.NET Development with Visual Studio on MacBook Pro


Photographed for Hotspot · Photo by Henrik Bäck

A couple of month ago I switched my Dell dev machine for a new MacBook Pro and it has been a joy ever since. Even though my main work still is in Windows and Visual Studio I much rather do it on a virtual machine on top of Mac OS X than on my old Dell.

I’m running Win7 virtually on VirtualBox complete with my dev tools, including Visual Studio and ReSharper.

For office and communication I’m using Office 2011 and Communicator 2011 for Mac and it works great!

Comments (26) -

  • Søren Spelling Lund

    2014-02-09 00:12:44 | Reply

    The Mac is a joy to work with and it looks pretty as well. I have to say that the hardware won me over big time. I've gotten used to the OS and actually enjoy it a great deal. Of course there are pros and cons of Windows and OSX both.

    I use much the same setup myself, but with minor differences. I was never a big fan of Outlook for the Mac (although it got better with Office 2011) so I used the built-in Mail app. These days though we've using Google Apps for mail and calendaring and I've completely given up on a desktop mail app. Everything is handled in the browser, which is a true joy.

    On the development side of things I too use Visual Studio, but flip flop back and forth between VMWare Fusion and Parallels depending on which is the faster. They tend to overtake each other with each new release and Parallels 6 is leading the performance race at the moment.

    • Rickard

      2014-02-09 00:13:47 | Reply

      Thanks for your comment Søren,
      have you ever tried VirtualBox? Would it be worth switching to Fusion or Parallels in terms of performance. Can you use virtual machines interchangeably between the different products?

      • AJAY

        2014-02-09 00:14:27 | Reply

        Hi Richard, Did you ever get a response to your question or find the answer?

        • Rickard

          2014-02-09 00:14:57 | Reply

          No, I didn't. If I had to choose now I'd go for Fusion in the first place. However, I've changed back to PC. I may return to Mac in the future. Time will tell.

  • Johannes Nyberg

    2014-02-09 00:16:56 | Reply

    haxxor Laughing blogga mer med dig Smile

    • Rickard

      2014-02-09 00:17:31 | Reply

      om du tittar i arkivet Johannes, så ser du att jag aldrig bloggat så frekvent som nu. Men. Jag har trappat upp nu och kommer fortsätta så frekvent jag kan. Mitt tips är att du börjar prenumerera på RSS-flödet med nån bra läsare som kan påminna dig om när mitt nästa blogginlägg dyker upp. Du kan också hålla koll på mitt twitter-flöde där jag alltid annonserar nya inlägg.
      Tack Johannes Smile

  • Jan

    2014-02-09 00:20:09 | Reply

    How is your experience with the loudness of the fans of your macbook? I'm using also Windows in VMWare-Fusion on a MacBook Pro and on a MacBook Air. Both are connected to a 27'' cinema display. After 10 or 15 minutes, the fans of the macbook are very loud. It's the same behavoir on both macbooks. That very angry for me, because the macbooks are normally very silent. Is this a problem of vmware or do you have the same problems with virtual box?

  • tastro

    2014-04-29 16:29:06 | Reply

    Why did you change back to PC?

  • Rickard Nilsson

    2014-04-29 19:12:54 | Reply

    I changed because of many small things but mainly it was the keyboard and key settings. I know a lot of Visual Studio and ReSharper short cut keys by muscle memory and switching to a different, however beautiful, keyboard slowed me down too much. I did not have the patiance to relearn, especially when a lot of key combinations require one of a few extra keys on the mac compared to windows.

    • Kaveh Hadjari

      2015-12-05 22:36:08 | Reply

      Hi Rickard, I'm thinking about getting a Macbook Pro for work. Since you mentioned the keyboard issue, I wonder did you experience same said issue with key mappings when using an external windows keyboard with Visual Studio + Resharper running in vm on your Mac ? Myself I don't really code much on the go, so I wouldn't be bothered with mainly working using an external keyboard.

  • Tastro

    2014-04-30 12:43:54 | Reply

    Thanks for your reply! I was thinking of changing to a macbook pro retina, because the screen looks really good to me (that was the only reason, and the better high-resolution scaling compared to windows). But i guess that i will just wait for something new to come out. Smile

  • Deepankar

    2014-08-10 05:43:53 | Reply

    Which laptop did you change back to then, As i am also planning to buy a new ultrabook and was getting inclined towards buying the mac with just Windows OS.

