Microsoft spoilt the surprise a few days ago by prematurely publishing a blog post, but today, it officially announced Visual Studio for Mac, bringing a version of its popular software development suite to Apple systems. Microsoft described it as a "one-stop shop for .NET development on the Mac, including Android, iOS and .NET Core technologies."
Microsoft said that VS for Mac includes "the same Roslyn-powered compiler, IntelliSense code completion, and refactoring experience you would expect from a Visual Studio IDE", adding:
Since Visual Studio for Mac uses the same MSBuild solution and project format as Visual Studio, developers working on Mac and Windows can share projects across Mac and Windows transparently.
With multi-process debugging, you can use Visual Studio for Mac to debug both your front end application as well as your backend simultaneously.
The company says that VS for Mac ties in perfectly to its 'mobile first, cloud first' mantra. For mobile development, software creators can expect:
- The full power of the beloved-by-millions C# 7 programming language
- Complete .NET APIs for Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS
- The Xamarin.Forms API abstraction to maximize code sharing
- Access to thousands of .NET libraries on NuGet.org to accelerate your mobile development
- Highly optimized native code backed by the LLVM optimizing compiler
Microsoft promises that integrating mobile apps with a cloud backend is exceptionally simple too, whether you're using a custom backend solution, or connecting with pre-packaged Azure services:
You can use .NET Core to build your own backend services and deploy these to your Windows or Linux servers on Visual Studio for Mac, while the project templates will get you up and running with an end-to-end configuration.
Additionally developers can easily integrate Azure mobile services into their application for things like push notifications, data storage, and user accounts and authentication with Azure App Services. This is available in the new “Connected Services” project node.
The first Visual Studio for Mac Preview is available to download today, but Microsoft says that it's already working to bring more features to Mac users in the coming months.