How to Migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core: A Detailed Guide

Updated 23 Nov 2023
Published 09 Nov 2023
Gaurav Sharma 1265 Views
How To Migrate From .NET Framework To .NET Core

With the ever-evolving technology landscape, it has become paramount for businesses to upgrade their systems to better align with their digital transformation goals.

When it comes to deploying an appropriate software development framework for your business applications, Microsoft offers two advanced options: .Net Core and .Net framework.

You should know that .NET Core is the latest application development framework, while .NET Framework is the traditional one.

Enterprises looking forward to digital transformation know the rising popularity of .NET Core , thanks to its ability to work on multiple platforms, improved performance, and many other advanced features.

Consequently, many developers who previously deployed the older .NET Framework are migrating their applications to the more innovative .NET Core.

However, to convert a net framework to a net core, you must understand the involved steps and implement them efficiently. This article presents a comprehensive guide to carrying out a successful migration from .NET Framework to .NET Core latest.

Here, you will learn the importance of switching from .NET Framework to .NET Core and the challenges you can face during the migration process.

.NET Framework and .NET Core

The .NET Framework is the proprietary software framework introduced by Microsoft that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows. On the other hand, .Net Core is the most up-to-date version of the .NET domain that overcomes the limitations of the .NET Framework.

The StackOverflow 2021 developer survey states that .NET and .NET Core are recognized as the most commonly used software development frameworks.

While .NET Framework is the traditional, time-tested version of .NET, .NET Core has been launched by Microsoft as a modern counterpart to address the limitations of .NET Framework. Updating .Net framework to the .NET Core is an ideal solution for developers to leverage the latest technological advancements.

Available for free, .NET Core is an open-source, cross-platform framework that can run ideally on Windows, Linux, and macOS and is specifically designed to help developers develop modern applications.

Steps to Migrating from .NET Framework to .NET Core

When considering switching from .NET Framework to .NET Core, you should assess the current application used in the business and determine whether it’s a good candidate for migration. If the chosen application uses the features supported by the .NET Core, it will be much easier to carry out the migration process.

However, if your web app doesn’t use the features supported by .NET Core, you must first make some code changes. Moreover, you can use various tools for .NET Development to automate the migration process.

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The following are the steps involved in the migration process from .NET Framework to .NET Core:

Step 1: Analyze project dependencies

Before starting the migration process, you should analyze the system background, codebase size, dependencies on specific Windows features, and third-party library compatibilities.

You can use Microsoft’s .NET Portability Analyzer to analyze the specific application’s dependencies and project references. In addition, with this tool, you can identify the APIs not available in the .NET Core.

Step 2. Assess compatibility

The next step is to evaluate the existing .NET Framework used for web app development to identify if there are any compatibility issues, dependencies, or potential challenges for migration.

Step 3. Create a migration strategy

Once you have identified project dependencies and compatibility issues, it’s time to create a comprehensive plan outlining the approach, resources, and timeline required to migrate the .NET Framework to .NET Core.

In addition, don’t forget to outline the steps and potential risks involved in the migration process. It’s recommended to start with smaller components or modules and gradually switch to the entire application.

Step 4. Choose the right tools and resources for migration

You can use various tools and resources to automate and smooth the migration process. As discussed above, the .NET Portability Analyzer by Microsoft can be used to assess the compatibility of the chosen application with .NET Core.

Moreover, consider leveraging the documentation and guides provided by Microsoft to gain valuable insights and guidance for a successful migration.

Step 5. Update code and dependencies

If .NET Core does not support your application features, you should modify the codebase to make the app compatible with .NET Core. Update or replace any dependencies or third-party libraries incompatible with the .NET Core.

Consider following some of these approaches to proceed with the migration:

  • Contact developers and ask for their support. Since .NET Core is open-source and developers work voluntarily, you should be mindful of their time and efforts.
  • Head to and search for the package that can fulfill the same functionality as the one your company uses now.
  • If possible, you should try to write code accomplishing the same task as the package.

Step 6. Migrate configuration and settings

It is the most crucial step, which involves migrating application settings, configuration files, and environment-specific configurations to the corresponding .NET Core equivalents.

