.NET Foundation September/October 2020 Update

by Claire Novotny

Here's the September/October 2020 .NET Foundation update. Every other month, we'll give you a quick overview of the .NET Open Source landscape, including top project news, events, community links and more.

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General news

The .NET Foundation Joins the Open Source Initiative's Affiliate Program

For over 20 years, the Open Source Initiative has worked to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, and build bridges between open source communities of practice. As a global non-profit, the OSI champions software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition (OSD), and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The .NET Foundation excited to join the OSI and look forward to working together to support open source and building on our existing commitment to interoperability and developer education with other members of the OSI Affiliate community.

Octopus Deploy Sponsors the .NET Foundation

We are thrilled to welcome Octopus Deploy as a new corporate sponsor of the .NET Foundation. The addition of Octopus Deploy to our community contributes to the growth of open source projects and our growing global ecosystem. As an independent software vendor, they use a number of open-source projects to build Octopus Deploy, and a healthy open source ecosystem is essential to their mission and a core of who they are.


.NET Foundation "All Hands" - Fall 2020 Meeting

The first .NET Foundation All Hands meeting was held on October 13. If you missed the event, you can watch the recording at this link: https://aka.ms/dnf/all-hands-fall-2020.

Save the date for .NET Conf 2020 November 10-12

.NET Conf - November 10-12, 2020

.NET Conf is a free, 3-day, virtual developer event organized by the .NET Foundation, Microsoft, and the .NET Community. This year .NET 5 launches at .NET Conf and we're celebrating the 10th anniversary of the virtual event with some very special guests! Over the course of the three days you have a wide selection of live sessions that feature speakers from the community and .NET team members. There are sessions streaming for 24 hours between day two and three of the conference so everyone can get involved no matter what their time zone. You can ask questions live on Twitter, join the fun on Twitch, attend the virtual attendee party where you can play trivia games and win prizes. Best of all, you can take what you learn here and be a better .NET developer.

Save the date!

.NET Conf Virtual Tour

This year the .NET Foundation is supporting community-run virtual events to help spread the word about the .NET 5.0 release. We have partnered with organizers around the globe to bring you community virtual events between November 13, 2020 and January 31, 2021. Join your fellow developers in your local time zone and language to learn even more about .NET! Would you like to organize a virtual event for your community? Take a look at our "Event-in-a-box" on GitHub to help you. Let us know about your event by filling out the Virtual Community Event Request Form.

"The Maintainers" Video Series Needs You

Shawn Wildermuth is putting together a short video series about open source maintainers. You can view the existing episodes (with Brad Wilson of xUnit fame; and Jimmy Bogard of AutoMapper) by visiting the YouTube Playlist. If you're interested in being a part of the series, please contact Shawn on His Website.

.NET Foundation Project Updates

Project Spotlight: DNN

We are happy to announce the newest episode of the .NET Foundations' Project Spotlight, where we shine a light on some of the projects that are part of the Foundation by introducing one of the maintainers and showcasing ways to contribute.

This iteration features DNN (previously DotNetNuke) and we had one of the project maintainers, Mitchel Sellers on to talk about the goals of the project, how he got started, and what the experience is like for potential contributors. If you are a project maintainer and would like your project featured, plese feel free to file an issue here on the projects repo. Link to the latest spotlight, as well as past spotlights can be found at https://dotnetfoundation.org/projects/spotlight.

DotVVM: Join us at .NET Conf Local Event on November 16

The DotVVM team hosts a live-streamed event called DotVVM ❤ .NET Conf 2020 on November 16th 2:00 PM UTC.

You'll see new features we've added to DotVVM, and we'll share our future plans:

  • Support of .NET 5
  • How easy it is to "Add DotVVM" into your legacy ASP.NET apps
  • What's new in DotVVM 2.5
  • Roadmap for DotVVM 3.0 - JS modules & client-side extensibility, validation improvements, web components and more!

Register here!

New Projects

The .NET Foundation would like to welcome the following projects that joined in September and October!

nanoFramework .NET nanoFramework goal is to be a platform that enables the writing of managed code applications for constrained embedded devices. Developers can harness the familiar IDE Visual Studio and their .NET (C#) knowledge to quickly write applications without having to worry about the low level hardware intricacies of a micro-controller.
Xamarin Community Toolkit is a collection of common elements for mobile development with Xamarin.Forms that people tend to replicate across multiple apps. It simplifies and demonstrates common developer tasks when building apps with Xamarin.Forms.
Esquio is a Feature Toggles (aka Feature Flags) and A/B testing framework for .NET Core 3.0. Feature Toogle is a powerful technique that allows developers to deliver new functionality to users withouth changing code. Provides an alternative to to mantain multiples branches (aka feature branches), so any feature can be tested even before it is completed and ready for the release. We can release a version of our product with not production ready features. These non production ready features are hidden (toggled) for the broader set of users but can be enabled to any subset of testing or internal users we want them to try the features.We can use feature toogling to enable or disable features during run time.
DataGrid Extensions provides modular extensions for the WPF DataGrid control, like column filtering, Excel like copy/paste and more. Unlike many other free extensions this package does not introduce a new derived DataGrid class, limiting you a fixed set of features that you have to live with, but transparently attaches to the existing DataGrid, giving you the freedom to use exactly the feature you need, customizing them as you like, and combining them with other useful extensions.

New Releases

Chem4Word 2020

After many months of exhaustive beta testing, we released Chem4Word 2020. This release owes more to the underlying technology than the new features.

The most substantial change is the new molecule sketcher. The Advanced CML-based Molecule Editor, or ACME for short, is a completely C#/WPF-based component. We'd been using the GPL version of iChemLabs ChemDoodle for Web up to now, but we'd been dodging ongoing concerns over license compatibility. Eventually we bit the bullet, and wrote our own sketcher. This is ACME in action:


ACME can be dropped into any WPF or WinForms application, not just Chem4Word. Anyone writing a LOB cheminformatics application could use it. It is however limited to Windows Desktop applications. As Chem4Word up to now has been strictly Windows Desktop, then this hasn't been a limitation. Our calculation is that there is a lot of mileage left in the VSTO/C# approach to crafting Office Add-Ins. Time will tell whether this remains so, given Microsoft's ever-changing developer technology story.

Other changes would appeal to the chemist more than the informatics developer. We now support functional groups (shorthand for predefined layouts of atoms). We have also incorporated a unique library of 2100+ substances from essential oils. We've also improved performance, especially during rendering. Structures now render quicker and with much higher quality. The new Library component showcases these enhancements beautifully:


This has been a tough release to get out, especially given lockdown and the strictures of our new way of living and working. However, it provides a very much more solid foundation for future enhancements to Chem4Word.