ASP.NET Core Tutorials
In this ASP.NET Core Tutorials series, I will discuss all the basic, intermediate, and advanced concepts of ASP.NET Core (.NET 6). These ASP.NET Core tutorials will help you to build rich data-driven web applications. At the end of these ASP.NET Core Tutorials, you will be better positioned to perform all the CRUD (i.e., Create, Read, Update, and Delete) operations using the SQL Server database. You will learn ASP.NET Core basics, ASP.NET Core Razor Pages, ASP.NET Core MVC, Blazor, Entity Framework Core, and ASP.NET Core Web API.
These ASP.NET Core Tutorials are for whom?
These ASP.NET Core Tutorials are designed for Beginners and Professional Developers who want to learn ASP.NET Core step by step. Here, in these .NET Core Tutorials, we will provide a hands-on approach to the subject with step-by-step program examples that will assist you in learning and putting the acquired knowledge into practice.
ASP.NET Core (.NET):
ASP.NET Core (.NET) is a free, open-source, and cloud-optimized framework that can run on Windows, Linux, or macOS. You can say it is the new version of ASP.NET. The framework is a complete rewrite from scratch to make it open-source, modular, and cross-platform.
-> Web Framework
-> Cloud Optimize
-> Runs on top of the .NET Core and .NET Framework
What is .NET Core?
.NET Core is a new version of the .NET Framework, a free, open-source, general-purpose development platform maintained by Microsoft. It was designed to build modern, high-performance, and scalable applications that could run on Windows, macOS, and Linux. .NET Core aimed to provide a unified platform for developing various applications, including web applications, desktop applications, microservices, and more.
.NET Core is written from scratch to make it a modular, lightweight, fast, and cross-platform framework. It includes the core features required to run a basic .NET Core app. Other features are provided as NuGet Packages, which you can add to your application as needed. In this way, the .NET Core application speeds up the performance, reduces the memory footprint, and becomes easy to maintain.
Key Features and Characteristics of .NET Core:
- Cross-Platform: .NET Core allowed developers to write code once and run it on multiple platforms, making it a versatile choice for building applications that needed to target different operating systems.
- Open Source: The framework was open source, meaning the source code was freely available for developers to view, modify, and contribute to. This encouraged community involvement and collaboration.
- High-performance: .NET Core was optimized for performance and efficiency. It included features like just-in-time (JIT) compilation and the ability to run on lightweight containers, which made it suitable for building fast and efficient applications.
- Modular: .NET Core was designed as a modular framework, allowing developers to include only the libraries and components they needed for their specific application, reducing the overall footprint and improving deployment flexibility.
- Support for Various Workloads: .NET Core supported a wide range of application types, including web applications using ASP.NET Core, cross-platform desktop applications using technologies like Xamarin, and cloud-native microservices using tools like Docker and Kubernetes.
Note: In November 2020, Microsoft announced that .NET 5 would be the next version of .NET Core, unifying the previously separate .NET Core and .NET Framework into a single platform called “.NET 5” and subsequently “.NET 6”, “.NET 7” and so on. This unification aimed to simplify the .NET ecosystem and provide a consistent platform for building various applications.
Why .NET Core Over .NET Framework?
There are some limitations to the .NET Framework. For example, it only runs on the Windows Platform. Also, you need to use different .NET APIs for different Windows devices such as Windows Desktop, Windows Store, Windows Phone, and Web Applications. There are several reasons why you might choose .NET Core over .NET Framework for your application development:
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: .NET Core was designed from the ground up to be cross-platform, allowing you to develop applications that can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux. .NET Framework, on the other hand, was primarily Windows-centric. If you needed your application to work on non-Windows platforms, .NET Core was the better choice.
- Open Source: .NET Core was open source, meaning you can access the source code and contribute to its development. This allows you to customize the framework to suit your needs better. .NET Framework was not open source, limiting your ability to examine or modify its internals.
- Performance and Modernization: .NET Core was optimized for performance and modern development practices. It included features like just-in-time (JIT) compilation, which improved runtime performance, and support for modern application patterns like microservices and containerization. .NET Framework was designed in an earlier era and lacked some of these modern capabilities.
- Modularity: .NET Core was modular, meaning you could include only the libraries and components your application needed. This reduced the overall footprint of your application and allowed for more efficient deployment. .NET Framework included a larger monolithic runtime, making it less flexible in this regard.
