The focus of .NET 7 was to unify .NET Core and .NET Framework into a single .NET. Now that this has been achieved, .NET 8 is free to focus on other areas. According to Microsoft, with .NET 8 they want to focus on the developer experience for cloud-native developers and cross-platform development with MAUI and Blazor, as well as continued performance improvements. 

“We believe .NET developers should be able to get their apps to the cloud quickly, scale their apps without compromising performance, and evolve their apps based on actionable data and feedback about your apps in production. We’ll invest in making it easier to manage the full end-to-end experience from local development and testing through continuous integration and deployment. Our goal is to make it easier to implement microservice architectures and build and deploy containers,” Jeremy Likness, principal program manager for .NET Web Frameworks, wrote in a blog post

To support cloud-native developers, Microsoft is working on ways to make it easier to manage the end-to-end experience of development, from local development all the way through testing and deployment. 

Microsoft says that it also has a goal to make it easier to implement microservices architectures and deploy containers. 

This preview includes improvements for container imagers, such as adding Debian 12 as the default distribution for container images, allowing containers to be run by non-root users, and tagging container images with the 8.0-preview tag.

There are a number of Linux improvements too, including the ability to build .NET from the dotnet/dotnet repository, new Ubuntu Chiseled images, and updates to the minimum baseline targets.

Other features in .NET 8 Preview 1 include:

  • NativeAOT updates
  • Utility methods have been added to “System.Random” and “System.Security.Cryptography.RandomNumberGenerator”
  • Improvements to “System.Text.Json”
  • New types in the core libraries that are focused on performance
  • “dotnet publish” and “dotnet pack” will now by default create Release assets

“.NET 8 Preview 1 is a testament to the power of collaboration between a diverse team of engineers at Microsoft and a highly engaged open source community. The new features and improvements in .NET 8 are a direct result of the hard work and dedication of this community, and we are incredibly grateful for everyone’s contributions,” Likness concluded.