  • Dan McCrady

    2014-08-29 18:50:06 | Reply

    I recently switched to a macbook pro retina.  I like the keyboard and touchpad better and it is great for browsing the web, but I feel less productive when trying to code on it.  I think I may switch back to Windows as well...

  • Sebastián Silva

    2014-09-17 04:00:23 | Reply

    Hey !! I've been using Visual Studio 2013 in a Bootcamp partition running Windows 8 on a Macbook Air mid-late 2013. Do any of you guys how to type special unicode characters such as light shade (alt 176) in Mac OSX Mavericks ? ... When i type alt 176 in my macbook air keyboard, nothing happens. Thanks for the answers.

  • Miguel Cruz

    2014-10-06 12:39:59 | Reply

    Ha ha ha, oh well, I see from your comments that you changed back to PC, I guess the joy went away...

    I'm experiencing with the same change myself, will see how long I can make it !

  • Shaveen

    2014-11-01 22:12:08 | Reply

    I have the MacBook Pro and I dual boot a Windows 7.  I mostly use Windows 7 for my .NET development and the fact that I have Office installed in there as well.

    Since I got the MacBook I hardly ever used the Mac OS.  I could never get used to it at all.  I preferred the Windows all the time anyways.  Recently Yosemite was installed and I must say that the GUI is really done well.  I still can't find a way to run Visual Studio natively on the MacOS so I have to stick to my Windows for serious development work.  

    I really think its a matter of who gets there first.  Either its Microsoft or Apple.  Get to the child that is.  I was brought up on Windows and its very very difficult to learn or appreciate any other OS.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Pavan

    2014-11-29 13:39:42 | Reply

    Thanks for the blog post. Just curious how is the speed/performance, when you run VS 2013, SQL Server 2014 Management studio and debugging web app...? Any sluggishness or slowness compared to native Windows laptop?

  • Thomas

    2014-12-03 06:35:58 | Reply

    This is common, I actually switched to a Macbook Pro for my VS development and loved it at first but soon realized it was really a compromise and went back to a PC. Virtualized you bought an expensive machine to run Windows at a reduced speed, if you Bootcamp it you lose the great battery life. And you hit the nail on the head when it comes to keyboard shortcuts. The whole experience left me realizing its right to pick the best tool for the job.

  • Lance

    2015-05-04 00:05:53 | Reply

    Funny, my experience mirrors yours.  I switched to a MBP, after a couple of months I ended up always in Windows via Bootcamp, and after six months, I never booted into OSX.  While it wasn't horrible, it certainly wan't the best solutions.  The battery life was terrible.  So here I am, also back in windows with a high end Lenovo T440s, and couldn't be happier.

  • Rickard Nilsson

    2015-05-08 09:48:34 | Reply

    What I loved with the mac was its looks and metal finish, light weight and nice screen. When I ordered my current dev machine those were the things I wanted in a windows laptop + a good keyboard and obviously maximum speed and memory. I've been running a Dell Precision M3800, fully speced, for several month now and its awesome!

    • Rickard Nilsson

      2017-02-19 10:14:07 | Reply

      ...until it wasn't any more. To be a premium workstation it sure has a lot of defects in the hardware. The fan was broken on arrival, I had to replace the motherboard twice and finally the screen turned dark on the left edge. The last one wasn't covered by the support package so I had to go shopping.
      Finally I got my hands on the new 13" Macbook pro with Touchbar, which I'm running as a windows machine using bootcamp. It the best dev box I've ever had. Better performance than the Dell and the size and weight is amazing.

  • Pav

    2015-06-28 19:56:20 | Reply

    I like your article, but reading through the comments I felt that I need to put record straight as there is new version of visual studio being released soon for mac how ever it will not be fully featured as on windows for now.  I fully appreciate that at the time of comments this might not be true.

    Ps I am going for MacBook Pro and vs together too

  • Pankaj Chhabra

    2016-01-08 09:20:46 | Reply

    I am using Dell M 4800 and it is the one of the fastest laptops. It has 32 GB RAM.

  • Michael

    2017-09-13 14:17:53 | Reply

    Hey. Good article! How did you managed to work with the mac keyboard and visual studio nowadays? I'm looking also to get a mac, but thinking at these changes: do i ever have to service it to clean of dust / how is the heat when vm is up / keyboard in vs .

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.