Mac Developers: Microsoft’s Visual Studio for Mac Is Here

Today Microsoft has released Visual Studio for Mac, which it previewed at the Microsoft’s Connect(); 2016 developer event. It’s exciting news for developers who want to develop for Windows without giving up their Apple devices.

Visual Studio for Mac

Scott Guthrie, vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, gave details in a statement:

We want to help developers achieve more and capitalize on the industry’s shift toward cloud-first and mobile-first experiences using the tools and platforms of their choice. By collaborating with the community to provide open, flexible, and intelligent tools and cloud services, we’re helping every developer deliver unprecedented levels of innovation.

This is a big deal for both Microsoft and the developer community. In the past, Microsoft locked in developers to the Windows platform, and that was the only way you could use Visual Studio. But under Satya Nadella, the company is gradually opening up and changing the way it views Windows. Like in 2015 when Visual Studio Code launched on Windows, macOS and Linux.

Visual Studio for Mac on the desktop.
Visual Studio for Mac software.

Technical Details

Visual Studio for Mac borrows from Xamarin Studio as well as Visual Studio for Windows. Microsoft wants to encourage iOS and macOS developers to use its tools without having to give up Apple’s platform or buy a separate device.

The Mac version comes with JavaScript IntelliSense, on top of the Roslyn Compiler Platform. This lets developers code faster and cuts down on errors. The project system and build engine uses MSBuild, while the source editor supports TextMate bundles.

Via Xamarin, Visual Studio for Mac supports native iOS, Android and macOS development, and supports server development with .NET core and integration of Azure. Developers can use it to create cloud, mobile and macOS apps using .NET and C#.


The IDE is ready to download as long as your Mac is running OS X El Capitan 10.11 or higher. There are three versions available: Visual Studio Community, Visual Studio Professional, and Visual Studio Enterprise.

Microsoft markets Community as its free IDE for students and indie developers. Professional is for small teams with subscription benefits, and those with large-scale users and projects should check out the  Enterprise version.

Cloud subscriptions are also available, with yearly and monthly options available to users wanting the higher-end Visual Studio plans. An annual subscription to Visual Studio Professional costs US$539/year while a monthly subscription costs US$45/month. For Visual Studio Enterprise, users will pay US$2,999/year or US$250/month. Subscribers will be able to earn small credits back each month for the yearly tiers, based on their use of different Azure services.

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