Microsoft today announced the general availability of ASP.NET Core 2.0 and released .NET Core 2.0. The company also pushed out updates to its flagship integrated development environment (IDE): Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3 and Visual Studio 2017 for Mac version 7.1. You can download the latest SDK and tools for both ASP.NET Core 2.0 and NET Core 2.0. from dot.net/core while the latest Visual Studio versions are available on visualstudio.com.
ASP.NET is an open-source server-side web application framework designed building dynamic websites, web applications, and web services. .NET Core is a free, cross-platform, and open-source managed software framework.
ASP.NET Core 2.0 features compatibility with .NET Core 2.0 and tooling support in Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3. Version 2.0 makes building and monitoring web apps easier, improves performance, and supports the new Razor Pages user-interface design paradigm (full release notes). ASP.NET Core 2.0 runs on both .NET Framework 4.6.1 and .NET Core 2.0, so you will need to update your project’s target framework to netcoreapp2.0 if you were previously targeting a 1.x version of .NET Core.
Speaking of which, .NET Core 2.0 includes major improvements that make .NET Core easier to use and much more capable as a platform. Here are the highlights:
- Runtime: Implements .NET Standard 2.0
- Runtime: 6 new platforms supported, including Debian Stretch, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2, and macOS High Sierra.
- Runtime: Red Hat provides full support for .NET Core on RHEL and will be providing a distribution of .NET Core 2.0 very soon.
- SDK: dotnet restore is now an implicit command.
- SDK: .NET Core and .NET Standard projects can reference .NET Framework NuGet packages and projects.
As for Visual Studio 2017, there was a big focus on accessibility (over 1,700 improvements), particularly with the most popular screen readers. There are also fixes for reliability issues related to performance and improvements to specific experiences. Here are the highlights (full release notes):
- Debugging is much more accessible. Debugger windows like the Call Stack, Locals, Autos, and Watch windows were inaccessible to screen readers. That’s now fixed.
- The VS editor’s text adornments let developers know about features available at particular points on a line of code, such as breakpoints, lightbulbs, and error and warning “squiggles.” Customers can now discover and navigate between these adornments via the new “Show Line Annotations” command set, which you can find on the editor context menu.
- A crash that could occur in C# and VB projects when editing linked files, files in Shared Projects, or files used in projects targeting multiple runtimes has been fixed.
- A race condition when debugging C# or VB projects that could cause Visual Studio to crash when ending the debugging session has been fixed.
- A crash in C# or VB projects when malformed metadata is encountered in the code file has been fixed.
- A crash that could occur when compiling a local function in C# has been fixed.
- Added the tools for developing C# Azure Functions to the “Azure development” workload. The main feature change is that this update enables you to create pre-compiled C# Azure Functions, which start faster than script-based functions.
- Broad Azure sign-in support. VS 2017 15.3 also supports logging into not just Azure, but Azure Government and Sovereign cloud offerings, and Azure Stack.
- Improved container support. This release now supports the breadth of container development across existing .NET Framework apps with Windows Containers, to .NET Core with Windows, and Linux Support. Recent additions include support for your .NET Core applications in containers running Nano server, as well as debugging improvements for .NET Framework applications in containers.
- Continuous Delivery Tools now included in the main product. You can configure continuous delivery for ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core projects targeting Azure App Service. This tooling will configure your continuous integration build using Visual Studio Team Services and configure your deployment to Azure App Service. Once configured, you can modify and extend the build and deploy process, customizing it to meet your exact needs.
In short, this is a major release for .NET and a minor one for Visual Studio. ASP.NET Core 2.0 brings new ways to write your applications and simplify some of the operational process of managing a production application, .NET Core 2.0 is the fastest version yet with support across Windows, Mac, and Linux, while the Visual Studio updates support both with a bunch of improvements on top.