.NET Programming for the not so Microsoft Minded

Posted by on Dec 14, 2009 in Technology

As as web application developer, I work in a number of vastly different programming languages.   Although there are many camps out there, I don’t really subscribe to one or the other.  I believe in the best tool (language) for the job.  Sometimes, my clients simply need a quick blog site.  Enter: WordPress or Joomla, written in PHP and modified quickly if needed.  Sometimes they want flashy realtime desktop type of web apps.  Enter:  Adobe Flex, with either a .NET or Coldfusion middletier.  I think all of these languages have their pros and cons.  In .NET, I use C#.  But herein lies the rub… I don’t like the Microsoft business model or their operating systems.  However, to actually develop a C#.NET application, I have to have a Windows based machine running Visual Studio.  This makes me irritable,  especially when dealing with legacy code (1.1 framework) versus newer apps (using 2.0 or 3.5).  In some cases, not only do you need Windows running Visual Studio, but you need multiple versions of Visual Studio (2005,2008, etc) to handle code written in different frameworks.  How ridiculous, I don’t even want to use Windows anyway, let alone bog it down with multiple versions of the fattest IDE ever written!  Enter:  Monodevelop.  Yay!

Monodevelop is an opensource IDE for Linux and now Mac OS operating systems that allows you to develop, compile, and deploy .NET applications.  Dig this,  the footprint is only 25MB in size.  Compare that to Visual Studio’s massive 1 GB+ per version.  With Monodevelop, you can also choose which framework to use, right there within the IDE.  It also comes with its own self-contained web server so you don’t need IIS or any of those type of trappings to develop with.  Now don’t get me wrong, you hardcore .NET developers are not going to wanna drop Visual Studio anytime soon because Monodevelop doesn’t have anywhere near the functionality of Visual Studio, especially when it comes to the powerful Intellisense features of VS.  But for the guys like me who only have to do a little .NET work now and again and have to maintain legacy .NET code, it is an awesome alternative.

For more info, you can visit the MonoDevelop website by clicking here.

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4 thoughts

  1. No knifing intended. I prefer the sword. 😀

    Ok so to recap: a few years ago VisualStudio was huge and did not support previous frameworks easily AND MonoDevelop was unstable. Today VS2008 is thinner and backward compatible for all you MS lovers AND MonoDevelop does a fairly decent job creating/maintaining .NET code outside of the MS world.

    So we all live happily ever after… I somehow just had a vision of Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, and LinusTorvald holding hands and skipping through the poppy fields of OZ. Bill Gates is now behind the curtain, pay no attention to him.

  2. Well to turn the knife a little more in my back I’ll give you extra leverage. Until recently MonoDevelop wasn’t even that stable and it still is several years behind the latest code out from Microsoft.

    I definitely agree that if you want to do .NET development a full MS box is essential. The way 3rd party tools are coming along but right now it’s just not feasible. It’s sad to, considering .NET is such a great platform and all 😉

  3. Hi Richard! Thanks for chiming in. I know you and I have had these friendly debates before and I will concede after our last bout that VS2008 fixed a lot of the discrepancies I mentioned in this post. But prior to VS2008, these were true.

    My point of the post still remains that development of C#.NET code in any environment outside of Microsoft is problematic at the very least. Yes, you can use Eclipse plugins, but I had very little success there. I just wanna give MonoDevelop props for making it SO much easier for guys like me.

    Remember the title of the post was specifically for “the not so Microsoft minded”. You probably do not fit into that category. Doesn’t mean I don’t luv ya… 🙂

  4. I call foul! 🙂 Not just because I like .NET but because several things are just wrong in this post.

    My current install of VS2008 is only 250MB on disk. VS2008 can (and as I understand it VS2010 will also be able to) support any framework from 1.0 up to 3.5 (4.0 for VS2010).

    It’s unfortunate that we have to have windows installed but there are many alternatives that can even alleviate that.

    MonoDevelop for Linux and maybe Apple (not sure about Apple).
    SharpDevelop for Windows.
    Eclipse for Windows, Linux and Apple.

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