Clarification on development framework in .NET

This always confuses me. Here is the summary;

  • .NET Framework – the original .NET, the one that ships on Windows and only on Windows; the current (and probably final) version of .NET Framework is 4.8
  • .NET Core – the evolution of .NET, that is not tied to the OS as much, with slightly different feature sets, and where most of the Microsoft .NET effort has been for the last few years; .NET Core 3.1 shipped recently
  • .NET Standard – an API definition (not implementation – akin to an interface) that allows a library to target a range of platforms in a single build, i.e. by targeting .NET Standard 2.0 a library can in theory run equivalently on .NET Core 3 and .NET Framework 4.6.2 (ish…) and others (Mono, Unity, etc), without needing to target each individually
  • .NET 5 – the next version of .NET Core; the naming deliberately emphasizes that there isn’t a two-pronged development future consisting of “Framework” and “Core”, but just one – this one – which isn’t “Core” in the “minimal” sense, but is in fact now a very rich and powerful runtime; .NET 4 was avoided to prevent versioning confusion between .NET 4.* and .NET Framework 4.* (and again, to emphasize that this is the future direction of .NET, including if you are currently on .NET Framework)

Best practices for designing REST API

A reference list of best practices;

Sharing libraries between .Net Core and .Net Framework applications

I was trying to reference a DLL targeting FW 4.6 in a host application targeting .NET Core 2.1. I started getting this error;

This is where I started to wonder, What’s the difference? How they can co-exist? How the host application can use them?

Microsoft recommend to target .NET Standard 2.0 when building reusable libraries, unless you need to support an earlier version. Most general-purpose libraries should not need APIs outside of .NET Standard 2.0. .NET Standard 2.0 is supported by all modern platforms and is the recommended way to support multiple platforms with one target.

.NET Core 2.1 and later versions support .NET Standard 2.0 and earlier versions.

There will be no new .NET Standard versions after 2.1. For more information, see .NET 5 and .NET Standard later in this article.

.NET Standard libraries and Visual Studio
In order to build .NET Standard libraries in Visual Studio, make sure you have Visual Studio 2019 or Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3 or later installed on Windows, or Visual Studio for Mac version 7.1 or later installed on macOS.

Start from here

Read about .NET standard here

A good explanation about libraries


Visual Studio licensing and pricing

There are two models. Subscription based and Volume licensing program; The subscription-based pricing is on Microsoft web site;

Professional = $45 per month

Enterprise = $250 per month

Microsoft has partners that might be able to help you in lowering subscription pricing by applying discounts that are not available to general public. In one instance I have been offered Enterprise edition @2,500/year for 5 developers.

Estimated pricing for volume licensing program (5 developers);

This program has one-time payment. This is a perpetual license and if software assurance is involved, you are eligible to get newer version. MSDN subscriptions are usually valid for two years. MSDN renewal is a recurring expense and cost about 20-30% of software cost.

Here is the breakdown;


The minimum limit here is 5 because there is no MSDN subscription.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 Professional – License – 1 User – Microsoft Open License – Single Language – PC

$496.57 x 5 = $2,482.85

Professional with MSDN

Microsoft Visual Studio Professional Edition with MSDN – License & Software Assurance – 1 User – Microsoft Qualified – Microsoft Open Business – All Languages – PC

$1,080.87 x 5 = $5,404.35

Enterprise with MSDN

Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise With MSDN – License & Software Assurance – 1 User – Volume, Microsoft Qualified – All Languages – PC

$8,638.64 x 5 = 43,193.20

If budget is a constraint and wanted software assurance then I will suggest to go for Professional with MSDN. You can pick whatever suits you.

There are 3rd party vendors offer lower rates but not sure how that will work out. Here is one.