Microsoft Ships 5th Previews of .NET 5, Entity Framework Core 5

Microsoft today announced the fifth previews of .NET 5.0 and Entity Framework Core 5.0 en route to a November general release date, though not all of the planned functionality will be finalized by then because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company described .NET 5.0 Preview 5 as having "a small set of new features and performance improvements," as most of what's planned for .NET 5 was detailed in Preview 4, released last month. Some of those features include:

With Preview 4, Microsoft said, ".NET 5 is the next version and future of .NET. We are continuing the journey of unifying the .NET platform, with a single framework that extends from cloud to desktop to mobile and beyond. Looking back, we took the best of .NET Framework and put that into .NET Core 3, including support for WPF and Windows Forms. As we continue the journey, we will move Xamarin and .NET web assembly to use the .NET 5 libraries, and extend the dotnet tools to target mobile and web assembly in the browser. At the same time, we'll continue to improve .NET capabilities as a leading cloud and container runtime."

.NET 5
[Click on image for larger view.] .NET 5 (source: Microsoft).

The sprawling .NET 5 project has so many moving parts that even Microsoft has trouble keeping track of everything, so it also announced a tool to do just that, .NET 5.0 Runtime Epics. Those are described as "collection of features that together form a step-function level improvement in .NET, and typically requires the epic owner (a single developer or a small team) to go on a journey to satisfy the epic goals. Such a journey can require taking great personal risk or fighting dragons, but it's all worth it to make .NET better."

It lists epics for libraries, runtime, tools, experiments and "other" efforts.

Otherwise, today's announcement details some of the "small" set of new features and performance improvements touching upon:

  • RyuJIT JIT compiler improvements
  • Native exports (exports for native binaries that calls into .NET code)
  • Removal of built-in WinRT support in .NET 5.0 (a breaking change)
  • Expanding System.DirectoryServices.Protocols to Linux and macOS
  • Support for Aline Linux 3.12

.NET program manager Richard Lander said the dev team is about halfway through the .NET 5 release now, with most expected features now included but expected to be changed. "We expect that the release will be very close to feature-complete by Preview 7," he said.

The .NET Schedule
[Click on image for larger view.] The .NET Schedule (source: Microsoft).

Although still on track for a November debut, .NET 5 won't have all the features and functionality that Microsoft originally planned, due to complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus the full package will appear with .NET 6 in November 2021.

A few weeks ago, Scott Hunter, director of program management, said in announcing .NET 5 PReview 5, "In the wake of the global health pandemic, we've had to adapt to the changing needs of our customers and provide the support needed to assist with their smooth operations. Our efforts continue to be anchored in helping our customers address their most urgent needs. As a result, we expect these features to be available in preview by November 2020, but the unification will be truly completed with .NET 6, our Long-Term Support (LTS) release. Our vision hasn't changed, but our timeline has."

Microsoft also detailed Entity Framework Core 5.0 Preview 5 and highlighted ASP.NET Core updates in .NET 5 Preview 5.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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