Step 7. Migrate from ASP.NET MVC

Follow these steps to migrate from ASP.Net to .Net Core:

Create a new ASP.NET project utilizing the type suiting your project, such as ASP.NET Core Web API, ASP.NET Core Empty, or ASP.NET Core Web App. Your target framework must be .NET 5.

  • Next, make sure that your global.asax.cs code is up-to-date.
  • It will be best to transfer all your existing controllers and classes to the following project structure: In addition, consider updating your API controller classes.
  • If there are any Nuget and reference errors, fix them.
  • If using handlers, consider converting them to .NET Middleware.
  • Move your web configuration settings to appsettings.json.
  • Lastly, you should discard your old projects and unnecessary files.

Step 8. Transfer your data

If your chosen application incorporates a database, you should migrate the data to the new project. You can leverage Visual Studio’s ‘Export’ and ‘Import’ features to transfer data seamlessly. Alternatively, you can use the Generate Scripts feature to create an SQL script and transfer existing data.

Step 9. Test and debug

The migration process doesn’t end with transferring application settings, configuration files, and environment-specific configurations to the .NET Core equivalents.

Instead, it’s a must to thoroughly test the migrated application for any issues or bugs that might have emerged during the migration process. So, you should conduct thorough testing and quality assurance to spot and fix compatibility or performance issues.

Step 10. Deploy and monitor

After deploying the migrated application to the targeted environment, you should monitor its performance to ensure it functions optimally in the new .NET Core application development framework.

Recommended Read: ASP.NET Features- The Right Choice For Web App Development

Why Must You Switch From .Net Framework to .Net Core?

If you wonder why you should migrate from classic .NET to modern .NET Core, go through the following points:

Why to Migrate from .Net Framework to .Net Core

• Lower Costs

With the retirement of a few components of the .NET Framework, the cost is reduced as there is no need to support or maintain older components.

Moreover, it will enable you to use more modern tools and technologies that better suit the current market. It will further lead to a simplified development process while saving on cost.

• Improved Access to Talent

It’s seen that more developers understand the benefits of .Net core and, thus, are attracted to it than .NET Framework. .NET Core is an open-source, cross-platform platform that offers high-performance capabilities.

Therefore, it has increased the developer’s interest in working with this modern application development framework, expanding the talent pool for development projects.

• Enhanced Product Innovation

Microsoft constantly updates the .NET Core with new features and capabilities, enabling more efficient and effective product innovation. Its modular architecture, smaller footprint, and availability of various tools and libraries lead to easier development and cost-effective product innovation.

• Cross-platform Compatibility

Another .NET Core’s migration process is that it can run seamlessly on multiple operating systems, including macOS, Windows, and Linux, unlike .NET Framework.

Therefore, .NET Core’s feature allows developers to develop applications that can be easily deployed on multiple devices, eliminating the need to tailor apps for different platforms.

• Improved Scalability

The .NET Core facilitates a lighter runtime environment, enhancing application scalability in cloud environments. Fewer resources are needed to run applications, and more resources are available to process requests, resulting in better scalability and reduced latency.

• Greater Flexibility

By adopting the latest .NET Core version featuring modern architecture and framework, developers can leverage flexible application development processes.

Modern architectures will offer companies modular and extensible structures, facilitating quick modifications, iterations, and adaptability to changing application development environments.

With increased scalability and flexibility, you can develop applications efficiently, offering longer-term value for investments.

• Increased Security

.NET Core focuses on the latest encryption standards to ensure data privacy and security. Therefore, by using .NET Core’s security protocols, enterprises can protect sensitive business data by preventing malicious attacks and unauthorized attacks.

• Improved Performance

Deployment of the .NET Core framework will result in enhanced application performance. It will further allow you to optimize operations and provide quick and efficient services to your customers, improving the customer experience.

Moreover, strategies like virtualization, caching, componentization, load balancing, or database optimization will enhance performance.

• Built-in Cloud Features

Encompassing built-in cloud features, the .NET Core enables deployment in popular cloud environments such as AWS, GCP, and Azure. Access to advanced cloud-based services ensures reliable and secure implementation.

• Migration with Minimal Disruption

You can migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core with minimal disruption. The migration process is relatively straightforward because of language compatibility and the ability to use many of the same tools.

