Novell Launches Mono Tools for Visual Studio

Novell announces the release of its Mono Tools for Visual Studio, a set of development tools designed to facilitate the development of .NET applications for Linux, Unix and Mac OS X within Microsoft Visual Studio.

Novell Nov. 10 announced the release of its Mono Tools for Visual Studio, a set of development tools designed to "facilitate the development of .NET applications for Linux, Unix and Mac OS X within Microsoft Visual Studio."

The Novell technology is available as an add-in module for Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE (integrated development environment), and it enables ".NET developers to utilize their familiar Visual Studio environment to design, code and maintain multiplatform applications," Novell said in its news release.

Mono Tools for Visual Studio comes one day after Microsoft announced its acquisition of the Teamprise cross-platform development technology from SourceGear. The goal of Teamprise is similar to that of this new Novell technology, which is to enable cross-platform application development by Visual Studio developers. Novell said:

""Mono Tools for Visual Studio is a commercial solution that enables C# and .NET developers trained in Microsoft Visual Studio to stay within their preferred IDE, and use their existing skills and extensive .NET ecosystem of code, libraries and tools to develop or port applications to Linux, UNIX or Mac OS X. Prior to Mono Tools, .NET application porting required developers to invest heavily in learning new programming tools and rewriting/re-architecting applications. With Mono Tools, developers trained in the popular Visual Studio IDE can utilize their existing skills and expertise to build multi-platform applications and identify related issues, isolating and fixing them directly within Visual Studio.""

"Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated environment that helps simplify the entire development process from design to deployment," Cyrill Glockner, director of Business Development, Platform and Tools at Microsoft, said in the statement. "With the Microsoft Visual Studio Industry Partner program (VSIP), we support the development of tools that seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Visual Studio and help our customers achieve success. Mono Tools for Visual Studio enriches the Visual Studio ecosystem, making it possible for the over 6 million engineers targeting .NET to gain additional value from their Microsoft tools and skills."

"We know that Visual Studio developers are very comfortable with their IDE and they have no [intention of switching] from it," Joseph Hill, Novell's product manager for Mono, told eWEEK.

Pablo Santos, CEO of Codice Software, said in the Novell release, "Our customers want options for Linux, as well as Unix, Mac OS X and Windows, so multiplatform support is a critical feature for us to offer in our product. Plastic SCM, our flagship software configuration management product, is largely implemented in C# because we find it to be the most productive language. By using Mono Tools for Visual Studio, we can now develop and debug on Linux quickly and easily using our preferred programming language and development environment."

"While Linux presents software vendors with a host of new opportunities, developers familiar with .NET tools can find Linux application development tools challengingly different and unsuitable for their needs," Al Hilwa, program director for Application Development Software at IDC, said in a statement. "Products like Mono Tools that enable .NET developers to better leverage the Linux platform increase their market opportunities and ultimately strengthen the reach of the .NET environment itself."

Mono Tools for Visual Studio was "built by many of the engineers who develop and support Mono," a Novell-sponsored project that aims to deliver an open-source equivalent to .NET, the company release said. "Through a pull-down menu and other integration points in Visual Studio, Mono Tools enables developers to leverage the multiplatform coding, testing and debugging functionality of the Mono platform, all while staying within Visual Studio."

"We were focused on our own tool up until Visual Studio 2008, which was when Microsoft and the VSIP program relaxed a restriction that said you couldn't do a tool that targeted another platform," Hill said.

The release said:

""Key features of Mono Tools for Visual Studio include:??Ç Development and porting of .NET applications to Linux, UNIX and Mac OS X with analysis, testing, debugging and deployment all from within Visual Studio. Using Mono Tools for Visual Studio, ISVs, corporate developers and development services providers can dramatically cut the costs of multi-platform application development and save time in porting existing .NET applications to non-Windows platforms.??Ç Creation of turnkey virtual appliances and software appliances for .NET applications using integrated appliance building functionality. Mono Tools for Visual Studio delivers out-of-the-box integration with SUSE Studio Online, an innovative, easy-to-use hosted tool that enables users to rapidly build and test appliances based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or openSUSE. ISVs and development services providers can immediately fulfill demand for appliance versions of their existing applications, thus increasing revenue opportunities while simplifying application support and accelerating sales cycles.??Ç Integrated porting analysis tools that provide .NET developers a road-map to Linux, Mac OS X and UNIX. Many .NET developers today lack an approach or even an idea of where to begin an application port to non-Windows platforms, a challenge quickly solved with Mono Tools.??Ç Ability to run and debug applications in Mono within Visual Studio to isolate incompatibilities between Mono and .NET and between Linux and Windows-issues which may affect cross-platform application development.??Ç Automated packaging for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and openSUSE to prepare applications for immediate deployment on Linux."With Mono Tools for Visual Studio, we are bridging the gap between Visual Studio, one of the world's leading development platforms, and Linux, one of the world's leading deployment platforms," said Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and vice president of Developer Platforms at Novell. "Customers have been asking us for an easier, [simpler] and streamlined process [by which] to port their .NET applications to Linux, UNIX and Mac. By integrating our tools right into Visual Studio, we are enabling developers familiar with Windows and .NET to quickly bring their applications to the Linux market, and ISVs to offer their software as ready-to-run appliances.""

Novell's Mono Tools for Visual Studio is available in three product editions. The Professional Edition costs $99, the Enterprise Edition, which covers one developer in an organization, costs $249, and the Ultimate Edition costs $2,499 and provides "a limited commercial license to redistribute Mono on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X and includes five enterprise developer licenses," Novell said.