Microsoft Releases Performance-Enhanced .NET Core 2.1

Developers can now get more programming tasks done in less time with the official release of .NET Core 2.1.

Microsoft

Microsoft's .NET Core 3 won't arrive until 2019, but in the meantime, the company is making the wait a little more bearable for developers who rely on the framework by rolling out new performance tweaks and expanded functionality.

Microsoft on May 30 released version 2.1 of .NET Core, the software giant's open-source, cross-platform implementation of the .NET framework. .NET Core is supported on Windows, Mac and several popular Linux distributions.

In an announcement blog, Microsoft Program Manager Rich Lander said his group focused on slashing the time it takes .NET Core to complete various tasks, particularly incremental builds. In a before-and-after comparison, Lander showed how an incremental build of a large project shrank from 107 seconds in version 2.0 to a mere 10.1 seconds in version 2.1.

Users may also notice a snappier experience overall, courtesy of new runtime performance improvements, added Lander. In terms of networking performance, the new SocketsHttpHandler event handler is not only more efficient, it behaves more consistently across operating systems, he said.

The process of installing .NET Core tools now bears a striking similarity to the NPM package manager experience used to share JavaScript code. ".NET Core tools are .NET Core console apps that are packaged and acquired as NuGet packages," Lander explained.

"By default, these tools are framework-dependent applications and include all of their NuGet dependencies," he continued. "This means that .NET Core tools run on all .NET Core supported operating system[s] and chip architecture[s] by default, with one set of binaries."

A burgeoning .NET Core tools ecosystem has already cropped up on GitHub. Microsoft expects more tools to follow as more developers contribute their own code.

Other new additions include the new memory-efficient Span<T> type, new cryptography APIs and support for Brotli Compression, a lossless compression algorithm. A complete list of changes is available in the .NET Core 2.1 release notes.

ASP.NET Core 2.1 Arrives with SignalR for Real-Time Apps

Microsoft also released ASP.NET Core 2.1, the open-source web framework for .NET, now featuring the SignalR library.

SignalR enables developers to add real-time data functionality to their applications. It can be used to create dashboards, virtual collaboration spaces and other application experiences that require continual updates. Enabling server-to-client remote procedure calls (RPC), SignalR provides automatic connection management, allows the sending of messages to specific clients or client groups, or can be used to broadcast to all connected clients.

In a security-enhancing move, HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is now enabled by default. Microsoft recommends that web app developers use the protocol, which encrypts data between a browser and a website, to safeguard the potentially sensitive information that is often transferred between them.

Microsoft isn't the only giant IT company pushing the industry toward HTTPS.

In July, the market-leading Google Chrome browser will begin labeling plain HTTP (minus the "S") sites as insecure, a warning to users that their traffic may be at risk of snooping. Meanwhile, Facebook is using HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) preloading to send its users to the HTTPS version of a link when an HTTP-formatted link is posted to the social network.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...