- Support for Newer Technologies: .NET Core supported newer technologies and development patterns, such as ASP.NET Core for web development and cross-platform desktop application development with technologies like Xamarin. These technologies were not as well-supported or fully available in the .NET Framework.
- Long-Term Support (LTS): .NET Core introduced the concept of LTS releases, which provided a stable and supported platform for an extended period. This was particularly important for enterprise applications that required long-term stability and security updates. .NET Framework also had LTS versions, but .NET Core’s approach was more flexible and better suited to modern development practices.
- Unified Ecosystem: With the introduction of .NET 5 and later versions, Microsoft unified the .NET ecosystem, merging .NET Core and .NET Framework into a single platform. This simplified the landscape and made it easier for developers to choose the appropriate tools and libraries for their projects.
Microsoft continued encouraging developers to migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core and the subsequent .NET 5+ versions to take advantage of the benefits mentioned above.
.NET Core Characteristics:
Open-Source Framework: .NET Core is an open-source framework maintained by Microsoft and available on GitHub under MIT and Apache 2 Licenses. You can view, download, or contribute to the source code using the following GitHub repositories:
.NET Core Runtime: https://github.com/dotnet/runtime
.NET Core SDK: https://github.com/dotnet/sdk
ASP.NET Core: https://github.com/dotnet/aspnetcore
Language Compiler Platform Roslyn: https://github.com/dotnet/roslyn
Cross-Platform: .NET Core runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems. There is a different runtime for each operating system that executes the code and generates the same output.
Consistent Across Architecture: Execute the code with the same behavior in different instruction set architectures, including x64, x86, and ARM.
Wide Range of Applications: Various applications can be developed and run on .NET Core platforms such as Console, Desktop, Web, Mobile, Cloud, IoT, ML, Microservices, Gaming, etc…
Support Multiple Languages: You can use C#, F#, and Visual Basic programming to develop .NET Core applications. You can use your favorite IDE, including Visual Studio 2017/2019, Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Vim, etc…
Modular Architecture: .NET Core supports a modular architecture approach using NuGet Packages. Different NuGet Packages are available for various features that can be added to the .NET Core project. Even though the .NET Core library is provided as a NuGet Package, in this way, the .NET Core application speeds up the performance, reduces the memory footprint, and becomes easy to maintain.
CLI Tools: .NET Core includes CLI tools (Command Line Interface) for development and continuous integration.
Flexible Deployment: .NET Core applications can be deployed user-wide or system-wide or with Docker Containers.
Compatibility: Compatible with .NET Framework and Mono APIs using .NET Standard Specification.
Developer(s): .NET Foundation
Initial Release: .NET Core 1.0 – 27th June 2016
Stable Release: .NET 7
Preview Release: .NET 8
Written: C++ and C#
Operating System: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Type: Software Framework
.NET Core Versions:
A new major release of .NET is published every year in November, enabling developers, the community, and businesses to plan their roadmaps. Even numbered releases are LTS releases with free support and patches for three years. Odd-numbered releases are STS releases with free support and patches for 18 months.
.NET Core has evolved over various versions, with each version introducing new features, improvements, and changes. Here are some notable features introduced in each major version of .NET Core:
.NET Core 1.0 (Initial Release – June 2016):
- Initial release of .NET Core.
- Cross-platform support (Windows, macOS, and Linux).
- Introduction of the Command-Line Interface (CLI) tools.
- CoreCLR (Core Common Language Runtime), the cross-platform CLR.
- CoreFX, the foundational libraries.
- Support for ASP.NET Core for web applications.
- NuGet package manager for dependency management.
.NET Core 1.1 (November 2016):
- Performance improvements and bug fixes.
- Enhanced compatibility with .NET Framework libraries.
- More APIs were added to increase compatibility with the .NET Framework.
- Azure support enhancements.
- Entity Framework Core 1.1 included improvements and new features.
.NET Core 2.0 (August 2017):
- Introduction of .NET Standard 2.0 for uniform API specification.
- Enhanced tooling for Visual Studio.
- Major performance improvements.
- Expanded OS support and increased compatibility with .NET Framework.
- Visual Basic support was added.
- Introduction of Razor Pages in ASP.NET Core for page-based coding model.
.NET Core 2.1 (May 2018):
- Span<T> and Memory<T> for performance improvements in buffer management.
