.NET Core 3 Default Executables

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By default, .NET Core now builds framework-dependent executables. This behavior is new for applications that use a globally installed version of .NET Core.

  • Previously, only self-contained deployments would produce an executable.
  • During dotnet build or dotnet publish, an executable also known as the appHost is created that matches the environment and platform of the SDK you are using.

You can expect the same things with these executables as you would other native executables, such as:

  • You can double-click on the executable.
  • You can launch the application from a command prompt directly, such as myapp.exe on Windows, and ./myapp on Linux and macOS.

Produce an executable

Executables are not cross-platform and are specific to an operating system and CPU architecture. When publishing your app and creating an executable, you can publish the app as self-contained or framework-dependent.

  • Publishing an app as self-contained includes the .NET Core runtime with the app, and users of the app don't have to worry about installing .NET Core before running the app.
  • Apps published as framework-dependent don't include the .NET Core runtime and libraries; only the app and 3rd-party dependencies are included.

The following commands produce an executable:

Type Command
framework-dependent executable for the current platform. dotnet publish
framework-dependent executable for a specific platform. dotnet publish -r --self-contained false
self-contained executable. dotnet publish -r

Produce a cross-platform binary

Cross-platform binaries are created when you publish your app as framework-dependent, in the form of a dll file. The dll file is named after your project. For example, if you have an app named word_reader, a file named word_reader.dll is created.

  • Apps published in this way are run with the dotnet <filename.dll> command and can be run on any platform.
  • Cross-platform binaries can be run on any operating system as long as the targeted .NET Core runtime is already installed.
  • If the targeted .NET Core runtime isn't installed, the app may run using a newer runtime if the app is configured to roll-forward.

The following command produces a cross-platform binary:

Type Command
framework-dependent cross-platform binary. dotnet publish

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