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Top 20 .NET 8 Features You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 16


In the continuously evolving software development arena, the Microsoft .Net Framework has always been a pioneer among the most dominant and popular development platforms. .NET not only reduces app development time but also provides numerous inbuilt tools for application development. Over the years, Microsoft has developed several iterations of the. NET framework, each targeted at improving the framework’s capabilities.


With dotnet 8 launching, the latest version of the framework comes with many new features and advancements. NET 8 builds on and enhances the individual capabilities of the .NET Framework and .NET Core, providing developers with a unified and comprehensive platform for developing modern applications. 

From SignalR rendering to the new set of features in cryptography, the Net 8.0 is packed with new features for building more scalable, efficient, and secure applications.  


How .NET 8 Injects New Life into Your Website


.NET 8 is the latest evolution in Microsoft’s integrated software development excursion, merging the best of both the .NET Framework and .NET Core worlds. Whether developers want to deploy on Linux or Windows, utilise containers, or follow a preferred cloud app model, .NET 8 simplifies the application development process. Not to mention, Microsoft has gone beyond the application development simplification with the .NET 8 version of Blazor not only covers front-end designing but also provides effortless integration with C# code through Razor syntax for back-end development. Blazor's intelligent rendering in .NET 8 can convert slow-loading web pages into more interactive ones, ensuring an enhanced user experience. In addition, Blazor now handles server-side and client-side rendering, making itself a full-stack web UI development framework. Also, Microsoft is now up with an open-source native mobile application development framework. With all these features, building fast, scalable, and efficient web, mobile and desktop applications is now easier than ever. 


Demystifying .NET 8: Unveiling Its Features and Enhancements 


An LTS Version


.NET 8 is a long-term support version that provides developers stability and support for the next three years, surpassing its predecessor, .NET 7, which was only a Short-Term Support (STS) release. With its impressive feature list, NET 8 performance is poised to take the web development market by storm. Microsoft has gone the extra mile with this release, adding some scintillating features. These updates include stability, performance, and security enhancements, making .NET 8 one of the most comprehensive releases. It's safe to say that .NET 8 will change the game for developers over the next three years. This long-term support version will make waves in the industry, revolutionising how developers approach web development. 


Better support for Native AOT



Unlike .NET 7, in which the Native AOT was more targeted toward console-type apps, and only a limited number of libraries were fully compatible with Native AOT, .NET 8  is more comprehensive regarding support for Native AOT. Native AOT is better than JIT, and the native code loads instantly and consumes much less memory space supporting scalability and fast response to user requests at scale.


Full Stack UI Framework




In .NET 7, Blazor was a frontend framework that worked with C# rather than JavaScript. The Blazor framework is now a full-stack UI framework. With the ability to render at both the component and page levels, developers can now choose from server-side rendering, client-side rendering, or auto mode, which selects the best option based on caching details. This update marks a significant milestone for Blazor, which now offers a comprehensive solution for developers looking to create modern web applications. The framework's versatility and flexibility are sure to be a game-changer for developers, allowing them to create web applications that are both robust and scalable.


Creating a Web Form-Easy with Blazor SSR



Before .NET 8, selecting the render mode for a specific placeholder within a web form was a daunting task. However, with .NET 8, creating web forms with a rich graphical user interface and different rendering modes for different placeholders is now possible. With the ability to convert web forms into a more visually appealing design, developers can now create web applications that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Developers can refresh each placeholder with new content separately, ensuring optimal website latency. This means that users can experience a seamless browsing experience with minimal lag or delay. Overall, this update is a significant step forward for web development, enabling developers to quickly create more engaging and dynamic web applications.


Reduced App Size through Lazy Loading 



Blazor, a front-end UI framework introduced by Microsoft in 2018, hinted at the development of single-page application-type features. With the release of .NET 8, Blazor has been significantly enhanced using Web Assembly with the ability to lazy load single-page applications (SPAs). This update improves the performance of SPAs and streamlines the development process for developers. Like Angular and React, developers can enjoy reduced app size and enhanced performance. This update is a significant milestone for Blazor, enabling developers to create web applications that are both efficient and scalable.


Windows Forms Updates in .NET 8

In .NET 8, Windows Forms has gotten several updates that upgraded its functionality and performance. The most substantial update is the addition of high DPI support, which permits applications to scale accurately on high-resolution displays. Another major update is the addition of .NET Core 3.1 support, which provides improved performance, better compatibility with modern development tools, and the competence to run Windows Forms applications on any platform that backs .NET Core. Furthermore, .NET 8 has proposed new controls and features to Windows Forms, making it more straightforward for developers to build high-quality applications that meet the needs of modern users.


Improvement in Source Generator


In .NET 7, source generators were introduced, allowing developers to generate C# source code during compilation. The .NET 8 includes significant improvements to source generators, making them more powerful and easier to use. With these updates, developers can quickly write and debug custom generators, streamlining the development process and improving productivity. This update will revolutionise how developers use source generators, making them an essential tool for creating efficient and scalable applications.


DevOps Improvements



The integration of CI/CD pipelines in .NET 7 was not as seamless, which made it challenging to deploy and scale applications. However, .NET 8 ensures optimised Orchestration and streamlined containerisation. This will ensure effortless CI/CD pipeline integration, ensuring easy deployment and scaling of the applications. The improvement in DevOps ensures more automated and unified management process development. The teams are now better positioned to deliver the app more reliably and quickly. 


Support for Vector 512 and AVX 512


In scientific computing applications, high-performance vector operations are essential to ensure efficient and accurate computation. However, in .NET 7, there was no support for 512-bit vector operations, which limited the performance of certain operations. .NET 8 introduces Vector512<T> and hardware intrinsics for Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) instructions, providing 512-bit vector operations, additional SIMD registers, and new instructions for 128-bit, 256-bit, and 512-bit vectors. These improvements can benefit performance even if not explicitly used in code. It can enhance the speed and efficiency of certain operations by transferring more data in less time, ultimately leading to better performance for the application.


