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Mono IDEs: Going Beyond the Command Line : Page 5

Choosing to develop for Mono no longer means that you're also have to throw away the advantages that integrated IDEs provide. Instead, you have a wide—and growing—range of Mono IDE options.

Building Mono Applications using X-Develop
The final IDE I'll discuss is X-Develop. While this IDE is not free, you can download a 20-day evaluation copy from the Omnicore software Web site. If you decide to purchase a full copy of this IDE, the going price is currently $149 USD for a single-user license.

Author's Note: It is my experience that X-Develop is currently the best approach for building Mono applications on Mac OS X, and well worth the asking price.

Perhaps the major advantage of this particular product is that you can install it on both Windows and Mac OS X as well as on numerous Linux distributions. Beyond this key benefit, X-Develop supports a number of bells and whistles not supported by SharpDevelop or MonoDevelop, for example:

  • Support for Microsoft .NET, Mono and Java development
  • Numerous Windows Forms and Gtk# visual designer tools
  • Integrated support for code refactoring and code metrics
I won't walk through the process of building a complete application using this tool, but for comparison purposes, the process begins similarly to others by creating a new solution using the Solution | New Solution dialog (see Figure 14).

Figure 14. The X-Develop New Solution Dialog: When developing a new solution, you choose your language and the project type from the Create New Project dialog.
Figure 15. The X-Develop IDE: This figure should give you an overall feel for X-Develop as opposed to other IDEs with which you may be familiar.
After creating the project, you may then select the Mono runtime version you wish to compile against using the Solution | .NET Framework menu option. You can add assembly references using the Solution Project Properties menu option. Figure 15 showcases the overall look and feel of X-Develop.

That wraps up this examination of three Mono-aware IDEs. Hopefully you are now convinced that you can happily build Mono-base software decoupled from the command shell. While it is true that a solid knowledge of the command line development tools is a very important aspect of working with the Mono platform, nothing beats the rapid application development provided by a full featured GUI programming environment.

Andrew Troelsen is a .NET trainer and consultant for Intertech Training, a .NET and J2EE education and development company. He is the best-selling author of numerous books on .NET and COM (including the award winning C# and the .NET Platform) and speaks at numerous corporate and academic conferences around the country.
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