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Q&A with Lluis Sanchez, Project Manager of MonoDevelop

by Jeff Martin on Nov 03, 2011 |

The MonoDevelop team has just released version 2.8 of their open-source IDE for .NET and Mono development. InfoQ took a moment to speak with MonoDevelop's project manager Lluis Sanchez to discuss this release and its increasing popularity on Mac and Windows.

InfoQ: MonoDevelop recently had two releases in quick succession, with MonoDevelop 2.8 and 2.6 both being released in the last 60 days. Was it planned to have a quicker release schedule?

Llouis Sanchez: Yes, we plan to do quicker releases from now on. We are changing our development model. New features are now being developed in branches, so we are ready to quickly release the master branch any time we need to.

InfoQ: Do you intend to focus on a fixed calendar release schedule or do you release when specific features are finished?

L.S.: We don't have a fixed calendar. We are going to release when there are important fixes or when a new feature is finished.

InfoQ: MonoDevelop 2.8 includes several features and improvements related to cross-platform support. Is there a main platform (Windows/Linux/Mac OSX) that the project focuses on or is attention split across all three?

 L.S: At Xamarin, we are focusing on Mac and Windows, because those are the platforms that our products support. We are also testing and building packages on openSUSE. There are contributors building packages for other Linux distros.

InfoQ: What is the most popular platform amongst users?

L.S.: The most popular platform right now is Windows, then Mac and then Linux. Linux used to be the most popular platform, but that trend changed when MonoDevelop started being used as core development environment of products by companies such as Unity or Xamarin.

InfoQ: What leads to this popularity on Windows in your opinion?

L.S.: I can only have some guesses about why we have more Windows users:

  • Many of the users come from Unity, which bundles MonoDevelop. Unity has many Windows users.
  • There are many more developers (in general) on Windows than on Mac and Linux, so the number of potential users is much higher on Windows.

InfoQ: Do you and the project actively solicit MonoDevelop's use by 3rd party tool makers such as Unity or is this a helpful by-product?

L.S.: We don't explicitly solicit use of MonoDevelop by other tool makers. MonoDevelop is an open source project, so any company can take it and use it in their products. We are happy to help them and take their patches to improve MonoDevelop.

InfoQ: What are some of the features you are most pleased with among these last 2 releases (2.6 & 2.8)?

L.S.: MonoDevelop 2.6 included a lot of improvements in all areas. Maybe the most important feature was the introduction of support for git as integrated version control system.

The 2.8 release was a shorter release, but it included a very important new feature (at least for Mac users) which is support for XCode 4. This change allows developing MonoMac and MonoTouch applications with Mac OSX Lion.

InfoQ: What are some of the key features you would like to see added in a future release?

L.S.: We are working on several new features. A very exciting one is a new parser and refactoring engine for C#, which will allows us to provide even better code completion support and more complex refactoring operations. We also plan to work on a new project template system, with support for on-line templates. We'll keep improving MonoDevelop in all fronts.

For more information on MonoDevelop 2.8, visit the "Whats New" page on the project's website.

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