Microsoft's new mobile app enables Windows developers to test on iOS

Microsoft made a preview of Visual Studio for Mac available in November 2016. With Live Player, iOS apps can be deployed directly onto an iPhone or other iDevice from a PC running Visual Studio, where the code can then be tested and debugged.

Microsoft announced Xamarin Live Player at its Build conference here this week. While this should streamline the development process, it's worth noting that a Mac is still required to submit an app to the App Store.

Aside from releasing the Visual Studio 2017 for free, Microsoft also released a preview for an improved Outlook for Mac for Gmail users.

Eliminating the need to have a physical Mac in their environment makes iOS app development easier for developers on Windows, said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas.

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Visual Studio for Mac is equipped with web tooling support for JSON, HTML, and CSS which are all important file formats to create a more responsive and awesome looking app. These apps allow you to write, execute, and debug code continuously on an iOS or Android device straight from the IDE.

The app will be deployed to Xamarin Live Player in the background, enabling you to develop and test your changes without having to recompile and redeploy the app. Here is a much closer look at Visual Studio. In fact, Microsoft also released Visual Studio for Macs at the event, allowing developers who prefer Macs to build apps on Visual Studio the same way they would on Windows. "Whether you use C#, F#,.NET Core, ASP.NET Core, Xamarin or Unity, you'll get a best-in-class development environment, natively designed for the Mac".

And yes, before you ask, the Live Player team has talked with Apple, and Live Player has been approved for distribution in the App Store. Both a traditional development cycle (write, compile, run, debug) or live mode, where the code is automatically recompiled and reloaded on a per-view basis continuously, are supported.

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