In addition, a clear roadmap enables organizations to plan the migration process while staying up-to-date with the Top .Net Development Trends.

This table will better explain the difference between .net core and .net framework and show why .NET Core is the ideal choice for application development:


.NET Framework

.NET Core

Compatibility Windows Windows, Linux, macOS
Deployment The web application can only be deployed on the Internet Information Server. It facilitates a flexible deployment model.
Focus on Devices It’s only limited to Windows OS. It includes an integrated platform allowing companies to develop applications for the IoT, AI, cloud, and mobile.
Source The application development framework is proprietary, as it’s released under the Microsoft Reference Source License. The application development framework is open-source.
Support for microservices and REST services Although .NET Framework gets support from WCF and supports REST services, it doesn’t support creating or deploying microservices. Moreover, it’s less effective when it comes to performance. .NET Core is suitable for modern cloud-native and cross-platform applications as it’s lightweight and provides improved performance and better support for containerization.
Mobile development Since .NET Core is a Windows-only framework, it doesn’t support mobile development. Therefore, the application development framework is inflexible for modern applications’ needs. Since .NET Core supports Android, macOS, and iOS applications, it supports mobile apps. It’s also possible due to the connection or compatibility .NET Core shares with Xamarin and other open-source platforms.

Learn more: Pros and Cons of .NET Development 

.NET Framework to .NET Core Migration- Challenges

When migrating the .NET Framework to the .NET Core, organizations can come across some of the below-discussed challenges:

Challenges in .NET Framework to .NET Core Migration

  • Library Compatibility

One of the main challenges developers face is ensuring that the libraries used in the original application are compatible with the .NET Core. Some libraries may be unavailable in .NET Core, requiring developers to identify and replace those libraries with the ideal alternatives.

In addition, for a smooth migration, software developers need to implement specific functionalities while deploying different approaches in the new environment.

  • API Changes

It’s reported that .NET Core introduces more changes to the API than the .NET Framework application. As a result, developers need to modify certain parts of the original application to align it with the new API structure.

To do the same, you might have to rewrite the code or adjust it to accommodate differences in API functionality and usage.

  • Configuration and Deployment

It will help modify configuration and deployment processes for the specific application to work effectively in the .NET Core environments. These modifications include adapting configuration settings, ensuring compatibility with new infrastructure, and updating deployment scripts.

  • Controlling Cost

The .NET Framework to .NET Core migration process needs enough time and resources to test, code, refactor, and adjust the application.

It can be challenging for organizations to plan and allocate resources optimally, leading to increased costs. You can avoid delays and overspending by optimally allocating resources.

How to Prepare Your System for .Net Core Migration

These are the steps to follow to prepare your system to migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core:

  • Assess compatibility: Before starting the migration process, always assess the compatibility of your existing application’s codebase with .NET Core.
  • Review APIs: Since .NET Core has a distinct set of APIs than .NET Framework, it’s recommended to review platform-specific APIs or dependencies and refactor code if necessary.
  • Update third-party libraries: Review the compatibility of third-party libraries used in your existing system with .NET Core and update them to the newer version, if necessary.
  • Establish test coverage: Creating a comprehensive test suite will help validate the system’s functionality and integrity following the migration.
  • Plan the migration: Develop a migration plan outlining all necessary steps, risks, and timelines.
  • Validate and deploy: Test and validate whether all critical functionality works correctly and deploy the migrated system to the production environment.

.NET 8: The Next Step on the Microsoft Roadmap

If you develop a web application using .Net, you might be curious about the latest developments in the .NET roadmap. Microsoft introduced the .NET Core to the world for the first time by releasing the .NET 5.0 version in November 2020.

The most recent version of .NET Core, i.e., .NET 7.0, was released by Microsoft in November 2022. Talking about the future of technology, Microsoft stated that it will officially release .NET 8.0 in November 2023.

But what will be new in the .NET 8.0 version? As an LTS (long-term support) version of the .NET Core family, .NET 8.0 will continue to receive support, updates, and bug fixes for three years from its release date. It will ensure that software developers can confidently carry out migrations in ASP.Net core 8.0 version and reap benefits from its several features and enhancements.

