Microsoft has this week announced .NET Core 3.0 has now reached Release Candidate (RC1). As the name suggests, this is a close to finalized build of the portable software solutions. Indeed, RC1 will convert into a full release when .NET Core 3 is finalized at Microsoft’s .NET Conf virtual conference next week.

Microsoft’s Richard Lander says the company has been focused on tweaking and polishing .NET Core 3 and that the final release is “very, very close”.

Many users were not expecting a release candidate build at all. Microsoft originally pointed to the final preview (Preview 9) being the last major release before the final version. However, the company changed tact and opted for the RC1 update to coincide with Visual Studio 2019 16.3 Preview 4 and Visual Studio for Mac 8.3.

“It is critical that the .NET Core SDK version that is part of any Visual Studio release includes the same toolset in order to deliver a compatible experience in all scenarios,” Lander says, and points out the .NET Core team should have envisioned this scenario earlier.

Either way, .NET Core 3.0 RC1 is now available and production ready.

.NET Core 5

While announcing .NET Core 3 at Build 2019 earlier this year, Microsoft also announced .NET  5. The company said the release will replace the naming convention of .NET Core and .NET Framework, rolling both into a single product.

In its explanation blog post, Microsoft says .NET 5 will be a merger of classic .NET Framework with the open source Core. This will create a single .NET platform, something users of the software framework have been asking for.

“There will be just one .NET going forward, and you will be able to use it to target Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, tvOS, watchOS, and WebAssembly, and more,” Microsoft’s Richard Lander announced. “We will introduce new .NET APIs, runtime capabilities and language features as part of .NET 5.”