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.NET vs .NET Core: The Developing Difference

developer coding in .NET Core

Is .NET or .NET Core the better bet for application development? Both frameworks are designed and supported by Microsoft and offer the ability to create apps capable of using multiple languages, abilities, and libraries, but they’re not the same. .NET Core is rapidly becoming the language of choice. For most app developers, .NET Core comes out ahead of its .NET counterpart. 

To understand why, let’s break down both .NET and .NET Core basics, examine the rise of .NET Core deployments, and dig into some key .NET Core benefits.


What is .NET?

Originally developed in the late 1990s and known as Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS), .NET reached beta release in 2000. As noted by Microsoft, .NET helps streamline application creation by allowing developers to write apps in C#, F#, or Visual Basic. By using a common language runtime (CLR) and class library, .NET manages system resources such as memory, thread execution, code execution, and security validation. This allows apps written in one language to talk with code written in other languages, significantly reducing the potential for interoperability issues.

Despite the benefits offered by .NET and work by Microsoft to standardize the software stack, concerns emerged among developers around the proprietary nature of .NET, especially in the realm of software patents. Microsoft has since changed its development approach to more closely follow open-source development models.

What is .NET Core?

.NET Core is an evolution of .NET that delivers both cross-code and cross-platform support. While Microsoft designed .NET to support Windows-based applications, .NET Core applications run on Windows, Linux, and macOS. It also uses MIT and Apache 2 licenses to deliver true open-source architecture and ensure consistency across operating environments.

While .NET remains the more popular framework by sheer volume of app development, .NET Core is quickly gaining ground. A recent survey found that .NET Core is now one of the “most loved” frameworks by developers.


Why is .NET Core becoming popular?

So, what’s driving the adoption of the .NET Core framework over .NET? Several factors now contribute to this uptake, including:

  1. Linux & Windows Deployment – One of the biggest reasons .NET Core is gaining popularity is due to its ability to deploy in both Linux and Windows. This provides vast cost savings to development teams.
  2. Run-Time and Performance Improvements  Whether your application users are internal employees or external partners and customers, runtime speed and performance concerns are always critical to adoption. Since Core is the future of the .NET platform, all future performance improvements will be implemented there and most will not be present in .NET Framework. .NET Core enables APIs and applications to serve up application interfaces and data faster, regardless of the mobile, IoT, or desktop device which is interacting with it.
  3. CommunityBecause .NET Core follows an open-source development model, there’s a large (and growing) community of devs and designers now supporting its ongoing evolution, allowing IT teams to leverage prebuilt .NET Core code rather than building their own from scratch.

.NET vs. .NET Framework

Beyond increased popularity driven by the shift in software development and standardization, the .NET Core framework also offers key benefits such as:

  • Ongoing ImprovementsIn September 2019, Microsoft released version 3.0 of .NET Core and followed it up with version 3.1 in November of the same year. In addition, the company plans to release a new version every year and remove the “Core” distinction between the two frameworks to deliver increased interoperability.
  • Improved Security From security-specific APIs to Microsoft’s Secret Manager and the Azure Key Vault Provider along with straightforward support for two-factor authentication (2FA), .NET Core improves application security without increasing complexity.
  • Cloud-Based Development SupportWith cloud now the de facto framework for everything from mobile applications, Internet of Things (IoTs), and responsive web applications, .NET Core makes it easy for developers to design cloud-native applications across multiple platforms and devices.
  • Easy Updates .NET Core updates are easily managed and applied, allowing developers to spend more time building great applications instead of dealing with complex and convoluted service upgrades.
  • Cross-Platform Code .NET Core code can run on not only Windows but Linux platforms, which can help greatly reduce your cloud deployment costs. Combined with Docker, developers are able to leverage a greater amount of modularity and flexibility than ever before.

The Accusoft Advantage

To help companies compete on the cutting edge of app development and integration, Accusoft is making .NET Core available for specific products, starting with Barcode Xpress for .NET Core. With just a few lines of code, companies can deploy multi-platform, open-source support for industry-leading barcode recognition. From reading damaged, broken, and incorrect barcodes to scanning multiple barcodes on one document in milliseconds, Barcode Xpress makes it possible to easily integrate cutting-edge barcode functionality into any application across any platform. 

Several of our other SDKs are on deck for .NET Core capabilities. While .NET broke new ground for interoperable frameworks, .NET Core offers the next iteration of interoperable development with cloud-based, cross-platform support for applications at scale. Learn more about our .NET Core plans here.