Microsoft has been previewing .NET 7 since announcing it back in February. Since then, the company has rolled out seven previews, giving users a solid idea of what to expect. Well, now the company is edging closer to a full launch with news that .NET 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is now shipping.

This is one less stepping stone toward the General Availability of the new platform in early November. However, before that, .NET 7 Release Candidate 1 will be followed by Release Candidate 2 in the coming weeks.

Either way, all eyes are now on RC1. This provides a look at the backbone of the new features that Microsoft will introduce when it launches .NET 7 fully at its .NET Conf 2022, starting Nov 8.

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In a blog post to accompany the release, Microsoft discusses aspects of .NET 7 related to ARM64 support, improved performance, modernization of .NET, and .NET MAUI. There is plenty of documentation out there that delves into the complexities of .NET 7.

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If you want to spend hours on those technical aspects, Microsoft’s .NET 7 portal is the place to be. If not, the company sums up the improvements of the new platform in the following way:

“.NET is fast. .NET 7 is the fastest .NET yet. Over a thousand performance-impacting improvements went into .NET 7 impacting reflection, On Stack Replacement(OSR), start-up time, Native AOT, loop optimizations and many other areas.”

For many users, .NET MAUI is perhaps the most interesting part of RC1. Microsoft says is adding the ability to create desktop apps alongside iOS and Android apps. MAUI is a mobile-focused Xamarin.Forms framework and Microsoft says the new capability allows developers to build single apps targeting multiple devices and platforms:

“.NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI) unifies Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows APIs into a single API so you can write one app that runs natively on many platforms,” Microsoft said. “.NET MAUI enables you to deliver the best app experiences designed specifically by each platform (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Tizen) while enabling you to craft consistent brand experience through rich styling and graphics. Out of the box, each platform looks and behaves the way it should without any additional widgets or styling required.”

Microsoft has been testing .NET 7 Release Candidate 1 on Visual Studio 17.4 Preview 2. The company recommends developers use preview builds for Visual Studio on Windows. For Mac developers, the company recommends the newest version of Visual Studio 2022.

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