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.NET vs .NET Core: What are the differences?

What is .NET? A free, cross-platform, open source developer platform for building many different types of applications. .NET is a general purpose development platform. With .NET, you can use multiple languages, editors, and libraries to build native applications for web, mobile, desktop, gaming, and IoT for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and more.

What is .NET Core? An Open Source, General-Purpose Development Platform Maintained by Microsoft and the .NET Community. Cross-platform (supporting Windows, macOS, and Linux) and can be used to build device, cloud, and IoT applications.

.NET and .NET Core can be primarily classified as "Frameworks (Full Stack)" tools.

Some of the features offered by .NET are:

  • Multiple languages: You can write .NET apps in C#, F#, or Visual Basic.
  • Cross Platform: Whether you're working in C#, F#, or Visual Basic, your code will run natively on any compatible OS.
  • Consistent API & Libraries: To extend functionality, Microsoft and others maintain a healthy package ecosystem built on .NET Standard.

On the other hand, .NET Core provides the following key features:

  • Cross-platform
  • Consistent across architectures
  • Command-line tools

"Tight integration with visual studio" is the primary reason why developers consider .NET over the competitors, whereas "Great performance" was stated as the key factor in picking .NET Core.

.NET and .NET Core are both open source tools. It seems that .NET Core with 11.2K GitHub stars and 2.41K forks on GitHub has more adoption than .NET with 11.2K GitHub stars and 2.41K GitHub forks.

Stack Exchange, Microsoft, and Starbucks are some of the popular companies that use .NET, whereas .NET Core is used by Catchpoint Systems, Bluebeam Software, and Kaggle. .NET has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1566 company stacks & 239 developers stacks; compared to .NET Core, which is listed in 54 company stacks and 71 developer stacks.

What is .NET?

.NET is a general purpose development platform. With .NET, you can use multiple languages, editors, and libraries to build native applications for web, mobile, desktop, gaming, and IoT for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and more.

What is .NET Core?

Cross-platform (supporting Windows, macOS, and Linux) and can be used to build device, cloud, and IoT applications.
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    What are some alternatives to .NET and .NET Core?
    Node.js
    Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.
    ASP.NET
    .NET is a developer platform made up of tools, programming languages, and libraries for building many different types of applications.
    Rails
    Rails is a web-application framework that includes everything needed to create database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern.
    Django
    Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.
    Laravel
    It is a web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax. It attempts to take the pain out of development by easing common tasks used in the majority of web projects, such as authentication, routing, sessions, and caching.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about .NET and .NET Core
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    How developers use .NET and .NET Core
    Avatar of Brillium, Inc.
    Brillium, Inc. uses .NET.NET

    Microsoft has done an incredible job of keeping the .NET Framework powerful and stable. It is well designed and keeps getting more robust with each release. It isn't the most popular technology in this space, but I think a good case can be made to use .NET in many new projects.

    Avatar of Foundbite
    Foundbite uses .NET.NET

    As we started on Windows Phone we use C# and .NET for most of our apps and sites. Being a small team of 2, using .NET enables us to work on each part of the service without having to switch to different languages.

    Avatar of Daniel Kovacs
    Daniel Kovacs uses .NET.NET

    I use .NET alongside with C# since my university studies, and I really enjoy it. Especially .NET Core, which is the best thing that happened to Microsoft since... ever.

    Avatar of Yue Wang
    Yue Wang uses .NET.NET

    Server side development language and frameworks: ASP.Net MVC 4, Asp.Net WebApi 2, Razor View engine, Moq, Entity Frameworks, etc.

    Avatar of Twincore Systems
    Twincore Systems uses .NET.NET

    TwinCore creates modern web and cloud applications based on .NET TwinCore supports legacy .NET applications

    How much does .NET cost?
    How much does .NET Core cost?
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