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.NET Core 3.1 Preview 2 Polishes Blazor/Desktop Functionality, Supports C++/CLI ('Managed C++')

As .NET Core 3.1 will be a "small and short release focused on key improvements in Blazor and Windows desktop," the main new functionality introduced in today's Preview 2 is the suport of C++/CLI, also known as "managed C++."

Just like Preview 1 announced about three weeks ago, the new preview shipping today (Nov. 4) focuses on the two main features highlighting the big Sept. 23 milestone release of .NET Core 3.0: Blazor (for C# Web development instead of JavaScript) and desktop development (Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation).

As the dev team is focused on polishing up those features, program manager Richard Lander said the big new thing in Preview 2 is support for C++/CLI, also known as managed C++. "The changes for C++/CLI are primarily in Visual Studio," he said . "You need to install the 'Desktop development with C++' workload and the 'C++/CLI support' component in order to use C++/CLI."

Available as far back as Visual Studio 2005, C++/CLI is described by Wikipedia as: "(C++ modified for Common Language Infrastructure) is a language specification created by Microsoft which supersedes Managed Extensions for C++. It is a complete revision that simplifies the now-deprecated Managed C++ syntax and provides interoperatability with Microsoft .NET languages such as C#."

Microsoft reaffirmed its support of C++/CLI when .NET Core 3.0 was released, stating: "We would like to let everyone know that we are committed to supporting C++/CLI for .NET Core to enable easy interop between C++ codebases and .NET technologies such as WPF and Windows Forms." The company also noted it will have full IDE support for projects targeting .NET Core 3.1 or higher, such as IntelliSense and mixed-mode debugging (IJW) on Windows (no support for macOS or Linux is planned).

With the support for C++/CLI, .NET Core 3.1 Preview 2 introduces two new templates: CLR Class Library (.NET Core) and CLR Empty Project (.NET Core). The new preview was announced at Microsoft's Ignite conference, along with many other dev tool offerings, such as updates of ASP.NET Core and EF Core, Visual Studio 16.4 Preview 3 and Visual Studio for Mac 8.4 Preview 3.

.NET Core 3.1 will be a long term support (LTS) release, supported for at least three years, and is expected to ship next month. Today's Visual Studio 16.4 Preview 3 is a required update to use .NET Core 3.1 Preview 1 on Windows (or Mac 8.4 Preview 3), but it includes .NET Core 3.1, so just updating Visual Studio provides both releases, Lander said.

For more coverage of what's new in Blazor and ASP.NET Core, go here.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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