Microsoft has recently released .NET Framework 6 Preview 1. While the release has been awaited by many, this is still a teaser as the current stable release is expected to be in November 2021.
Microsoft has been working on this release for a few months now, as it is an entirely different version from .NET Framework 5.
If you are running Windows 10 version 1809 or higher, you will probably have .NET Framework 4.8. You can manually upgrade to .NET Framework 6 Preview 1 using the download links provided below. However, we do not recommend upgrading devices that are in a production/live environment, as this release could still be unstable.
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Let’s explore what this anticipated update is for .NET has to offer.
New features and improvements in .NET Framework 6 Preview 1
Let us explore what significant changes .NET 6 has, and how far along it has come from .NET 5:
A more unified experience
Microsoft is combining Android, iOS, and macOS capabilities that are a part of Xamarin in this new .NET 6. They are also extending the abilities of Blazor into a new hybrid application by combining web and native User Interface (UI) together. This can be used for both desktop and mobile scenarios.
Ability to make Android as well as iOS applications using .NET SDK will stand, but mobile workloads will now be an optional component. Hence, it will be relatively smaller in size.
Blazor app extension
After receiving a lot of positive feedback, Microsoft has decided to expand its support for the Blazor app.
Blazor is an application programming model that can execute in multiple ways. After supporting Blazor on the server and the browser with WebAssembly, Microsoft is now expanding it to write Blazor desktop applications, which will run natively.
.NET Multi-platform App UI
After receiving some feedback, Microsoft has introduced a more modern and consistent application “.NET Multi-platform App UI” which is a kind of extension built on top of Xamarin. This allows users to create applications that are in contrast with the platform they are creating them for.
Currently, it is only supported for Android and iOS. But Microsoft plans to expand it to Windows and macOS with future releases.
Faster build compilation and execution
Fast iterative development is the hallmark of any delightful and productive development platform.Microsoft
Microsoft is working on enhancing the performance of .NET where the first part of their “Fast inner loop” involves the build running significantly faster. Another thing they are incorporating is the ability to make changes to the code during a live process by skipping a build altogether.
Enhanced performance on ARM64 devices
Another key objective for Microsoft is to enhance .NET performance on ARM64 devices. They have also made improvements in the recent releases of .NET 5 and plan on doing so with the future .NET 6 releases as well.
Microsoft has already started to implement several projects to improve containers in .NET 6. The container size in .NET 6 will be significantly decreased with improved scaling capabilities. Moreover, they plan on increasing startup and throughput performance using ready-to-run version bubbles and modern vector instructions by default.
Microsoft also plans to enable large page support, but it is currently a work in progress.
The containers in .NET 6 will be based on Alpine 3.13, Debian 11, and Ubuntu 20.04.
Microsoft plans to support .NET 6 for the next 3 years after it has been released officially. This is part of the Long Term Support (LTS) release.
Moreover, since Apple has stricter requirements for its chipsets, it requires Universal Binaries for apps that are only published through the Mac app store, which currently .NET 6 does not support. Therefore, Microsoft is not publishing universal binaries for this release.
To read in-depth about what new things .NET 6 Preview 1 brings, visit their announcement page.
Here is a list of issues Microsoft is currently aware of, which they believe will be rectified as new previews are released:
- JIT can fail to generate stack clear code for large stack allocations since the Apple Silicon page size is only 16K.
- x64 devices are still not entirely reliable:
- A small number of tests are failing GC Stress testing.
- A small number of tests exhibit intermittent failures.
- Continuous Integration (CI) testing is not enabled so test analysis is from manual testing only.
- Emulated and native .NET versions have yet to be tested together on Apple Silicon.
.tar.gz.packages are reported as malicious software, even though they are not.
Supported Operating Systems/Requirements
.NET Framework can’t be installed on all Windows Operating Systems but only a handful of Windows 10 versions are supported. This is because it is only compatible with Visual Studio 2019 16.8 Preview 4 and above. Since the mentioned Visual Studio 2019 is only compatible with the following Operating Systems, the .NET Framework 6 Preview 1 also only supports the following variants of Windows and Server:
- Windows 10 version 1703 or higher. Editions: Home, Professional, Education, and Enterprise (LTSC and S are not supported)
- Windows Server 2019. Editions: Standard and Datacenter
- Windows Server 2016. Editions: Standard and Datacenter
- Windows 8.1 (with Update KB2919355). Editions: Core, Professional, and Enterprise
- Windows Server 2012 R2 (with Update KB2919355). Editions: Essentials, Standard, Datacenter
- Windows 7 SP1 (with latest Windows Updates) Editions: Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate
Moreover, MSI packages are also available for x86, x64, ARM64, macOS, and Linux systems.
Download .NET Framework 6 Preview 1
Use the direct download links below to download the .NET Framework 6 Preview 1 Runtime and SDKs, according to your Operating System and architecture:
More download and install options here.
Installing .NET Framework 6 Preview 1
Now that you have downloaded the respective installation package, you can begin to install it. The installation of the .NET Framework 6 Preview 1 is very simple. Download the .exe file from the links provided above and execute it for installation.
Once you have installed it, all your applications will run using the new build as the previous version will be replaced.
- Run the installation package by double-clicking it (in the case of macOS and Windows), and then clicking Install on the installation wizard.
- The installation will now begin. It does not take much time nor does it require a restart. Click Close once it has been installed successfully.
You have now installed the .NET Framework 6 Preview 1 successfully. You may check which .NET version is running by typing in the following command in Command Prompt:
wmic product get description | findstr /C:.NET
We recommend that if you use .NET Framework to develop your applications, you are updated to the latest version right now. However, since this is a preview release, we do not recommend installing it in a production/live environment, but rather a test machine or a VM.
If you want to download ASP.NET Core Runtime 6 Preview 1, use the links below: