What's new in .NET Core 2.2

.NET Core 2.2 includes enhancements in application deployment, event handling for runtime services, authentication to Azure SQL databases, JIT compiler performance, and code injection prior to the execution of the Main method.

New deployment mode

Starting with .NET Core 2.2, you can deploy framework-dependent executables, which are .exe files instead of .dll files. Functionally similar to framework-dependent deployments, framework-dependent executables (FDE) still rely on the presence of a shared system-wide version of .NET Core to run. Your app contains only your code and any third-party dependencies. Unlike framework-dependent deployments, FDEs are platform-specific.

This new deployment mode has the distinct advantage of building an executable instead of a library, which means you can run your app directly without invoking dotnet first.

Core

Handling events in runtime services

You may often want to monitor your application's use of runtime services, such as the GC, JIT, and ThreadPool, to understand how they impact your application. On Windows systems, this is commonly done by monitoring the ETW events of the current process. While this continues to work well, it's not always possible to use ETW if you're running in a low-privilege environment or on Linux or macOS. 

Starting with .NET Core 2.2, CoreCLR events can now be consumed using the System.Diagnostics.Tracing.EventListener class. These events describe the behavior of such runtime services as GC, JIT, ThreadPool, and interop. These are the same events that are exposed as part of the CoreCLR ETW provider.  This allows for applications to consume these events or use a transport mechanism to send them to a telemetry aggregation service. You can see how to subscribe to events in the following code sample:

internal sealed class SimpleEventListener : EventListener
{
    // Called whenever an EventSource is created.
    protected override void OnEventSourceCreated(EventSource eventSource)
    {
        // Watch for the .NET runtime EventSource and enable all of its events.
        if (eventSource.Name.Equals("Microsoft-Windows-DotNETRuntime"))
        {
            EnableEvents(eventSource, EventLevel.Verbose, (EventKeywords)(-1));
        }
    }

    // Called whenever an event is written.
    protected override void OnEventWritten(EventWrittenEventArgs eventData)
    {
        // Write the contents of the event to the console.
        Console.WriteLine($"ThreadID = {eventData.OSThreadId} ID = {eventData.EventId} Name = {eventData.EventName}");
        for (int i = 0; i < eventData.Payload.Count; i++)
        {
            string payloadString = eventData.Payload[i]?.ToString() ?? string.Empty;
            Console.WriteLine($"\tName = \"{eventData.PayloadNames[i]}\" Value = \"{payloadString}\"");
        }
        Console.WriteLine("\n");
    }
}

In addition, .NET Core 2.2 adds the following two properties to the EventWrittenEventArgs class to provide additional information about ETW events:

Data

AAD authentication to Azure SQL databases with the SqlConnection.AccessToken property

Starting with .NET Core 2.2, an access token issued by Azure Active Directory can be used to authenticate to an Azure SQL database. To support access tokens, the AccessToken property has been added to the SqlConnection class. To take advantage of AAD authentication, download version 4.6 of the System.Data.SqlClient NuGet package. In order to use the feature, you can obtain the access token value using the Active Directory Authentication Library for .NET contained in the Microsoft.IdentityModel.Clients.ActiveDirectory NuGet package.

JIT compiler improvements

Tiered compilation remains an opt-in feature

In .NET Core 2.1, the JIT compiler implemented a new compiler technology, tiered compilation, as an opt-in feature. The goal of tiered compilation is improved performance. One of the important tasks performed by the JIT compiler is optimizing code execution. For little-used code paths, however, the compiler may spend more time optimizing code than the runtime spends executing unoptimized code. Tiered compilation introduces two stages in JIT compilation:

  • A first tier, which generates code as quickly as possible.

  • A second tier, which generates optimized code for those methods that are executed frequently. The second tier of compilation is performed in parallel for enhanced performance.

For information on the performance improvement that can result from tiered compilation, see Announcing .NET Core 2.2 Preview 2.

In .NET Core 2.2 Preview 2, tiered compilation was enabled by default. However, we've decided that we are still not ready to enable tiered compilation by default. So in .NET Core 2.2, tiered compilation continues to be an opt-in feature. For information on opting in to tiered compilation, see Jit compiler improvements in What's new in .NET Core 2.1.

Runtime

Injecting code prior to executing the Main method

Starting with .NET Core 2.2, you can use a startup hook to inject code prior to running an application's Main method. Startup hooks make it possible for a host to customize the behavior of applications after they have been deployed without needing to recompile or change the application.

We expect hosting providers to define custom configuration and policy, including settings that potentially influence the load behavior of the main entry point, such as the System.Runtime.Loader.AssemblyLoadContext behavior. The hook can be used to set up tracing or telemetry injection, to set up callbacks for handling, or to define other environment-dependent behavior. The hook is separate from the entry point, so that user code doesn't need to be modified.

See Host startup hook for more information.

See also