Microsoft has announced a new version of Visual Studio – but this one is for Mac. Microsoft has not had much presence for developers on Mac – ever; recently, Microsoft did release the Visual Studio Code – a lightweight source editor – for many platforms, including Mac.
Visual Studio for Mac does not share any resemblance with Windows IDE in regards to its interface. Microsoft decided not to reinvent the wheel and stick with already established projects; Visual Studio for Mac is based on the same open-source MonoDevelop IDE as Xamarin Studio is.
There are, however, a few things common – Visual Studio for Mac uses the same Roslyn Compiler Platform for its IntelliSense and refactoring; meanwhile, the project system and build engine uses MSBuild; the source editor also supports TextMate bundles.
The debugger engine is also the same one used for Xamarin and .NET Core apps and the inbuilt designers are from Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android.
For now, Visual Studio for Mac doesn’t support all the project types that its Windows counterpart does – but the ones it does support, are inter-compatible, so you can switch and share between Windows and MacOS without any hiccups. It also does support both C# and F#.
Cloud and Mobile
Microsoft’s focus with the MacOS version is on mobile and web development – at this moment, it supports native iOS, Android and Mac development via Xamarin, and ASP.NET server development with Azure integration via .NET Core.
Microsoft’s goals with this release, are thus, obvious; this is meant to increase development of MacOS and iOS software on top of Microsoft’s Core – leading to easier ports for the Windows platform. It does not support building Windows Store packages right now – but it might in the future, and that’s when things get interesting.
The more iOS and MacOS apps use Xamarin, the easier it would be to port these apps to Windows and Android.
Microsoft’s blog post tells us to visit https://www.visualstudio.com/ to download a preview of Visual Studio for Mac; it seems, however, that the release of said preview is planned for the Connect(); event starting from November 16th.
We will update this post with a link to the preview – when it is released. You can read more about Visual Studio for Mac at Microsoft’s MSDN blog.