Microsoft has unveiled its latest iteration of the .NET open-source development platform, .NET 8, promising substantial performance improvements and advanced AI integration. The platform now incorporates a new code generator known as Dynamic Profile-Guided Optimization (PGO), which the company projects to enhance app performance by as much as 20%.
Performance and Capability Enhancements
In addition to the PGO, .NET 8 introduces support for AVX-512, an instruction set that enables parallel processing on 512-bit vectors, facilitating significantly faster data processing. As a result, applications developed with .NET 8 can handle larger data sets with improved efficiency. Moreover, Microsoft has redesigned primitive types to engage with the new format and parse interface capable of direct UTF-8 format and parsing, drastically reducing transcoding overhead.
Benchmark Results and Expanded Usage Scenarios
Microsoft cites the TechEmpower benchmarks to highlight the performance progression. As previous reports suggest, there is an 18% performance leap in the JSON API scenario and a 24% rise in the Fortunes scenario when .NET 8 is pitted against its predecessor, .NET 7. The company emphasizes these stats to encourage the use of .NET 8, particularly in the realm of AI-based applications, as they have equipped .NET 8 with newfound compatibility for AI tools and SDKs in partnership with entities like Azure OpenAI and Microsoft Teams.
The bolstered performance of .NET 8 extends to Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) applications, which can now run more swiftly on both Linux and Windows platforms. This improvement indicates that developers may not need to rely as heavily on Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation during runtime, streamlining the development process.
Introduction of .NET Aspire
Accompanying the .NET 8 launch is the release of .NET Aspire, an opinionated stack engineered to expedite the creation of cloud-based applications. .NET Aspire integrates key components, such as telemetry and health checks, from the get-go. It also promises a seamless local developer experience which scales effectively to meet the demands of cloud application development. Microsoft encourages feedback on the preview version of .NET Aspire, currently available on GitHub.
The announcement coincides with the kick-off of the annual .NET conference, which is taking place virtually and set to run through November 16. Developers and interested parties are invited to explore the new features and provide their input on the advancements contained within .NET 8.