Navigating the .NET Ecosystem: Understanding the Naming Schema

Updated September 18, 2023

The world of .NET development can be a bewildering landscape, especially for newcomers. With terms like .NET, .NET Standard, .NET Framework, .NET Core, ASP.NET, and ASP.NET Core thrown around, it's easy to get lost in the jargon.

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First, let's clarify what each of these terms represents:

  • .NET: This is the overarching platform that encompasses all the other variations. It's like the parent of the .NET family.
  • .NET Standard: Think of this as a set of common APIs that various .NET implementations should support. It's a way to ensure code portability across different platforms.
  • .NET Framework: This is the traditional Windows-only version of .NET. It's been around for a while and is mainly used for Windows desktop applications.
  • .NET Core: This was a cross-platform, open-source .NET implementation that enabled developers to create web, desktop and mobile applications using a common class library.
  • ASP.NET: This is the traditional framework based on the .NET Framework that was used to develop web applications.
  • ASP.NET Core: It's the successor to ASP.NET and is part of .NET Core.
  • .NET 5 and Beyond: .NET Core and ASP.NET Core have merged into this single platform, with regular updates (e.g., .NET 6, .NET 7).

So, which one should you use? It depends on your project's requirements. If you're developing a Windows desktop app, .NET Framework might be suitable. For cross-platform applications, .NET 5 or later is the way to go.

By understanding this naming schema, you can make informed decisions about which .NET version fits your needs, setting you on the path to becoming a proficient .NET developer.

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