- Improved support for Linux containers.
- SignalR for real-time web functionality.
- Improved build performance and runtime compilation.
- Global tools for extending the CLI.
- GDPR compliance features in ASP.NET Core.
.NET Core 2.2 (December 2018):
- HTTP/2 support in ASP.NET Core.
- Improved gRPC support.
- Enhanced diagnostic tools.
- Health Checks API for application health monitoring.
- Improved HTTP request routing.
- A new JIT compiler, a tiered compilation, which improves startup time.
.NET Core 3.0 (September 2019):
- Support for Windows Desktop Applications (WPF and Windows Forms).
- Introduction of C# 8.0.
- Performance improvements across the board.
- Support for IoT and AI workloads.
- Introduction of gRPC in ASP.NET Core.
.NET Core 3.1 (December 2019):
- LTS (Long-Term Support) release.
- Focus on stability and bug fixes.
- Enhanced performance and support for cloud-native applications.
- Blazor Server for building interactive web UIs using C#.
- Improved performance for JSON serialization and deserialization.
- Improved support for Azure Functions and Azure App Service.
.NET 5 (November 2020):
- .NET Core and .NET Framework were merged into a unified platform called “.NET 5.”. Microsoft dropped the “Core” branding from .NET 5 onward to unify the .NET platforms.
- Support for ARM64 architecture.
- Improved support for containers and cloud-native development.
- Improved single-file applications.
- Better performance improvements, including garbage collection and System.Text.Json.
- C# 9.0 with records, pattern-matching enhancements, and top-level programs.
- F# 5.0 with interactive programming and a performance boost.
- Blazor WebAssembly for full-stack web development with .NET.
.NET 6 (November 2021):
- Introduction of MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) for cross-platform app development.
- Support for HTTP/3.
- Unified platform for all .NET code.
- Long-term support (LTS) release.
- C# 10 and F# 6 with new features and enhancements.
- Minimal API for simplified and clean API endpoints in ASP.NET Core.
- Blazor Desktop, allowing Blazor components to run in desktop apps.
- Hot reload capabilities for .NET apps across different application types.
- AOT compilation for improved startup and support for Apple Silicon (M1).
These are key features introduced in each version of .NET Core and the subsequent unified .NET platform. It’s important to note that the .NET ecosystem continues to evolve, with new features and improvements regularly added in subsequent versions beyond .NET 6.
.NET Core Composition:
The .NET Core Framework is composed of the following parts:
- CLI Tools: A set of tooling for development and deployment.
- Roslyn: .NET Compiler Platform.
- CoreFx: A Set of framework libraries.
- CoreCLR: A JIT-based CLR (Common Language Runtime). CoreCLR is the .NET execution engine in .NET Core, performing garbage collection and machine code compilation functions.
- Language Support: .NET Core supports languages such as C#, F#, or Visual Basic in which you can write your .NET Core applications.
What Type of Application Can You Develop with ASP.NET Core?
- Web: ASP.NET Core MVC, Web API, Razor Pages, and Microservices
- Desktop Applications (Starting from 3.0)
- Gaming Applications
- Cloud Applications
Application Types: We will discuss the following as part of this course.
- ASP.NET Core with Razor Pages
- ASP.NET Core with MVC (ASP.NET Core MVC or Core MVC or MVC Core)
- ASP.NET Core with WEB API (ASP.NET Core Web API or Core Web API or Web API Core)
- ASP.NET Core with Angular (Single Page Application)
- ASP.NET Core with React JS (Single Page Application)
- ASP.NET Core with React JS & Redux (Single Page Application)
Note: In any of the listed application types, we may use traditional ADO.NET or Entity Framework Core ORM Tool for developing the database-centric application.
.NET Core Job Opportunities
.NET Core, now part of the unified .NET platform (including .NET 5, .NET 6, etc.), offers a wide range of job opportunities for developers and professionals with expertise in this technology stack. Here are some common job roles and opportunities related to .NET Core:
- Software Developer/Engineer: As a .NET Core developer, you can work on building a variety of applications, such as web applications, desktop applications, mobile apps (using Xamarin), and microservices. These roles involve designing, coding, testing, and maintaining software solutions.
- ASP.NET Core Developer: ASP.NET Core is a popular framework for building web applications and APIs. Many job opportunities are available for developers with expertise in ASP.NET Core to create and maintain web applications and RESTful services.
