Microsoft launches its cross-platform .Net Core

Framework supports concurrent application development for Mac and Linux, as well as Windows

Microsoft launches its cross-platform .Net Core
Credit: Blair Hanley Frank

Microsoft used a Linux conference of all places to announce the release of .NET Core 1.0 and ASP.NET Core 1.0, the open source, cross-platform version of its .NET Framework for building apps that can run on Mac and Linux. With the help of its recently acquired Xamarin, iOS and Android can also be supported.

The announcement was made simultaneously at the Red Hat DevNation summit in San Francisco and on the MSDN blog. The release includes the .Net Core runtime, libraries and tools and the ASP.NET Core libraries. Microsoft also released Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extensions to create .NET Core projects, as well as Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 today.

Microsoft was not modest in trumpeting the news.

"This is the biggest transformation of .NET since its inception and will define .NET for the next decade. We’ve rebuilt the foundation of .NET to be targeted at the needs of today’s world: highly distributed cloud applications, microservices and containers," wrote Rich Lander, a program manager at Microsoft, on the MSDN blog.

Red Hat had a pretty enthusiastic blog post as well:

"New .NET Core workloads can now be easily moved from a Windows Server environment to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, even if development was primarily done via Windows," the company said.

There are still some holes to be filled, as The Register notes. Only a subset of the .NET Framework is included, essentially for console or web applications. The tooling both for Visual Studio and the command line is still in preview, with full release expected with version 1.1 of .NET Core towards the end of 2016. Visual Basic is not supported for ASP.NET Core, and the SignalR real-time communication framework is not yet done.

One place where .Net Core will be ideal will be for Windows Server 2016 Nano Server, a stripped-down version of the server OS designed for cloud deployments and microservices.

It's also a big change in the icy relationship between Microsoft and Red Hat. Even as Microsoft slowly embraced Linux and open source, there was basically no relationship to be had between Microsoft and Red Hat. It wasn't until November 2015 that the two firms announced a new partnership, which has resulted in support for Red Hat virtual machines in Azure and closer cooperation on .Net, culminating in today’s news.

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