.NET version history — recap

Abdul Azeez
4 min readAug 15, 2023

When discussing the compatibility, vulnerabilities, and end-of-support for different versions of .NET, it can be confusing to determine which version to use for development and whether or not an upgrade or migration is necessary. This article provides a quick overview of how .NET has evolved from its base version to the current version, .NET 8. Let’s get started!

.NET Framework

Yes, that’s correct! If you were using Visual Studio for development with C# or VB.NET in the early 2000s, you would have started with the initial version of .NET, which was .NET Framework 1.0. Since then, Microsoft has added new features to each version, and the current version of .NET Framework is 4.8.1 as of August 14th. There have been roughly 17 releases since the initial release, which is quite impressive!

When developing applications using the .NET Framework, you are targeting the Windows operating system environment only, not open-source platforms. Microsoft has made it easy by bundling supported versions of the .NET Framework as part of the Windows OS installer. This means that the framework is installed as part of the OS installation process, and there is no need to install it separately on Windows servers or development machines. For example, .NET Framework 4.7.2 is installed as part of Windows Server 2019.

.NET Framework version history

.NET Core

The emergence of open-source platforms since the early 2000s, along with the introduction of cloud platforms, has made it more widely accepted for applications to work on any platform. Microsoft also began early research on cross-platform solutions and IDEs such as Mono and GNOME. In 2016, Microsoft released its first stable cross-platform solution, .NET Core 1. This means that you can deploy your website implemented in .NET Core to Linux or Mac servers. Like the .NET Framework, Microsoft introduced new features in its upcoming .NET Core versions and reached .NET Core 3.1.

.NET Core version history

.NET (successor of .NET core and .NET framework)

Sometimes, the name “.NET” can be confusing, as it may be unclear whether it is a successor to .NET Core or .NET Framework. However, Microsoft has made it easy for us by removing the words “Core” and “Framework” from the name, so it is now simply “.NET”. This means that .NET is the successor to both .NET Core and .NET Framework. In other words, .NET is a unified, cross-platform solution for future applications that are implemented on the Microsoft platform. The initial version of .NET was 5.0, and it has since evolved to .NET 9.0.

Which .NET version use for application development

.NET — If you’re implementing a brand new solution that needs to be deployed on multiple platforms, then .NET is the best solution. Microsoft has stopped future releases of the .NET Framework, and all new features and security updates will be implemented in .NET. This means that if you want to take advantage of the latest features and security updates, it’s a good idea to use .NET for your development.

.NET Framework — It’s not urgent to migrate .NET Framework applications to .NET, but it’s something to consider. Support for .NET Framework 4.6.2 has stopped as of August 2023, but you can still upgrade to a higher version of the .NET Framework — 4.8.2. However, you will miss out on any new features introduced by Microsoft in .NET. Another challenge of migration is assessing the compatibility of dependent DLLs, such as NuGet packages, and making sure they have compatible versions in .NET. It’s important to carefully evaluate your application and its dependencies before deciding whether or not to migrate to .NET.

.NET Standard — .NET Standard is Microsoft’s solution to support both the .NET Framework and .NET Core, as well as .NET. This makes it easier to migrate from the .NET Framework to .NET. .NET Standard is a set of APIs that are common to all .NET implementations, allowing developers to write code that can be shared across multiple platforms. This means that you can write code once and use it on any platform that supports .NET Standard, making it easier to migrate your application from the .NET Framework to .NET.


This article is to cover .NET version history and differentiate between .NET,.NET Framework and .NET Core. Hope you enjoyed this reading and please comment your feedback. Thanks,