To those who have been living under an anti-Microsoft-news rock for the last few days, .NET 6 and all of its associated goodies have arrived, bringing with it C# 10, performance improvements and a boatload of new features.

Talk about .NET to anyone outside of the ecosystem (and some in it) and you'll find they're still confused by "what means what", will ask "which version do I need" and will oft' respond "is that the language you have to pay for the IDE to use?" to any news about it.

You see, in changing the names of the platform so many times (and continuing to maintain and promote the 'legacy' versions in top level documentation and marketing resources), the barrier to entry has been raised rather than lowered.

Documentation, blog posts and educational resources make continuous references to its confusing past and primary IDEs and tools such as Visual Studio 2022 and Rider still contain default templates to create projects in old versions and new.

A screenshot of Rider's "New Project" screen

How is a newcomer to the .NET platform supposed to get up to speed quickly and understand what the hell is going on when there are duplicate options that seem to do the same thing?

How in the world are they supposed to recover their enthusiasm when they choose the wrong option and the tutorial they're following does not work?

How is this a good start for anyone trying to get started in a new ecosystem?

To advance the adoption of modern .NET, we need to stop promoting older versions and talking about them as often.

That means not mentioning the difference between the language definition and its implementation to beginners unless asked and not encouraging the use of older versions.

It means making a conscious effort to let the older versions of .NET fade into the ether.

It means making tools, libraries, documentation and tutorials that we produce cater for new users and reducing the visibility of older versions (whether that be moving them to a separate menu entry or putting them under an "Old versions" page).

It means explaining the benefits of upgrading to businesses when the investment of time is worth the return it provides.

In time, the barrier to entry for newcomers to the ecosystem should be lowered and we can view the confusion as a relic of the past. Many (including Microsoft themselves) have already made good steps towards this, but there's more that can be done.