Dynamic Profile Guided Optimisation

Dynamic Profile Guided Optimization (DPGO) in .NET 8 is now supported on Linux, macOS, and Windows, making it available on a broader range of platforms. Combining DPGO with tiered compilation allows the .NET runtime to compile code at different optimisation levels based on usage frequency, resulting in better performance. Additionally, the new dotnet trace tool in .NET 8 captures detailed data about application usage, facilitating optimisation. These enhancements make it easier for developers to optimise .NET applications and achieve better performance.


Enhanced JSON serialisation


In various software systems, serialisation and deserialisation are essential processes for converting data structures or objects into a byte stream and back to their original form. The .NET 8 introduces improvement in JSON serialisation and deserialisation with support for new numeric types like half struct, which has enabled efficient data exchange with models for machine learning. Moreover, the source generator for System.Text.JSON has been improved for better AOT support. It is excellent for high-performance applications as it can be compiled directly into machine code before it runs, improving startup time and overall performance.


AI support



In .Net 7, developers did not have access to out-of-the-box AI features, which limited their ability to take advantage of large language models and generative AI. Developers had to rely on third-party AI libraries and tools, which were only sometimes easy to integrate and required additional configuration and setup. The developers now have various out-of-the-box AI features to take advantage of the large language models and the generative AI, apart from seamless integration facilities with numerous third-party AI tools. 


New Code Analysers


Ensuring the correct and efficient usage of .NET library APIs was a challenge for developers in the past, as there was no built-in support for code analysers and fixers. As a result, developers had to rely on third-party tools for code analysis and fixing, which was not always reliable and could lead to errors and inconsistencies. The .NET 8 provides new code analysers and fixers to help ensure correct and efficient usage of .NET library APIs, including rules for constant attributes, string methods, type upgrades, collection checks, and exception throwing. These code analysers and fixers are designed to catch potential issues that can go unnoticed early in the development cycle and provide actionable recommendations for code improvements. They also help developers write more reliable and performant code by enforcing best practices and modern coding standards.


Enhancements in Cryptography


Security standards are increasing, and to comply with new regulations regarding the security of sensitive information, developers will need SHA-3. Microsoft has added SHA-3 hashing primitives supporting SHA3_384, SHA3_256, and SHA3_512 used for hashing, HMAC, RSA OAEP encryption, and configurable algorithm names. While SHA-3 support is aimed at higher-level constructions, cryptographic primitives and protocols may not fully support it initially.


Improvement in Networking


The .NET 8 supports HTTPS proxy, enabling encrypted communication mediating the proxy and the client for complete privacy. It can be set through environment variables or controlled programmatically using the WebProxy class. This new feature provides an additional layer of security for applications that communicate over the internet by encrypting all traffic between the client and the proxy. It also allows developers to easily configure and manage the proxy settings for their applications, improving their flexibility and control.


Better Randomness Features


In a machine learning application, it is often necessary to randomly select a subset of data from a larger dataset and shuffle it before training the model. The System.Random and  System.Security. Cryptography.RandomNumberGenerator types offer new methods for working with randomness - GetItems<T>() and Shuffle<T>(). GetItems allows developers to randomly choose a specified number of items from an input set, while Shuffle lets them randomise the order of a span. These methods have several applications, such as in games and machine learning.


Performance-Focused Types


In .NET 8, it is now easier to process read operations when required frequently, which in turn enhances the performance of the applications. The new version introduces performance-focused types such as FrozenDictionary, FrozenSet, SearchValues, CompositeFormat, and XxHash3/XxHash128. These types improve app performance by allowing faster read operations, optimising format strings, and providing fast hashing algorithms.


Garbage Collection


When it comes to building a cloud-based service with variable demand throughout the day, it is possible that during high-demand periods, the service may consume a lot of memory to handle incoming requests. However, during low-demand periods, memory consumption may not be necessary and can lead to resource wastage. The .NET 8 introduces an API to adjust memory limits on the fly to improve resource consumption in cloud-service scenarios. The RefreshMemoryLimit() API updates the GC with the new limit, allowing services to reduce memory consumption when demand fluctuates.


Container Publishing


In .NET 7, microservices-based applications faced an issue while deploying and managing their services through containerisation. However, with .NET 8, developers can use the improved containerisation features of .NET 8 to simplify the container push process and make it more secure. Microsoft .NET 8 has improved performance for pushing containers to remote registries, supports more registries such as Harbor and Artifactory, and supports OAuth token exchange authentication for pushing containers to registries. Additionally, starting in .NET 8, developers can create a container directly as a tar.gz archive.


Improvement in WPF:


One of the major issues in .NET 7 WPF applications was when accessed remotely, the developers could not use hardware acceleration for improved graphics rendering. The .NET 8 now allows WPF applications accessed remotely to use hardware acceleration for improved graphics rendering. Additionally, WPF now includes a new control called OpenFolderDialog, which enables app users to browse and select folders without relying on third-party software.


Conclusion


With the release of .Net 8, Microsoft has been making waves in the world of software development, and many developers are citing it as their first choice. With its impressive .NET 8 speed and performance, .Net 8 outperforms Java, making it a popular choice among web developers.  As with any significant framework update, developers and organisations need to plan for the migration to .NET 8 carefully. Syngis Software Development specialises in Microsoft technologies and can help you migrate to the latest version in no time. Backed by a team of highly skilled and seasoned professionals, Syngis Software Development specialises in developing web, mobile, and desktop applications and migration services with .NET 8, all while providing you phenomenal value for money. 

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