.NET Core To Add Desktop Application Support

At Microsoft Build today, it was announced that a Windows Desktop “pack” or “addon” would be released for .NET Core. It’s important to note that this is a sort of bolt on to .NET Core and actually won’t be part of .NET Core itself. It’s also important to note that this will not make Desktop Applications cross platform. It’s intended that the desktop apps built on top of .NET Core are still Windows only as they have always been (This is usually due to the various drawing libraries of the operating systems).

So you may ask yourself what’s the point? Well..

  • .NET Core has made huge performance improvements for everyday structs and classes within the framework. For example Dictionaries, Enums and Boxing operations are all now much faster on .NET Core 2.1
  • .NET Core comes with it’s own CLI and tooling improvements that you may prefer over the bloated .NET Framework style. For example a much cleaner .csproj experience.
  • Easy to test different .NET Core runtimes on a single machine due to how .NET Core allows multiple runtimes on a single machine.
  • You can bundle .NET Core with your desktop application so the target machine doesn’t require a runtime already. You can bundle .NET Framework with desktop applications, but it basically just does a quick install beforehand.

I think most of all is going to be the speed of .NET Core releases. At this point .NET Core is creating releases at a breakneck speed while the next minor release of the .NET Framework (4.7.2 -> 4.8) is expected to ship in about 12 months. That’s a very slow release schedule compared to Core. While Core doesn’t have too many additional features that .NET Framework doesn’t have, it likely will start drifting apart in feature parity before too long. That’s slightly a taboo subject at times, and it’s actually come up before when Microsoft wanted to discontinue support for running ASP.net Core applications on full framework. Microsoft did cave to pressure that time around, but it’s simply undeniable that Core is moving at a faster pace than the full Framework right now.

You can read the official announcement on the MSDN Blog here : https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/dotnet/2018/05/07/net-core-3-and-support-for-windows-desktop-applications/

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