In these past few years Microsoft has kept a steady flow of new .NET Core versions: .NET Core 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 and so on and so forth.

If you have hundreds of applications in your company, it’s almost impossible to keep them updated to the most recent version of the framework, so most probably you’re going to end up having multiple versions running at the same time.

When trying to choose which versions are you going to support in your company a factor to consider is that only a few of those versions are long-time support (LTS). But what does it mean exactly? It means that only a few versions are supported for three years after the initial release.

If you want to know more about the .NET Core support policy click here: .NET Core official support

Here is a table showing which .NET Core versions are LTS and when the support ends.

Version Latest Update Support Ends
.NET Core 1.0 1.0.16 June 27,2019
.NET Core 1.1 1.1.13 June 27,2019
.NET Core 2.0 2.0.9 October 1, 2018
.NET Core 2.1 2.1.19 (LTS) August 1, 2021
.NET Core 2.2 2.2.8 December 23, 2019
.NET Core 3.0 3.0.3 March 3, 2020
.NET Core 3.1 3.1.5(LTS) December 3, 2022

So imagine you are working in a company, and you have to create a new .NET Core application and your company is mainly working with NET Core 2, maybe you should ask yourself, what version do I use? .NET Core 2.1 is a LTS release, should I use that version or should I use .NET Core 2.2 because it’s the newest one?

The same question can be arisen when moving to .NET Core 3, should I migrate my old .NET Core 1.0 to .NET Core 3.0 or .NET Core 3.1? That one is easier to respond because in that case the LTS version is also the newer one and every developer loves to use the latest tech possible.

Another possible scenario is that maybe my company only uses .NET Core 2 and I should prevent that anybody uses .NET Core 3.x because I’m not sure if it’s going to work as expected on production. And also I should not allow anyone to create applications targeting .NET Core 1.0 and .NET Core 1.1 because the support ended a year ago.

At the end of the day we could ask ourselves, how can I enforce that everyone on my team is using the correct framework version when they need to create a new application?
An easy solution to avoid having these kinds of questions and to avoid people using a framework version that could potentially be problematic when it ran on production is to create our own Roslyn Analyzer.

For those unaware:

  • Roslyn is the compiler platform for .NET. It consists of the compiler itself and a powerful set of APIs to interact with the compiler.
  • Roslyn code analyzers can inspect your C# code an enforce your own style, quality and maintainability rules.
  • Roslyn code analyzers can be installed per-project via a NuGet package.

One thing I always advise people is that if they have some time to spare they should try to build their own Roslyn analyzers containing their own code rules, pack them in a nuget and enforce that every application they create have the nuget installed.
That’s an easy way to reassure that every application enforces your own company coding rules.

Well, anyways, I could keep rambling about Roslyn for a long time, but let’s focus on building a Roslyn analyzer that validates the framework version of our application.

The C# code would be something like this:

using Microsoft.CodeAnalysis;
using Microsoft.CodeAnalysis.Diagnostics;
using System.Collections.Immutable;
using System.Linq;

namespace ATC.Analyzers.Rules
    public class CheckNetCoreFrameworkVersionRule : DiagnosticAnalyzer
        private readonly string[] _allowedFrameworkVersions = { "2.1", "3.1" };

        private const string CoreFrameworkString = ".NETCoreApp,Version=v";
        private const string DiagnosticId = "MyRule0001";
        private const string Title = "Application framework not allowed" ;
        private const string MessageFormat = "The application '{0}' has the attribute: '{1}', that does not match with the supported framework versions: '{2}'";
        private const string Description = "Right now we are only supporting applications targeting a LTS .NETCore version.";
        private const string HelpLink = "";
        private const string Category = "CustomRules.Maintenability";

        private static readonly DiagnosticDescriptor Rule = new DiagnosticDescriptor(
            description: Description,
            helpLinkUri: HelpLink);

        public override ImmutableArray<DiagnosticDescriptor> SupportedDiagnostics => 

        public override void Initialize(AnalysisContext context)

        private void AnalyzeMethod(CompilationAnalysisContext context)
            var attrs = context.Compilation.Assembly.GetAttributes()
                .FirstOrDefault(attr => attr.ToString().Contains("TargetFrameworkAttribute"));

            if (attrs != null)
                var attrString = attrs.ToString();
                var found = _allowedFrameworkVersions
                    .Select(version => $"{CoreFrameworkString}{version}")
                    .Any(pattern => attrString.Contains(pattern));

                if (!found)
                    var diagnostic = Diagnostic.Create(
                        _allowedFrameworkVersions.Aggregate((result, next) => $"{next}, {result}"));


Let’s describe what the analyzer does:

1 - Obtains the attribute “TargetFrameworkAttribute” from the Compilation object.

The TargetFramework attribute identifies the version of the .NET Framework that a particular assembly was compiled against.
The TargetFrameworkAttribute attribute can specify a FrameworkDisplayName property to provide a more descriptive .NET Framework version string that is suitable for displaying to clients of the assembly.
Source: MSDN

The attribute has the following format “.NETCoreApp,Version=vX.Y”, where X.Y is the framework version.
For example, on a .NET Core 3.1 console application the value will be:

System.Runtime.Versioning.TargetFrameworkAttribute(".NETCoreApp,Version=v3.1", FrameworkDisplayName = "")

2 - For every version we are allowing to use we build the pattern .NETCoreApp,Version=vX.Y. In our case we are building 2 patterns: .NETCoreApp,Version=v2.1 and .NETCoreApp,Version=v3.1 patterns.

3 - Check if the attribute value matches any of our patterns and if it doesn’t, raise an error.

Let’s test the analyzer. When we install the analyzer in a .NET Core 2.2 application we get the following error:

Framework .Net Core 2.2 error

When we install the analyzer in a .NET Core 2.0 app:

Framework .Net Core 2.0 error

When we install the analyzer in a .NET4.6.2 app:

Framework .Net Framewrok 4.6.2 error

In our Roslyn Analyzer we are looking for the TargetFrameworkAttribute attribute and only raising an error if the .NETCoreApp,Version=vX.Y value does not match, but we could apply the same principle if we wanted to enforce that only a specific .NET Framework version or .NET Standard version is used.
In those cases instead of looking for the value .NETCoreApp,Version=vX.Y we could search for the value .NETFramework,Version=vX.Y or .NETStandard,Version=vX.Y