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Microsoft will release Visual Studio for the Mac (update: it's here)

You don't have to run Windows to use one of the world's best-known developer tools.

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If you needed any further proof that Microsoft is welcoming cross-platform development with open arms, you just got it. In a prematurely revealed blog post, the company has revealed that it's working on Visual Studio for Mac -- yes, one of the mainstays of the Windows world is headed Apple's way. This isn't really intended for Windows development (you'd need Boot Camp or a virtual machine to run your creations), but you can write Android, iOS and Mac apps (thanks to Xamarin) as well as server software through .NET Core. And importantly, Mac and Windows users can share projects. You won't have to convert your work just to make sure that everyone in your team can use it.

You'll get to download a preview edition of Visual Studio for Mac sometime during Microsoft's Connect() conference, which kicks off November 16th. It's not certain when you'll see a finished version, but the timing of the preview likely puts the polished release sometime in 2017.

The Mac version may seem odd at first blush. Wouldn't this discourage developers from writing on or for Windows? However, it's more logical in the context of Microsoft's "mobile first, cloud first" strategy. If you're already building apps on a Mac, you might as well build them in a tool that makes porting to Windows easier -- and Microsoft would rather you write for its cloud platform on a Mac than risk losing you to a rival offering. The Redmond crew no longer benefits greatly from making you buy a Windows PC to write code, and the new Visual Studio reflects that reality.

Update: As promised, the Visual Studio preview is available to download.

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