What You Need to Know about the .NET Core Upgrade

The original version of .NET Core 1.0 was released on June 27, 2016, but it wasn’t fully mature and ready for mass adoption until recently. The release of .NET 6 on November 8, 2021, was the Long Term Support release we were waiting for to begin implementing the upgrade to .NET Core. The upgrade is a full rewrite of the .NET framework. When there is this large of a code change to a platform, upgrades to the latest version will come with challenges. But the challenges of upgrading are worth it. 

A Boost to Your Development Tech Stack 

.NET Core is the latest technology available for .NET sites. The new framework has been written to make your site more flexible from both a development and feature perspective. Exciting aspects of the new platform include: 

  • Operating system agnostic. As a Microsoft product, .NET has required cloud-hosting to be done using a Windows operating system. .NET Core is compatible with both Linux and Windows operating systems. This means that developers can now use both Mac and Windows for writing and updating code.  
  • More personalized platform. .NET Core allows organizations to have a more personalized website in terms of features. The framework is modular so that you can employ only the features your company needs.  
  • Smaller code footprint. The modular design for .NET Core means that your website has a smaller amount of code. Large code frameworks are digitally bulky and slow down website speed. .NET Core will still support the same functionalities but with less overhead and at faster speeds. 

Get Ready for Some Broken Code 

Code-breaking is inevitable with most site upgrades. But since this one is a complete rewrite, there will be more code-breaking than usual. 

To complete the upgrade, you don’t only have to worry about the code changes for your site but any third-party library you use. Each third-party library your site that uses also needs to complete the upgrade on their end to support .NET Core or .NET Standard. This means that you’ll need to conduct an analysis of your current third-party packages to determine whether there is an upgraded version or if you need to find an alternate option. 

Set Yourself Up for the Smoothest Upgrade Possible 

Microsoft offers tools to make the upgrade easier. Before starting the upgrade, make use of the .NET Portability Analyzer. The .NET Portability Analyzer will scan your code and make you aware of most portability gaps, or areas where you may lose site functionality due to it either not existing anymore or code breaks. It is purely a planning tool since it doesn’t give a complete analysis. 

Next, there’s the .NET Upgrade Assistant. The .NET Upgrade Assistant will complete a large portion of the code upgrade for you. It covers Microsoft products, so any third-party features will need to either be updated by the vendor or manually. 

The complete upgrade will be finished manually through the process of resolving errors, finding more errors, and resolving again until no more errors appear.  

Upgrade or Rewrite? 

As you prepare for your .NET Core upgrade, it’s key to take time and evaluate whether it makes more sense to upgrade or build a new site. We recommend that sites five or more years old rewrite their website. The more you continue to invest in your old site, the more you’ll need to upgrade in the future.  

First, do the upgrade preparation, then decide if you should upgrade or rewrite. What you discover when considering the extensive code updates and where your third-party packages are in their own .NET Core upgrades may help determine which option is best for your organization. 


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