Getting up to date: .Net Framework Targeting

This website was originally rewritten from a web forms solution into an MVC 3 solution back in 2012. At that time the target .Net framework for the application was plain old version 4. Eventually, some additional improvements were added by making use of MVC 5 at the start of 2017.

The site had been hosted on GoDaddy servers for a while. That was before the year 2000, using static pages on Linux VMs. That was even before the very first version of the .Net framework had been released. What I did back then was to write a Visual Basic program to generate a lot of static html pages based on the database contents. It would not have been efficient if the data changed often, but in my case it didn’t and the page response was good.

But let’s get back to .Net framework. GoDaddy did offer windows hosting after some time. However it takes a while before the latest version of the .Net framework becomes available on GoDaddy if at all. So until now, I was still using an MVC 5 app running on .Net framework 4.5.

At some point during the middle of last year I switched hosting to Microsoft Azure. It is a little bit more expensive, but the availability of Microsoft’s latest technologies is available right away. Version 4.0 of the .Net framework was released in April 2010, and a number of other releases up to 4.7.2 have been available since then with 4.8 in the works.

There are actually 3 projects in the solution. The models project, made up of simple classes and properties is still targeting 4.0. The repository project, which uses Entity Framework, was updated to 4.5 to make use of the async features from this version, and the web project is 4.5.2.

Now that the site is on the Azure platform, I intend to migrate it and keep up to date with the latest updates. Installing the latest updates generally provides two benefits: applying security fixes and performance improvements. I plan to do the update on three fronts: .Net framework targeting, updating 3rd party libraries, and migrating to .Net Core. The first one is the easiest, so I’ll start with it for this introductory post also to consolidate all the projects to target the same version.

The release notes for the .Net framework provide information on what each version brings. We also need to download the latest version of the framework if not already installed on the development machine. Alternatively, open Visual Studio Installer, choose modify, then individual components and find the required sdk.

Screenshot of download site for .Net framework SDKs

Then it is a matter of opening the properties for each individual project and choosing the desired framework within the Application tab:

Selecting the project's target framework from Visual Studio

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