Microsoft updates the old .NET Framework for Arm64
For years, Microsoft has been updating its legacy, Windows-only, proprietary .NET Framework while advancing the new order of open-source, cross-platform .NET Core frameworks, which have evolved into just .NET 5, . NET 6 and so on.
Since the release of .NET Framework 4.8.0 in May last year, development cycles have focused on fixes and maintenance in “cumulative security and quality updates”.
This week, however, Microsoft announced .NET Framework 4.8.1, which is available for download while also being bundled with the new Visual Studio 2022 17.3 release released on Tuesday.
Key to the release notes is native Arm64 support, specifically “Add native Arm64 support to the .NET Framework family to leverage the benefits of running native workloads on Arm64 for better performance compared to running emulated x64 code on Arm64”.
Other new features include accessible tooltips and Windows Forms accessibility improvements.
“.NET Framework 4.8.1 adds native Arm64 support to the .NET Framework family,” Microsoft said in an August 9 blog post. “So your investments in the vast ecosystem of .NET Framework applications and libraries can now take advantage of the benefits of running workloads natively on Arm64 for better performance compared to running emulated x64 code on Arm64.”
Native Arm64 support only arrived in Visual Studio in June with the release of Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2.
“This will be the first version of Visual Studio that will natively support building and debugging Arm64 applications on Arm-based processors,” Microsoft’s Mark Downie said in an announcement post at the time. “Our primary goal with this preview is to introduce and stabilize the most popular workloads used by developers building applications that run on Arm64, and to gather community feedback to help us prioritize the additional experiences and workloads as we work towards general availability (GA) later this year.”
Arm64 support was previewed by Microsoft in May at its Build developer conference. “We have steadily built momentum to support our community of Arm64 developers, which includes hardware, a toolchain and, of course, Visual Studio,” Microsoft said at the time. “The Arm64 Visual Studio preview will be publicly available for everyone in the coming weeks.”
Typically, the Arm architecture is used to create processors for low-power mobile devices, increasingly being used in place of x86-based architectures in larger devices. Arm64 is an extension – or evolution – of the ARM architecture that supports 64-bit processing, and Visual Studio 2022 is 64-bit software.
Regarding accessible WCAG2.1-compliant tooltips introduced in v4.8.1, this week’s announcement stated, “Microsoft is committed to providing products and platforms that are accessible to everyone. platforms, both of which provide developers with the support needed to create applications that are accessible to their users. Over the past few releases, Windows Forms and WPF have added several features and fixed many reliability issues related to accessibility. You can learn more about the details of what we fixed or added in each release by reviewing What’s New in Accessibility in the .NET Framework.
Other highlights listed in this week’s announcement for Windows Forms, the first Windows UI stack created for the .NET Framework, include:
- Text Model Support: “In this release, WinForms added support for the UIA Text Model. This model allows assistive technology to navigate the contents of a TextBox or similar textual control letter by letter. It allows to select text in the control and changed, as well as new text inserted at the cursor. WinForms has added this support for text boxes, DataGridView cells, ComboBox controls, etc.
- Fixing contrast issues: “We fixed high contrast issues in several controls and changed the contrast ratio of selection rectangles to be darker and more visible.”
- Fixed several DataGridView issues: “In this release, we’ve updated the scrollbar names to be consistent. We fixed an issue preventing Narrator from focusing on empty DataGridView cells. Developers can now set the type property of Localized control for custom DataGridView cells. Link color for DataGridViewLink cells has been updated to have better contrast with the background.”
In addition to being included in the latest version of Visual Studio, .NET Framework can be downloaded for Windows 10 version 20H2 and later and Windows Server 2022 and later.
David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.