Microsoft has announced it’s launching its primary coding interface, Visual Studio, on Mac computers. The news may sound uninteresting, but it’s been a long time coming, and is a big shakeup for the company, which has previously preferred to lock developers into its platform by keeping coding tools Windows-only.
The change comes as Microsoft shifts its focus to its money-making cloud operation. While programming tasks in the past might have been carried out on local servers, they’re now increasingly using platform-agnostic cloud services like Azure (from Microsoft) and AWS (from Amazon). By making Visual Studio cross-platform, Microsoft will be hoping to retain professional users that want to work on their projects from any operating system they like. The software is based on app development platform Xamarin Studio, and the change could encourage Mac and iOS developers to make more apps for Windows, as these users will no longer have to buy a Windows computer or set up a virtual machine to access Visual Studio.
The news follows a similar announcement from earlier this year, when the company announced it would be adding native support for Linux command line Bash to Windows for the first time ever. As Microsoft's Scott Hanselman said at the time, adding Bash support was "brilliant for developers that use a diverse set of tools" — launching Visual Studio for Mac is a similar move.
A preview of the software will be unveiled at Microsoft’s Connect developer event later this week. For more information including technical details, head over to Microsoft’s blog post announcing the news.
Update November 14th, 8:54AM ET: Seems like Microsoft hit publish on this one a little early and has taken down the original blog post. You can find the cached version here.