Microsoft inadvertently let the cat out of the bag earlier this week when it prematurely posted an announcement on its Microsoft Developer Network website revealing that Visual Studio, the company's "mobile-first, cloud-first IDE" (integrated development environment), was making its way to the Mac.
Microsoft quickly removed the post, finally reinstating it today after announcing a preview release of Visual Studio for Mac.
Microsoft made it official Nov. 16 during an on-stage demo at the Connect() developer event in New York City by showing how developers can use Visual Studio 2017 on Windows PCs, Xamarin and Visual Studio for Mac in their workflows.
"It allows you to develop mobile apps for iOS and Android on your Mac, in C# [C Sharp] with Xamarin. That's great, but we're also supporting cloud and server workloads. You can build .NET Core and ASP.NET Core applications and deploy those to Azure," said Nat Friedman, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Mobile Developer Tool unit.
Friedman is also the former CEO of Xamarin, on which Visual Studio for Mac is largely based. Microsoft acquired the mobile app development toolmaker early this year for an undisclosed amount.
Visual Studio for Mac is available at no extra cost to current Visual Studio subscribers, added Friedman. Microsoft is also readying a free Community Edition. The preview edition of the standalone developer software is available now as a free download via the Visual Studio website.
"Once you're up and running, you'll find the same Roslyn-powered compiler, IntelliSense code completion, and refactoring experience you would expect from a Visual Studio IDE," explained Miguel de Icaza, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft's Mobile Developer Tools group and co-founder of Xamarin, in a blog post. "And, 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."
Microsoft also used the occasion to announce the availability of the Visual Studio 2017 release candidate for Windows PCs. The new version includes time-saving enhancements like improved IntelliSense filtering, navigation tweaks and live code analysis.
The company today also took the wraps off its new Visual Studio Mobile Center, a cloud-based mobile app development and management platform that covers both iOS, Android and Windows and supports apps written in Java, Objective-C, React Native, Swift, and Xamarin. In addition, Microsoft announced the general availability of its collaborative DevOps platform offerings, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2017 and Azure Application Insights.
Of course, for the software developer community, the biggest news to come out of Redmond, Wash. software giant today is that the once-unthinkable had finally happened: Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation.
"This is a good day. There was a time when the software industry in general was defined by rivalry and a zero-sum game mentality," Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told eWEEK's. Sean Michael Kerner. "The biggest thing that open source and Linux has proven over the last 25 years is that sharing works, and you can better yourself and others at the same time."