- Full-Stack Developer: Full-stack developers are responsible for both front-end and back-end development. You can pursue full-stack development roles if you have skills in .NET Core on the server side and modern front-end technologies like React, Angular, or Vue.js.
- Cloud Developer: Cloud-native development with .NET Core is in demand, especially for deploying applications on cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform. Cloud developers specialize in developing and deploying applications in a cloud environment.
- DevOps Engineer: DevOps engineers with .NET Core experience play a crucial role in automating the deployment and management of .NET Core applications. They work on CI/CD pipelines, infrastructure as code, and containerization using technologies like Docker and Kubernetes.
- Solution Architect: Solution architects design the overall architecture of software systems. If you deeply understand .NET Core and its ecosystem, you can pursue roles as a solution architect, helping organizations make technology decisions and design scalable and maintainable solutions.
- QA Engineer/Test Automation Engineer: Quality assurance professionals with .NET Core skills can work on writing automated tests, ensuring the reliability and quality of .NET Core applications. Familiarity with testing frameworks like NUnit or xUnit is beneficial.
- Technical Lead/Engineering Manager: Experienced .NET Core developers can advance into leadership roles, such as technical leads or engineering managers, where they guide development teams, make architectural decisions, and ensure project success.
- Freelancer/Consultant: Another option is freelancing or consulting as a .NET Core expert. You can offer services to multiple clients or organizations for specific projects or guidance.
- Education and Training: If you have a deep understanding of .NET Core, you can explore opportunities in education and training, including teaching, writing tutorials, or creating online courses for other developers.
Prerequisites to Learn ASP.NET Core
ASP.NET Core is a cross-platform, high-performance, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-based, Internet-connected applications. Before you dive into learning ASP.NET Core, it would be beneficial to have a good grasp on the following prerequisites:
- C# Programming: Proficiency in C# is crucial since ASP.NET Core is built on it. You should be comfortable with concepts like variables, loops, conditionals, classes and objects, inheritance, interfaces, delegates, events, exceptions, and asynchronous programming.
- Basic Web Development Concepts: Understanding how the web works, including knowledge of HTTP/HTTPS, client-server architecture, REST, web servers, and web browsers.
- MVC (Model-View-Controller) Pattern: Since ASP.NET Core follows the MVC architectural pattern, understanding how it separates the application into three main components will help you structure your applications efficiently.
- .NET Core Fundamentals: Knowledge of the .NET Core framework, including its CLI and how it differs from the .NET Framework. Understanding the basics of the Common Language Runtime (CLR), Base Class Library (BCL), and .NET SDK is beneficial.
- Dependency Injection (DI): ASP.NET Core has built-in support for DI, a design pattern that ASP.NET Core heavily relies on. Understanding DI will help you manage dependencies throughout your application effectively.
- Entity Framework Core: This is the recommended ORM (Object-Relational Mapper) for working with databases in ASP.NET Core. Knowledge of LINQ is also beneficial for querying databases.
- RESTful APIs: Experience with RESTful service conventions is essential for building and consuming APIs in ASP.NET Core.
- JSON/XML Data Formats: Familiarity with JSON and XML, commonly used data interchange formats in web applications.
- Version Control: Basic knowledge of version control with Git or other version control systems is essential for modern software development practices.
- Software Design Principles: Understanding software design principles such as SOLID, DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself), and KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) can be very useful in building maintainable and scalable applications.
- Authentication and Authorization: How to implement security in web applications, including using OAuth, OpenID Connect, and JSON Web Tokens (JWT), is important for creating secure web applications.
- Unit Testing: Familiarity with unit testing frameworks like xUnit, NUnit, or MSTest, as testing is integral to developing robust applications.
- Client-Side Frameworks: While not required, knowledge of client-side frameworks like Angular, React, or Vue.js can be beneficial if you build a web application with a rich front end.
- Hosting and Deployment: Basic knowledge of hosting and deployment options, particularly for .NET applications, including IIS, Kestrel, Docker, and cloud platforms like Azure.
Once you understand these concepts well, you’ll be well-equipped to start learning ASP.NET Core and build applications using this framework.
Note: If we missed any topics in this ASP.NET Core Course, then please let us know by giving a comment in the Comment Box, and we promise as soon as possible, we will publish articles on that topic.
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