The 7 Best IDEs and Text Editors for C# Developers
Software developers use integrated development environments (IDEs) and text editors on a daily basis. Having a good text editor or IDE and knowing how to use it effectively is vital for productivity.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best text editors and IDEs you can use for your C# or Dotnet (.NET) development. We have something for everyone, whether you use macOS, Windows or Linux.
What is# ?
C# (“C Sharp”) is a modern, open-source, cross-platform programming language created by Microsoft. It is part of the .NET family of programming languages.
The C# language is robust and widely used in the corporate world. Its syntax resembles that of Java and it is object oriented. You can run and develop C# code on your macOS, Windows, or Linux PC.
Rider is a relatively new IDE, launched in 2017. The company JetBrains develops it, alongside many other world-class software development tools. These include IntelliJ IDE and PhpStorm ReSharper.
Rider is one of the best C# IDEs you can get your hands on. It is a powerful and lightweight IDE that comes with a lot of code refactoring and productivity improvements. You can start using Rider with a 30-day free trial, after which you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription.
More advanced Rider subscriptions include developer tools like dotTrace, dotMemory, and ReSharper. The basic subscription costs $150 per year at the time of this writing.
The IDE is available on macOS, Windows, and Linux and provides the ability to easily port code to all three operating systems.
Download: Rider (30 day free trial)
2. Visual Studio Code (VS Code)
Visual Studio Code or VS Code as it is commonly known is an open source and modern text editor from Microsoft. It is lightweight and uses minimal resources on your PC.
One of the unique features of VS Code is its ability to support multiple programming languages. There is support for Typescript and PHP, which is a plus for full-stack developers. VS Code is also very configurable and extendable via its extension market. The main extension for C# development is C# for Visual Studio Code by OmniSharp.
VS Code is available on all major platforms: Linux, macOS, and Windows. It is also natively supported on M1 silicon chips. You can even install and run VS Code on other arm-based systems such as the Raspberry Pi.
Download: Visual Studio Code (Free)
Eclipse is another solid and powerful IDE widely used by Java developers, but it also supports other languages like C and C++.
You can easily extend its functionality through plugins available on the Eclipse Marketplace. It also comes with code analysis and debugging tools. You must install the aCute plugin for a first-class C# development experience on Eclipse.
Eclipse is open-source and available on macOS, Windows and Linux.
Download: Eclipse (Free)
MonoDevelop is another solid IDE. It supports not only C# but other Dotnet family languages such as F# and Visual Basic.
The IDE has a wide range of features that allow developers to easily configure advanced projects or solutions.
Using MonoDevelop, you can easily transfer C# projects you created using Visual Studio to other operating systems. In fact, Visual Studio for Mac is based on MonoDevelop.
MonoDevelop is open-source and is available on all common operating systems.
Download: MonoDevelop (Free)
The editor is highly extensible through extensions, Atom is also easy to customize and configure to your liking. If you know the keyboard shortcuts from other text editors such as VS Code or Vim, you can easily transfer them to Atom.
The editor has a rich and integrated tool to work with Git or GitHub. You can run PowerShell or bash commands from the editor through its terminal window.
Atom is open-source and available for free on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
Download: Atom (Free)
Vim is a terminal editor that has been around for decades. You can use it for many tasks, from configuring system files to writing scripts and programming full-featured applications.
The Vim editor is robust, lightweight, and highly customizable. Vim also comes with a built-in tutorial to help you master using it in your daily workflow.
If you’re an avid Vim user, just install a few tools like OmniSharp, and you’ll be ready to develop in C# in this powerful editor.
Vim is open-source and available on Windows, macOS and Linux. Most Linux and Unix systems come with the Vim editor by default.
Download: Vim (Free)
7. Visual Studio
Last but not least is Visual Studio, a well-tested and reliable C# and .NET IDE that has stood the test of time; it has 25 years of existence in 2022.
Visual Studio is a powerful IDE. It has a wide range of features such as built-in git tools, code analysis and profiling, NuGet package management, and remote debugging. No wonder it is one of the most used IDEs by C# developers.
You can use Visual Studio to develop a wide range of applications ranging from console programs to desktop applications.
Visual Studio Community is free and available on macOS and Windows. For more advanced features and support services, you can purchase the Business or Enterprise editions.
Download: Visual Studio Community (Free)
Choose your IDE or editor
This guide has looked at some of the best IDEs or text editors you can use for your C# development, whether you’re on a Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.
A text editor or IDE is one of the tools you will use a lot in your workflow as a software developer. Choose the one that best suits your needs and learn to master it: know how to use shortcuts, customize and configure it, etc. for maximum productivity.
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