Other than that, .NET 8.0 has several new features, including improvements in code generation and better performance. Microsoft stated that this new .NET Core version will improve the C# language and runtime performance.

It will support cross-platform software development and LTS while focusing on modern application development practices such as microservices architecture and containerization. Moreover, it will integrate with other popular Microsoft technologies, allowing it to embrace open-source development.

Choosing the correct .NET framework is crucial for developing cutting-edge applications. Initially, developers could only rely on the .NET Framework.

However, with the release of the .NET Core, application development has witnessed a significant revolution. The asp net vs. net core (.NET Framework vs .NET Core) discussion is ongoing, but migrating to the latest .NET Core version can bring additional advantages.

How Can Arka Softwares Help You with .Net Framework Migration?

Arka Softwares is a team of professional .NET developers with years of experience serving organizations of all sizes. With the right combination of industry and technical expertise, Arka has been delivering top-notch ASP.NET development services for years and, thus, can help you with your next .NET project.

The prominent developers in our ASP.Net development company are knowledgeable enough to understand the most complex IT challenges and provide customized solutions to help businesses drive optimum ROI.

Provenance leverages Microsoft Azure, the .NET Framework, and .NET Core to transform enterprises into cloud-computing powerhouses.

Our advanced services include designing, building, and managing Azure cloud computing projects, ensuring computer backups, promoting employee collaboration, managing devices, and facilitating remote work.

Moreover, a team of expert developers at Arka Softwares helps companies develop cloud-first solutions, enabling businesses to enhance their flexibility and scalability while meeting customer expectations.

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Help for ASP.NET Migration

AA is a SaaS solution that tracks Medicaid, Medicare, and HMO changes and helps healthcare facilities prevent billing problems. Now that AA had a shortage of in-house IT personnel, they contacted Arka Softwares to help them migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core.

Our Approach

  • Our team at Arka Softwares first analyzed NuGet packages to identify the ones supported by the .NET Core and those that didn’t.
  • We found that AA uses the MvcSiteMapprovider plugin for app navigation, and .NET Core does not support it. So, our team devised a custom method to address this issue.
  • In addition, we know how important it is to maintain clean code for successful application development, so we eliminated useless and duplicate plugins.
  • Our developers also changed the AA’s storage structure to meet the .NET Core standards.
  • Finally, our team of developers transferred the site’s components to the new platform.

The Result

AA was successfully able to shift from the .NET Framework to .NET Core, allowing them to reap the exceptional features and functionalities of .NET Core.

In addition, the successful migration enabled AA to cut the cost of each transaction by more than 300% and speed up several processes and functions.

In Conclusion

IT companies developing applications always look for the latest, updated technological solutions to automate and streamline the application development process. And one of the best ways to do the same is to upgrade the .Net framework and shift to the .NET Core environment.

Migrating from .NET Framework to .NET Core will offer your company several advantages, like access to a broader talent pool, cost savings, cross-platform compatibility, greater flexibility, built-in-cloud features, and more.

However, to switch from. NET Framework to .NET Core, you must understand the entire migration process and overcome multiple challenges to leverage the power of .NET Core.

You must hire dot net core developers, as they are experts in assessing compatibility, reviewing APIs, updating libraries, using advanced migration tools, and planning the entire migration process.

Nevertheless, consider following the steps and practices discussed above to seamlessly switch from .NET Framework to .NET Core and capitalize on its exceptional features.


    • Is .NET Core compatible with previous .NET versions?

      The .NET Core framework is the latest version introduced by Microsoft to address the shortcomings of the .NET Framework. Although it supports a few features of the .NET Framework, it’s not entirely compatible with all the APIs available in the .NET Framework. The good news is that application development companies can reference the .NET Framework from their projects using a “Framework-dependent deployment” (FDD) and still deploy their applications without installing the .NET Framework on their systems.

    • Is .NET 6 the same as the .NET Core?

      .NET 6 is .NET Core’s latest version, which Microsoft released in November 2022. This version of .NET Core comprises a unified development platform, advanced APIs, and many other features.

Gaurav Sharma

Gourav Sharma is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Arka Softwares, a leading web development company. He has 2 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. He spends his time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest app development technologies.

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