Microsoft’s next version of the .Net software development framework will be .Net 5, and it will be the only branch of .Net going forward. There will be no more separate releases of .Net Framework and .Net Core.
Due in November 2020, .Net 5 will follow the release of open source .Net Core 3.0, which is currently in a beta release stage and due to be generally available in September 2019. Like .Net Core, .Net 5 will work on Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, tvOS, watchOS, WebAssembly, and more.
From the start .Net Core has been a multi-platform version of .Net, whereas the original .Net Framework runs only on Windows. Now that .Net Core 3.0 has closed much of the capability gap with .Net Framework 4.8, .Net 5 becomes the next step forward from .Net Core. Code and project files will look and feel the same, and there will be access to the same runtime, API, and language capabilities.
The goals of .Net 5 include:
- Producing a single .Net runtime and framework that has uniform developer experiences and runtime behaviors.
- Expand .Net capabilities by combining the best of .Net Core, .Net Framework, Xamarin, and Mono.
- A single codebase that developers can work on and expand together.
Microsoft said that .Net 5 will continue to be open source, cross-platform, and tightly integrated with the Visual Studio IDE and the Visual Studio Code editor. The framework also will offer Java interoperability on all platforms supported by .Net 5 as well as Objective-C and Swift interoperability on multiple operating systems.
A major version of .Net is planned for each November. Microsoft is skipping the version 4 designation because that could be confused with .Net Framework 4.x. All .Net 5 applications will use the CoreFX framework, which currently has foundational class libraries for .Net Core.
The single, unified .Net implementation will require answering important questions, Microsoft noted. The questions the company is considering include:
- Will NuGet compatibility rules stay the same?
- Which workloads will be supported out of the box by the .Net 5 SDK?
- Is .Net Standard still needed?
Microsoft will share .Net 5 design documents with the community and seek feedback. Microsoft pledges that .Net will become simpler, but with broader capabilities. The same .Net APIs and languages will target a broad range of application types, operating systems, and chip architectures. Microsoft promises easy changes to build configurations as well.