Novell’s Mono project has delivered its first Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Mono as well as a beta version of the next Mono platform.
MonoDevelop 1.0, with support for Microsoft’s .NET Framework 1.0, is an open source IDE for Linux developers building GNOME and ASP.NET applications. The IDE complements the Mono open source platform, which allows users to run .NET applications uncompiled on Linux, Mac OSX, Unix, BSD and Solaris.
Announced on Friday, just days before Novell’s Brainshare 2008 conference begins, MonoDevelop allows developers to easily port .NET applications built in Microsoft’s Visual Studio to Linux and Mac OSX. Many web applications and services are built using Microsoft's Visual Studio, C, C++ and C# development tools and programming languages.
The first generation toolset is an alternative to Eclipse, another major open source IDE. But MonoDevelop 1.0 is tied to Microsoft’s C# and the GNOME GTK#, while the more mature Eclipse is Java-based, says Miguel de Icaza, a vice president of engineering at Novell and chief of the Mono Project.
“It’s mostly bound to the language and platform. You would use Eclipse if you work mostly in the Java and JavaVM world and you would use MonoDevelop if you work mostly on the C#/.NET world,” de Icaza said. “Eclipse is more mature and has gone much farther beyond its Java core than MonoDevelop, Eclipse has and has also a fairly large community and is on their version 3.0 release.”
Although it is only a version 1.0 IDE, MonoDevelop offers support for programming in multiple languages, including C#, Visual Basic.NET, C and C++, Boo and Java (via add-in), an extensible design, editors and designers for ASP.NET and Gnome, source code control support, Unix packaging, command line tools and internationalization/localization. Developers have access to tools to design new user interface functions and custom widgets, as shown below.
The Mono project derives from another open source project called SharpDevelop, which develops a .NET Windows.Forms-based application. MonoDevelop has a Windows profile but "it is not our intention to compete with SharpDevelop as an open source IDE for Windows Programmers although there might be some overlap," according to the Mono blog announcing MonoDevelop.
In related news, the open source Mono project – sponsored by Novell -- also released into beta testing Mono 2.0 with support for Microsoft’s .NET 2.0 framework. The beta also includes a .NET 3.5 preview, improved Macintosh support and a migration analysis tool that helps Linux customers assess their platform for .NET applications. Mono 1.0 was released in July of 2004.
Novell acquired Ximian in 2003 and with it two open source projects -- Gnome for the desktop and the Mono open source platform.