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.NET Framework 4.6.2 Delivers WPF and Security Improvements

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The latest release of the .NET Framework provides several new features centered around WPF and security— including some long-awaited improvements to ClickOnce deployed applications.  Microsoft released a preview of .NET Framework 4.6.2 back in late March and now developers can take advantage of the release’s new features in their own projects. 

A notable accomplishment for the Base Class Library (BCL) is elimination of the 260 character file name maximum length requirement.  Often the bane of developers across the .NET universe 4.6.2 removes this historical limitation.  An additional benefit of this enhancement is that it is possible to opt-in to this new behavior for applications targeting a previous version of the .NET Framework that are running on 4.6.2.  This means that an existing application targeting .NET 4 could run on 4.6.2 without the MAXPATH limitation by using an AppContext switch in the application’s configuration file— no recompilation needed.

Moving along to the Base Class Library changes, many developers will be pleased to see that the CLR has laid the foundation to change more information with Visual Studio regarding NullReferenceExceptions.  This should allow the debugger to identify null references and share that information with you.  

Applications deployed via ClickOnce can benefit from the presence of new support for both client certificates and TLS 1.1 & 1.2.  This means applications distributed through ClickOnce can now benefit from modern encryption protocols and the accompanying security that enables. 

Several cryptography enhancements are featured in 4.6.2 including:

  • Support for the FIPS 186-3 digital signature algorithm on X509 certificates
  • Improved usability for the class providing the Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman algorithm
  • Support for persisted-key symmetric encrytion
  • SignedXml support for SHA-2 hashing (includes 6 new SHA-2 algorithms)

Details about this release are available from Microsoft’s Stacey Haffner.  Haffner also provides a complete changes for 4.6.2 as well as a diff of API changes.  Microsoft has provided a web installer, offline installer, and a developer package.  Those developers running Windows 10 with Anniversary Update already have 4.6.2 installed on their system.

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