WinForms and WPF are expected to arrive in the next major release labeled .NET Core 3.
Advantages of the .NET Core Framework
The advantages of .NET Core for software product development are numerous, making it a solid choice for many programmers and development teams. Let’s go over a couple of these advantages.
Reduced development time and effort
The .NET Core framework makes it a lot quicker and easier to build applications for a number of reasons. One, of course, is its cross-platform capabilities. With this framework, programmers can write code once and have it run on multiple operating systems and environments such as Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Applications based on .NET Core technology are standalone and contain the required runtime for execution thus making them platform independent. This feature makes software development for multiple environments much faster and cheaper than traditional methods. For development teams with cross-platform needs, the .NET Core framework is a no-brainer.
Another area where .NET Core shines on ease of development is the creation of microservice and cloud compatible applications. The framework is designed to facilitate the creation of high performing cloud applications and autonomous microservice. Numerous tools and templates are available to help developers create these applications as quickly as possible.
Easy testing and deployment
The .NET Core framework also delivers considerable gains in the areas of testing and deployment. Thanks to its standalone nature, changes to the code can be observed without any deployment, thus, making testing much faster. It also comes with a built-in database for unit testing and test automation.
Deployment of .NET Core applications is also a flexible and straightforward affair. Developers get to choose between framework-dependent deployment and self-contained deployment. While the former method requires the target system to have a compatible version of the framework installed, the latter makes it possible for the .NET Core version that was used to build the product to be deployed along with the application.
With self-contained deployment, you don’t need to worry about whether the target operating system will have the required framework to run the application. You can ship everything in one package, and it will run wherever you want it to.
An extensive library of existing framework code
Being a subset of the .NET framework, .NET Core contains vast libraries of pre-written code that is maintained by Microsoft and the .NET community. These existing blocks of code can easily be included in any development project and modified as needed to get a head start in the right direction.
This collection of code makes the development of applications that use this framework much less complicated and reduces their time to market. The .NET community is also a great resource that developers can benefit from. Not only does it enable new developers to get up to speed with the platform, but it also aids experienced developers in coming up with creative solutions to problems and sharing ideas.
When to Use .NET Core?
With all the advantages of the .NET Core framework discussed above, it’s little wonder that the framework is rapidly growing in popularity as more developers and teams jump on board. If you’re considering what platform to use for developing a software product, should you use .NET Core? Here are a couple of scenarios where you should consider doing so.
If you plan to develop for multiple platforms including macOS, and Linux, the .NET Core framework is undoubtedly one of your best bets. Not only can applications be developed for these platforms, but these operating systems can also serve as development workstations. Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, for example, is available for all three major desktop operating systems.
Also, if you need to install different applications which require different versions of the .NET Framework, .NET Core is the way to go. It allows multiple services to run on one server with different .NET versions installed.
If you’re looking to achieve high-performance levels and scalability, .NET Core is a very efficient system that delivers on this front. Overall, it is an excellent choice for software development in the right scenarios and the best time to jump aboard this rapidly growing platform is today.