Visual Studio is available now on Mac. Or not?
As rumored, Microsoft released Visual Studio Code for MacOS. However, there is some fine print. Contrary to what the name suggests, Visual Studio Code for MacOS is not the Windows equivalent; it’s a rebranding of Xamarin Studio IDE, a C# development environment for the Mac, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year. The rebranded tool doesn’t offer new features that weren’t already available in Xamarin Studio, so, for now, mobile development is the only thing you can do with Visual Studio for Mac.
So, why name the newly launched product Visual Code for Mac when it’s not Visual Studio? Naming was never a Microsoft strength. For example, Outlook for Windows is different from Outlook for iOS. Xbox Music – the music streaming service that can be used on any Windows (including Xbox consoles), iOS or Android device was renamed Groove after users were confused on whether they needed an Xbox to stream music. Needless to say, Groove also caused some confusion since there was already another service called the Groove Music App. Microsoft chose to buy the service. The Metro fiasco and the SkyDrive trademark suit are also some of Microsoft’s famous naming controversies. However, with Visual Studio for Mac, it’s more of a marketing move. We’ll see how this plays out, especially since Microsoft won’t be able to provide a feature parity for the two platforms.
While it may seem odd that Microsoft is encouraging developers to use Microsoft’s technologies on other platforms than Microsoft’s Windows, it fits Microsoft’s mobile first, cloud first strategy. While the company still makes a significant profit from selling Windows licenses, its main focus is promoting cloud offerings. Basically, Microsoft doesn’t care what platform you are using to write code, as long as you keep the windows open for porting your code to Windows. Rather than having you entirely flee to a rival platform, Microsoft is fine with you using a Microsoft product on a Mac for writing code.
While Visual Studio for Mac has little resemblance to the Windows counterpart, it can access some of the tools used by Visual Studio for Windows like IntelliSense code completion system, the .NET Compiler Platform Roslyn or the MSBuild platform. Download Visual Studio for Mac from here, and see if it suits your needs.
Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate is Here
On a similar note, Microsoft launched the release candidate of its Visual Studio “15” (yes with the quotes), also known as Visual Studio Next, now renamed Visual Studio 2017. The general version should be available in early 2017. The new version enhances refactoring, code generation, code analysis and testing, and advanced debugging and profiling. Visual Studio Community is available for download here.
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Microsoft Launches a New Hub for Developers: Visual Studio Mobile Center
Microsoft also released a preview of the new Visual Studio Mobile Center, a portal which will allow developers to access Microsoft’s extensive portfolio of services. Visual Studio Mobile Center will increase discoverability and will help developers build, test, distribute and monitor apps built in Java, Xamarin, Swift or Objective-C. The HockeyApp, a tool for deploying beta versions of mobile apps, or the Xamarin Test Cloud, a tool for testing mobile apps on a wide variety of mobile devices, are some of the service available on VS Mobile Center. The SDK is supported for the Android, iOS, Xamarin and React Native Platforms. Full documentation is available here.
If you want to keep in touch with the latest news from Microsoft’s Connect developer conference, have a look at MSDN Connect page for all the announcements.
One last note, Microsoft also revealed that it’s now a part of the Linux Foundation.