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Is Microsoft bringing Visual Studio to the Mac?

It is likely that later this week, Microsoft will be announcing Visual Studio for Mac. Is this really true? Why would they do this? What does it mean for Xojo users?

Visual Studio for Mac
Visual Studio for Mac

Earlier this year, Microsoft acquired the mobile development tools company Xamarin who had their own IDE which runs on Mac and Windows. Microsoft is going to be shipping that IDE branded as Visual Studio for Mac. So while there will be a product from Microsoft called Visual Studio for Mac, it’s not really Visual Studio.

Visual Studio for Mac (formerly Xamarin) is focused mostly on mobile development. For example, there’s no cross-platform drag and drop support for desktop user interface nor do I expect there will be as Microsoft has no shortage of software available for Windows. It uses C# and F# and is aimed at the professional developer, not the citizen developer for whom Xojo is primarily designed. Xojo, on the other hand, is for much more than mobile development. Xojo gives users an easy to use drag and drop interface designer with a simple, modernized BASIC syntax that builds applications for macOS, Windows, Linux, the web, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many other ARMv7-based devices. The web is one platform Xojo supports that is worth calling out since unlike ASP from Microsoft, building web applications with Xojo requires no knowledge of HTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, and PHP. With Xojo, building web apps is nearly identical to building desktop or mobile apps.

Why would Microsoft want to convert Xamarin into Visual Basic for Mac? While Microsoft is the 800-pound gorilla in terms of desktop market share, they are in a very distant third place on mobile. Their goal in buying Xamarin and marketing the Xamarin IDE as Visual Studio for Mac is to get developers building their mobile apps for iOS and Android in C# to make it as easy as possible to then port those apps to Windows 10 Mobile.  Their ultimate goal is to make more apps available for the relatively anemic Microsoft mobile platform.

For Xojo users, this doesn’t really mean much. While 25% of our users are full-time professional developers, most started as citizen developers and they are our primary focus as they make up 50% of our users. Having said that, our goal has always been to make Xojo easy for those learning programming for the first time, hobbyists, citizen developer and professionals. We will continue in our quest to make Xojo a tool that someone can use at any stage of their interest in software development.

Lastly, reporters enjoy hearing  from those that use a particular product or service they write about. If you read stories about Visual Studio for Mac, please write to the reporter and let them know about Xojo. The more people who talk about Xojo, the more likely we are to grow the Xojo community.

Join the discussion on the Xojo Forum here.