Self-contained .NET Core Applications
Just in case you missed it, .NET is all open source now and .NET Core is a free, open source, cross-platform framework that you can download and start with in <10 minutes. You can get it on Mac, Windows, and a half-dozen Unixes at http://dot.net. Take that along with the free, cross-platform Visual Studio Code and you'll be writing C# and F# all over the place.
Ok, that said, there's two ways to deploy a .NET Core application. There's FDD and SCD. Since TLAs (three letter acronyms) are stupid, that's Framework-dependent and Self-contained. When .NET Core is installed it ends up in C:\program files\dotnet on Windows, for example. In the "Shared" folder there's a bunch of .NET stuff that is, well, shared. There may be multiple folders, as you can see in my folder below. You can have many and multiple installs of .NET Core.
When you're installing your app and its dependencies BUT NOT .NET Core itself, you're dependent on .NET Core already being on the target machine. That's fine for Web Apps or systems with lots of apps, but what if I want to write an app and give it to you as zip or on a USB key and and I just want it to work. I'll include .NET Core as well so the whole thing is a Self Contained Deployment.
It will make my "Hello World" application larger than if I was using an existing system-wide install, but I know it'll Just Work because it'll be totally self-contained.
If I deploy my app along with .NET Core it's important to remember that I'll be responsible for servicing .NET Core and keeping it up to date. I also need to decide on my target platforms ahead of time. If I want it to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux AND just work, I'll need to include those target platforms and build deployment packages for them. This all makes mostly intuitive sense but it's good to know.
I'll take my little app (I'm just using a "dotnet new" app) and I'll modify project.json in a text editor.
My app is a .NETCore.App, but it's not going to use the .NET Core platform that's installed. It'll use a local version so I'll remove "type="platform"" from this dependency.
Next I'll make a runtimes section to specify which ones I want to target. There's a list of ALL the Runtime IDs here.
After running "dotnet restore" you'll want to build for each of these like this:
dotnet build -r win10-x64
dotnet build -r osx.10.10-x64
dotnet build -r ubuntu.14.04-x64
And then publish release versions after you've tested, etc.
dotnet publish -c release -r win10-x64
dotnet publish -c release -r osx.10.10-x64
dotnet publish -c release -r ubuntu.14.04-x64
Once this is done, I've got my app self-contained in n folders, ready to deploy to whatever systems I want.
You can see in the Win10 folder there's my "MYAPPLICATION.exe" (mine is called scd.exe) that can be run, rather than running things like developers do with "dotnet run."
There's lots of good documentation about how you can tune and define exactly what gets deployed with your self contained application over at the .NET Core Docs. You can do considerable trimming to .NET Core, and there's talk of that becoming more and more automated in the future, possibly down to the method level.
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