During the Build 2017 opening day keynote, Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2017 for Mac is now generally available. There are several other Visual Studio announcements as well.
“Visual Studio for Mac brings the integrated development environment (IDE) loved by millions to the Mac,” Microsoft noted this morning. “Developers get a great IDE and a single environment to not only work on end-to-end solutions—from mobile and web apps to games—but also to integrate with and deploy to Azure. Whether you use C#, F#, .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, Xamarin or Unity, you’ll get a best-in-class development environment, natively designed for the Mac.”
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Microsoft first announced Visual Studio for Mac last November, and it triggered a bit of soul-searching at the time. But the product makes tons of sense given Microsoft’s strategy of reaching developers where they are. And of course, Visual Studio for Mac is an updated version of what used to be Xamarin Studio for Mac.
As noted earlier:
Visual Studio for Mac is an “evolution” of Xamarin Studio. This makes sense, since Xamarin already had a Mac version of its development environment.
The UX is “inspired” by Visual Studio for Windows. Visual Studio for Mac is “a counterpart of the Windows version of Visual Studio at its heart,” Microsoft says, and it has a familiar workspace with a tabbed source code editor, Solution and Toolbox views, and more. But it also looks like a “native citizen of macOS.”
The underpinnings are the same. Visual Studio for Mac uses the same Roslyn Compiler Platform and MSBuild project system and build engine we see on Windows. This means that, in compatible project types, you can switch between Windows and Mac, or share projects across the platforms.
Mobile first, cloud first. This somewhat over-hyped term is in fact accurate in this case as Visual Studio for Mac supports mobile apps (“native iOS, Android and Mac”) via Xamarin and server (i.e. cloud) development with .NET Core with Azure.
It’s focused on C#. While Visual Studio for Windows supports multiple languages out of the box and is extensible to support many others, Visual Studio for Mac focuses on God’s perfect language, C#. (OK, it also supports F# too.) In fact, Visual Studio for Mac is written entirely in C# itself.
A few other Visual Studio notes from today’s keynote:
Visual Studio 2017 version 15.2 is available, offering bug fixes and new functionality such as the return of Python workload and Data Science workload (includes R, Python, and F#), and improved support for Typescript 2.2.
Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3 Preview includes “bug fixes, improvements in accessibility, and new functionality; most notably .NET Core 2.0 preview support, Live Unit Testing for .NET Core projects, more C++ standard conformance, enhancement in continuous delivery for ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core projects targeting an Azure App Services, and improvements in container development tools.”
The .NET Core 2.0 Preview allows developers to use and expanded set of APIs—for XML, Serialization, Networking, IO, and many more—to write once and run on multiple .NET runtimes, including .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin and Universal Windows Platform.
The ASP.NET Core 2.0 Preview gains new capabilities include Razor Pages, a lightweight syntax for combining server code with HTML, streamlined startup, and further performance improvements.