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November 17, 2016

What is Visual Studio and why should you care that it’s now on Mac

A key developer tool from Microsoft is on it's way to the Mac community, with the offering shining a light on Microsoft's strategy going forward in an open source, sharing tech world.

By Ellie Burns

Mac users will be able to get Visual Studio for the first time starting in 2017, with the tech giant making the announcement at the Microsoft Connect 2016 developer conference.

Visual Studio is an IDE from Microsoft which allows users to create apps for the wearables, web, iOS and Android using the C# programming language. Why is this big news for the Mac community – well, it is somewhat of a milestone, with Microsoft bringing over one of its signature Windows developer tools to Mac.

Microsoft has always tried to keep developers within Windows, but in a move which may complement its Linux announcement and its new open, sharing ethos, Microsoft is now opening up the tool for those outside Windows.

This points to a clever strategy by Microsoft – the tech giant wants to be at the forefront visual studioof the open, sharing, open source tech world and wants to be seen as supporting other devices and operating systems. However there is a catch – they are willing to offer this support only as long as people use Microsoft services and software.

Visual Studio for Mac is currently only available in a free preview build. Supporting C# development of Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS, the platform also supports Azure and .NET Core for server-based projects. Other features include integration for NuGet packages and third parties like Git and Subversion.

Also announced at the conference was Microsoft’s platinum partner status with the Linux Foundation.  Significantly backtracking on Steve Ballmer’s 2001 statement that the open source community was akin to ‘a cancer’, Microsoft will donate $500,000 annually to the advancement and open source development of several projects.

Microsoft joins a host of other big names who are member of the Foundation, including Cisco, Fujitsu, Huawei, IBM, HPE, Intel, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung.

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