Microsoft has released .NET 7, the latest version of its popular development platform which brings a host of new features and capabilities, including increased performance and new functionality for C#11/F#7, .NET MAUI, ASP. NET Core/Blazor, Web API, WinForms, WPF, and for the cloud-native package, the ability to easily containerize .NET apps.
In short, .NET 7 has a little something for just about every type of developer. Microsoft announced .NET 7 at its .NET Conf 2022.
One battery for all kinds of applications
“We’re the only stack you can build on console, web, cloud, mobile, desktop, whatever,” Scott Hunter, vice president of product, Azure Developer Experience at Microsoft, told The New Stack. “The one thing about .NET is that most stacks are great at building server apps or client apps and we build each type of app.”
Additionally, with .NET 7, Microsoft removed friction by bringing .NET for cloud-native workloads with Dockerless flows.
“Containers are becoming the currency of cloud deployment, and we’ve made that much easier with .NET. 7 to deploy your applications in the cloud, without needing to activate or install Docker Desktop on your machine,” Gaurav Seth, product manager for development platforms and languages at Microsoft, told The New Stack . “With a simple CLI command, you can now customize the container, deploy a custom container, etc., and this support works with all container runtimes: Docker, Podman, Containerd, etc.”
And this is available not only from the Command Line Interface (CLI), but Microsoft has provided support in its Visual Studio IDE for this purpose.
“Visual Studio also makes it transparent not only to develop your application, but also to deploy and provision it to various Azure PaaS services such as Azure App Service, Container Apps, etc,” Seth said.
Additionally, with .NET 7, Microsoft makes it easy for developers to configure CI/CD through GitHub Actions with a simple right-click.
“My favorite feature [of .NET 7] is Docker-less support, or Docker Desktop-less, mainly because as the people who build container services in Azure, we have an effort that we call code to cloud to see how well we can make it easy from a developer writing or fixing some of their code to get it up in the cloud? And every time I can remove a layer and a layer and a layer, that makes it even faster,” Hunter said.
To create client applications, developers generally like to have a choice, they select the right stack to create a client application. It comes down to a choice they have to make, and it’s a choice between reach and power. And it’s a sliding scale.
“Depending on the needs of the application, one can choose the right combination that you know, fully web for the greatest reach, and fully native for the power or depth of integration with the operating system, with the device, etc.” Scott said. “In case some people need a bit of both, there are always hybrid client applications. Now .NET supports all of this spectrum.
When it comes to observability features, .NET 7 incorporates Azure App Insights as well as support for the OpenTelemetry framework to allow developers to measure the reliability and performance of their cloud-native .NET 7 application.
Additionally, .NET 7 is the first major release following Microsoft’s announcement of collaboration with Canonical, making .NET 7 available with chiseled Ubuntu containers.
Microsoft recently announced that .NET is now available in the default package stream starting with the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release. The company continues to push the boundaries to ensure that .NET works well on Linux, as a platform.
“Who would have ever thought in 2016 when we started this journey that Red Hat would come and ask us to get in the box? Or Fedora would want us in the box,” Hunter said. “They want .NET in the box. box with Java and Node and Python and Go. I think that’s an amazing change from our .NET closed source from 2002.”
.NET 7 was released in conjunction with several other products, libraries, and platforms, including ASP.NET Core 7, Entity Framework Core 7, .NET MAUI, Windows Forms, WPF, and Orleans 7. And .NET 7 ships with native support for ARM 64.
Orleans is a Microsoft cross-platform software framework that makes .NET a key platform for writing distributed applications for the cloud. “We are making Orléans a central part of the .NET family,” said Seth. “Orleans helps make building distributed applications much more accessible. And several Microsoft services like Halo, Mesh, and Azure already use this technology.
Also, “.NET was this very verbose type of language if you were building an API, you had to write a lot of code, and we reduced the amount of code you had to write,” Hunter said. “It takes what we’ve learned from things like Node.js and Python and makes those kinds of features available to our .NET customers.”
.NET is used by over 5.7 million developers on a monthly basis. It also continues to be one of the most popular frameworks for developers – three years in a ranking in this category in the Stack Overflow Survey of 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The open source community can claim responsibility for several improvements in the new release. .NET 7 has more than 28,000 contributions from more than 10,000 community members, Seth said.
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