MonoDevelop isn't bad, but I really prefer VisualStudio

In my last entry I described how I decided to do my iOS development on MonoTouch. Now I discuss how despite the increased efficiency of a familiar language (C#), I still struggled with the MonoDevelop IDE.

First, let me say that my dissatisfaction with MonoDevelop (MD) is in due to comparing it to Visual Studio (VS). According to Wikipedia, VS started in 1997. Clearly it isn't fair to compare the maturity and depth of features of a product that has been under development for more than 13 years to one that is only a few years old. Also, I'm sure the size of the development teams are greatly unequal. Despite that, the reality for me was that I found MD falling short of what I was used to wanted.

I noticed on the MonoTouch Roadmap page that they plan to extend Mono for Visual Studio to "allow developers to use Visual Studio to develop iPhone applications", but since no timeline is given I have no idea when this will happen. So, I tried to do something on my own.
MD saves projects in the same format as VS, so my first thought was to just open the project there and see what happens. I tried this, but VS complained of some error. I did a search and found a page suggesting a solution called VSMTouch.

The solution was to convert the MD projects so that VS can open them. Although the format of the files are the same, the MD projects refer to certain iPhone specific libraries, which don't exist on a Windows PC, of course. What this means is that even using VSMTouch will create a project that can be open in VS, but can't be compiled.

Well, although that  allows me to edit in my familiar environment, I still was not satisfied. VS has some great features that require the ability to compile (e.g., FxCop and built-in unit test framework). Also, I knew that I would want the ability to run my game relatively often as I develop it to test new things. Additionally, in the long term, MT plans to support Android, and Windows Mobile 7 will support .NET out of the box, so there are strong incentives for me to be able to develop more fully across platfroms.

Next time: Divide and Conquer.

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