Back of the .NET: Microsoft chooses Xbox day to unveil a slew of dev-luring products

.NET 5, new Visual Studio, F# updates and more

Cross platform open source .NET 5.0 has hit general availability and been joined by new versions of C#, F# and the first preview of Visual Studio 16.9.

After spending the best part of a year in multiple previews, .NET 5 was unveiled during .NET Conf 2020 this week.

Straddling Windows, macOS and Linux and covering x64, x86, Arm32 and Arm64 architectures, the update is a worthy and relatively straightforward upgrade from previous .NET Core versions, although less simple for those tasked with supporting applications written with the legacy Windows-only .NET Framework applications.

As well as extra toys and some new architectures (not least the long-awaited arrival of Windows Arm64 support in .NET 5, which came as a relief to anyone that had spent big on Microsoft's Surface Pro X) Microsoft also trumpeted some impressive performance gains over .NET Core 3.1 and the legacy .NET Framework 4.8.

Those seeking support longevity may wish to hang on a little longer; .NET 5.0 will only see support until three months after the release of .NET 6.0. Things will therefore come to an end at around February 2022. .NET 6.0, on the other hand, will be an LTS release and see three years of support.

The general availability milestone was marked with other new releases: C# 9, version 5 of the Entity Framework and F# 5, which has introduced string interpolation features to the language among other handy tweaks.

Notes for Editors

Microsoft also pushed out new versions of its IDEs. Visual Studio for Mac 8.8 arrived, as did 16.8 and the first preview of version 16.9 of the venerable Windows development suite.

.NET 5 support cast a long shadow over the Mac version, as one would expect, although debugging of Blazor WebAssembly apps and a preview of Xamarin.Forms 5.0 support are welcome arrivals.

Visual Studio 16.8, with Git now the default for version control, debuted with C++ and XAML improvements as well a performance boost for the .NET 5 Windows Forms designer. However, the arrival of the first preview of version 16.9 hinted at things to come, including more Git enhancements and .NET Core debugging in the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (although only Ubuntu and Debian have been tested so far.) 16.9 will also be the fourth "servicing baseline", meaning a far longer support period than 16.8.

Uno and AWS

Third parties were quick to hop aboard the .NET 5 bandwagon. Open source cross-platform UI outfit Uno trumpeted preview support for .NET 5 and .NET 5 WebAssembly, opening up a path for Uno Platform apps to use some of the new toys and performance boosts on offer.

Arch-rival in the cloud space, AWS, was also keen to "share in the excitement for the GA release of .NET 5" before modestly pointing out that it was "the only major cloud provider that enables .NET 5 an ARM64 architecture option today." ®

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