First look: Visual Studio for Mac is here at last, almost

Xamarin-inspired IDE will allow C# and F# programmers to develop for iOS, Mac, and Android on a single machine, but is currently limited

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At a Glance
  • Visual Studio for Mac Preview

    Visual Studio for Mac is primarily a way to develop for iOS devices in C# and F# without needing both a Windows computer and a Mac.

Visual Studio for Mac is something that many Microsoft developers have sought for more than a decade. As Mac OS X became interesting in the early 2000s, coders who spent most of their days working in Visual Studio on Windows wondered why they couldn’t use the same languages, frameworks, and tools for the Mac, rather than needing to learn Objective-C, Cocoa, and Xcode, all of which were substantially different from the languages and tools for Windows development.

Many of us thought the ECMA standards for C# and the .Net Framework, and the Mono project spearheaded by Miguel de Icaza (first at Ximian, then Novell, then Xamarin, and finally at Microsoft), might provide a path to a unified development platform. I for one had no idea it would take so long, although I was aware of at least some of the rather Byzantine politics going on among the various interested parties, through my involvement with the .Net series of books. I was also aware of the reputation that both Mono and Xamarin had for being “a bit crashy.”

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