Microsoft brings Visual Studio to Linux, Macs

The new Visual Studio Code aims to help coders get their apps on Microsoft's Azure cloud service

Breaking out of its Windows ecosystem, Microsoft has introduced a version of the Visual Studio development tool that can run on Linux and Apple Mac machines.

While Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) was built to help developers create Windows applications, the new Visual Studio Code is free and designed to simplify how developers deploy their code to Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

Microsoft introduced the new software at its Build 2015 conference, being held this week in San Francisco.

The software supports "dozens of languages" and comes with many of Visual Studio's advanced features, such as the IntelliSense code suggestion tool. It also offers full support of the open source Git code management repository, said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft cloud and enterprise group, during a keynote at the conference.

Microsoft described Visual Studio Code as a "code optimized editor," rather than an IDE, which is how Visual studio itself is described.

Both, however, have been designed to work with Microsoft's cloud-based code management service, called Visual Studio Online, which offers continuous integration, load testing, performance management and other tools.

Porting elements of Visual Studio to other platforms indicates that Microsoft is willing to sacrifice relying on Windows as its core platform, in favor of attracting more users to its Azure cloud services.

The company also released a cross-platform version of .Net runtime that can run on Windows, Mac and Linux. While the source code for the cross-platform .Net has been available since last year, this new downloadable version is in binary form, meaning it can be run immediately, without compiling the source code first.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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