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.NET 6 Is Here

Microsoft shipped .NET 6, the culmination of a massive unifying effort to transform the Windows-only, proprietary .NET Framework into one open source, cross-platform development offering for all types of .NET projects.

So .NET Core 2.0 arrived in 2017 as an open source, cross-platform alternative to .NET Framework, and then last year the "Core" moniker was dropped in favor of just .NET 5, .NET 6 and so on going forward.

Microsoft's Themes of .NET site provides a high-level view of .NET 6:
Themes of .NET
[Click on image for larger view.] Themes of .NET (source: Microsoft).

With the recent additions of machine learnings and WebAssembly (which allows for .NET apps in the browser), the platform can now be used for web, mobile, desktop, games and Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

However, the umbrella "just one .NET going forward" arrival has been late in coming.

The unification effort was supposed to happen with .NET 5 a year ago, but the pandemic slowed things down and tricky development problems plagued some projects.

Also, that unification effort still isn't done, with some lagging components and functionality. For example, mobile is being brought into the fold with .NET MAUI (.NET Multi-platform App UI) -- described as an evolution of Xamarin.Forms because the desktop was added as an app target along with iOS and Android -- but it "slipped the schedule" and "will be released a little later than .NET 6."

For the desktop, the Windows App SDK (formerly called Project Reunion) is meant to alleviate the complexity of Windows app development that was caused by the emergence of two disparate sets of APIs: for the older Win32 platform and the newer Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

Microsoft announced .NET 6 in a gargantuan blog post of more than 16,000 words, in which .NET program manager Richard Lander started out by touting:

"Welcome to .NET 6," Lander said. "It is another huge .NET release, with near-equal servings of performance, functionality, usability, and security improvements. We hope you find many improvements that end up making you more efficient and capable in your every-day development and increase performance or reduce the costs of your apps in production. We've already started hearing good things from those among you have already started to use .NET 6."

Along with all the new features and capabilities, one important aspect of .NET 6 is that it's a long-term support (LTS) release, guaranteed to be supported for three years or for one year after the next LTS release is shipped, whichever is longer.

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

Of course, more than 16,000 words can't be distilled into much of a tl;dr, but Lander provided this bullet-point summary of the huge development effort, reportedly involving some 10,000 git commits from 1,000 or more developers from Microsoft and the community:

.NET 6 is supported with Visual Studio 2022, which also shipped today, and Visual Studio 2022 for Mac, but not Visual Studio 2019, Visual Studio for Mac 8 or MSBuild 16. "If you want to use .NET 6, you will need to upgrade to Visual Studio 2022," Lander said. That works because VS 2022 also reached GA today.

In Visual Studio Code, .NET 6 is supported with the C# extension in the VS Code Marketplace.

"Developers have already started upgrading applications to .NET 6 and we've heard great early results in production," Lander said. ".NET 6 is ready for your app."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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