.NET 4.5 and the EPiServer platform
.NET 4.5 has been around for quite some time now and a lot of EPiServer projects are running on it already. In addition to .NET 4.5, there are two “dot” releases that supersedes it i.e. .NET 4.5.1 and 4.5.2. .NET 4.5 and its successors are in-place, backward compatible upgrades of .NET 4 which is the lowest version required by the EPiServer 7.5 platform. We have been limiting ourselves to stay on the .NET 4.0 version yet supporting .NET 4.5 leaving the decision to the partner project which version to build the solution on. Now we have come to a point where we think that new features in the EPiServer platform could really benefit from some of the things introduced in .NET 4.5. The most urgent one being the web socket support or more specifically SignalR which we want to use for building better user experiences.
What does this mean for someone taking a dependency on an EPiServer package?
Our plan for introducing this change is by updating our own dependencies to .NET 4.5 and ship that as a minor update i.e. 7.x. For a customer project this means that you will have a backward compatible update of the EPiServer packages which only need a recompilation after being updated. The only case where you need to do more is if your solution is deployed in a .NET 4.0 environment. In that case that environment needs to be upgraded to .NET 4.5 for the site to work.
How can you prepare?
The change is not that dramatic but if you want to be in the best position when this change comes we recommend building for .NET 4.5.2 right away. This forces the development, test and production environments to be prepared when the .net dependency version switch is integrated into the solution. If you are leveraging SignalR in your customer project we also recommend you to align that dependency to work with .NET 4.5.