How Does Visual Studio For Mac Work? Top IDE For Developers

Visual studio for mac

If you want to create games, mobile apps, or interactive websites, you might want to try Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac.

This robust IDE software can help you manage your programming code and debug your application while developing it. And that is just the beginning.

If you are a new developer with an Apple desktop and you are looking for work, you definitely want to get fluent with Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac. This is the top IDE for developers, and knowing how to use this platform could make or break your job search.

What Exactly Is An IDE?

programming enviroment


The acronym IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment. This is a suite of software tools wrapped up in a package designed to help programmers develop, debug, and launch software.


Examples of popular IDEs include:

  • NetBeans
  • PyCharm
  • Eclipse
  • Komodo
  • Android Studio

IDEs have their strengths and weaknesses. Different IDEs have different types of coding projects they specialize in. Some, for example, specialize in Android development.


Some IDEs offer different options for version control. For example, NetBeans uses Subversion (.svn) for version control. Microsoft Visual Studio uses Git (.git).

Some IDEs offer different options for version control. For example, NetBeans uses Subversion (.svn) for version control. Microsoft Visual Studio uses Git (.git).

Visual studio for mac


Integrated Development Environments are also really useful when you are collaborating with others in code development.


And these days, no professional software company would dare develop programming code without using an IDE. It is an essential part of a developer’s toolkit these days. You really can’t get along without it.

What Is Microsoft Visual Studio?


Microsoft Visual Studio is the most popular IDE being used by developers right now.


It was originally designed for the Windows platform, but now it is available for Apple MacIntosh computers as well.


In fact, the Visual Studio for Mac software has been rebuilt from the ground up – designed natively – for the Mac platform by Microsoft. This has been done with an eye towards creating an optimal user experience and smooth workflow for Mac-based developers and programmers.


According to Microsoft’s documentation, Visual Studio for Mac supports the following different forms of software development:

  • Mobile with .NET: Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS
  • Mac desktop apps
  • .NET Core applications
  • ASP.NET Core web applications
  • Cross-platform Unity games

What Can Microsoft Visual Studio For Mac Do?

man programming


As an IDE, Microsoft Visual Studio is an extremely robust development platform that has all the features you would ever need for launching and managing a project. Here are just a few of these great features:

1

Collaboration And Version Control With Git

Proper version control is a very important part of development, and if you do not have that set up and working properly, you will have a mess with your code.


What is version control? If you are new to programming, it can be a little confusing at first, but don’t worry, you will get it eventually.


Basically, if you are working on a coding project, and you have another developer working on the same project, you could conceivably overwrite each other’s code when it is uploaded to a shared server. Version control software takes care of that problem by tracking and managing changes to software code under development.


If you are working on an app or program all by yourself, using version control is still a very good idea. It is a way to back up your code and also keep track with different code versions. You can see what you have changed and when, and easily revert back to an earlier version of the code if something is not working properly.

Your code is managed in code repositories, or “repos” for short.


Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac uses Git (or .git), which is a very popular system of version control. You can use your own Git repository, upload your code to GitHub, or use Microsoft’s own Visual Studio Team Services.


A basic GitHub account is free, and it is the most popular cloud repository for Git projects.

2

Rich Code Editor

Back in the day, programming code was edited with simple editors that did not alert you to potential mistakes or errors. Forget one closing bracket or semi colon, and the entire program could be screwed up.


Going manually through hundreds of lines of code, especially after you have been pulling a late night, is a frustrating way to debug.


A rich code editor like the one in Microsoft’s IDE Visual Studio is so helpful in cases like these.


Using different colors, it highlights various parts of the code, so you can more easily see what is going on.


The rich editor will also let you know if a bracket or semi colon is missing, and, it often pinpoints exactly where the missing punctuation mark is. (This is not infallible. Sometimes the code knows there is an error, but you have to search a little bit for it. Still, this is a lot easier than using a plain black and white text editor.)


The editor can be set to work with a specific language, so it will check your code as you type it.

3

Integrated Android SDK Manager

Rather than installing a separate IDE for Android app development, you can use Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac. The Android designer allows you to visually construct user interfaces, so you can see what you are building as you build it.

4

iOS Designer

Of course, if you are using a Mac, you probably want to create apps for iPhones and iPads. Visual Studio for Mac has an easy drag and drop interface and visual editing capabilities for .xib and Storyboard files. Develop user interfaces in iOS, tvOS, and WatchOS.

5

ASP.NET Core For Modern Web Apps

If you are still making web pages in HTML, stop it. That is soooo 1998. Web pages really need to be interactive these days, not static lumps of disengaged content that just sit there and collect dust on a server somewhere.


With Visual Studio, you can easily work on web page front ends with a graphical web editor and then push your new web page to the cloud directly from the software platform.

6

Cross Platform Game Development

Visual Studio for Mac uses Unity to create games that can run on multiple platforms, including mobile smart phone and tablets, desktop computers, consoles, websites, virtual reality apps, and augmented reality apps. Unity is a 2D and 3D gaming development platform that has a massive international community.

7

Xamarin Framework Support

Xamarin is a framework and a set of compilers that works as a .NET implementation on platforms other than windows. With the Xamarin support built into Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac, you can use XAML-based user interface code across Android, iOS, and macOS without having to worry about losing native functionality.

How Much Does Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac Cost?


The costs for Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac depend on who is using the software and what for. There are three main levels of users, and the cloud-based software is sold on a subscription basis. The cloud subscription pricing applies to both Windows and Mac versions, and you can likely have a team using both Windows and Mac versions of the Visual Studio IDE software.


(This information is current as of this writing only and may have changed by the time you are reading this article.)

1

Microsoft Visual Studio Community for Mac

This is a free version of the software designed for individual use. Students are also the target audience for Visual Studio Community for Mac. Additionally, if you are coding an open source application, then you can use this version of Microsoft Visual Studio for free.

FREE

2

Microsoft Visual Studio Professional For Mac

This is the level for small development teams, such as what you might find at a small to mid sized company. The professional license for Microsoft Visual Studio Professional is $45 per month or $539 per year.

$45 mon / $539 yr

3

Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise for Mac

For larger businesses, Microsoft has an enterprise package. A monthly enterprise-level subscription to Microsoft Visual Studio costs $250 per month or $2,999 per year.

$250 mon/$2,999 yr

Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac


Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac is an excellent IDE that you can use on Apple’s MacIntosh platform. With varying levels of subscriptions and a free version, it is an affordable option for the individual developer and small team. As the most popular IDE being used by now by developers around the globe, knowing Visual Studio for Mac will not only help you with your projects, but it is a good thing to know for your career.