Parallels: Using Visual Studio on OSX

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Parallels Desktop for Mac is a hypervisor-based virtualization solution that makes it easy to run any number of operating systems inside separate windows on your Mac desktop. For developers, this means you can simultaneously run Xcode on Mac and Visual Studio on Windows 8. The Parallels window behaves like a normal Mac window, so you can copy content from your desktop and place it directly into the Parallels virtual machine instance just as you would from one Mac window to another. You can even run Visual Studio (and other Windows applications) directly on the Mac OS X desktop (no Windows VM window, just the app).

For cross-platform development of iOS apps, Windows Store Apps, and Windows Phone 8 apps, Parallels is unparalleled since you can work with two different operating systems and related dev tools at the same time, in the same session, from the same desktop.

Here, Kurt Schmucker, a product manager at Parallels, gives a brief summary of Parallels Desktop and demonstrates how to run Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 on your Mac without rebooting to a Windows partition first. Kurt demonstrates the Visual Studio Windows Phone emulator running along side the Xcode iPhone emulator.





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    The Discussion

    • BobTabor

      I honestly can't believe this is on a Microsoft website.  Smiley  Kudos for recognizing that some of us are closet Mac guys who also do a lot of work in Windows.

    • Manesh Lad

      Do you have a guide on how you got the windows phone 8 simulator setup to work?

    • Tidjani

      @Manesh Lad: for the Windows Phone emulator, if you have Parallels or VMWare Fusion, it just work. No tweaking required Smiley I tested both the Windows Phone 7.5 emulator on Windows 7 and Windows Phone 8 emulator on Windows 8, and they just work. Although the WP7.5 emulator is a bit slow. However, the WP8 emulator works great!

    • Tidjani

      @Charles: thank you for this video. As Bob Tabor mentioned, it's quite surprising. A happy surprise, though.

      But, just curious, is there any reason why you presented Parallels specifically? Not sure about the voice dictation feature, but for all the rest, VMWare Fusion 5 has all the features you presented and it is half the price of Parallels... For what I know, Parallels is better than Fusion for all that's related to gaming and graphic card management, which is (most of the time) not a big deal when it comes to using a VM for development purposes.

    • Charles

      @bob and @ Tidjani: You're welcome. For cross-platform development, the experience of running VS next to Xcode is quite awesome. I do it on my MacBook Air and love the Parallels integration with the Mac environment. Since you can easily run Windows 8 and VS in a Mac window on the OSX desktop, how could we not love that. Smiley

      If you're a Mac developer, then you'll love using our free tools to extend the reach of your apps to our platform and Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 users, most importantly. Code on.

      Rock and roll,

    • tomkirbygre​en

      Its worth mentioning you can achieve exactly the same thing with VMWare Fusion. My current Windows 8 / Surface RT dev environment is a MacBook Air, running Wndows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 on Fusion. Then wirelessly deploying and debugging onto the Surface, works like a charm. 

      Added to which io have XCode 4.5.2 sitting right there too, so I can do my iOS coding as well as ( important I think this if you're really into cross platform C++ ) use a LLVM / Clang based tool chain.

      The only downside is the level of DirectX support available through Fusion. It's not quite high enough to actually do C++ AMP on the metal. Does Parallels enable C++ AMP on a 2012 MacBook Air? Those MacBooks Airs have the Intel HD 4000 embedded GPU which does support the required DirectX feature level. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone doing 'AMP work on a Air.

    • tomkirbygre​en

      The cool part of Parallels / Fusion based set ups like this for 'native' developers ( outside of Microsoft I don't know of any C++ dev that uses the native moniker ) is that you really can, like the dream ( walk the walk and talk the talk ) of writing your engine / model code in ISO C++ 11 and then, with some care as to current compiler support for language features, have the same code running side by side. C++ 11 with Objective C under CocoaTouch and then the same C++ 11 with C++ CX under WinRT.

      At which point, while we're talking language feature support and cross platform, any update on how the 'Milan' VC++ November 2012 CTP is doing? Are we close to RTM? I could really use variadics and uniform initialisation Smiley

    • Charles
      @dot_tom: Indeed. Well put, Tom. In terms of Milan, we talked about it a bit in the latest GN ctor. C
    • The Sombrero Kid

      Or you could do the smart thing and run the mac in a vm and not have to endure osx for any longer than necessary.

    • Dan

      I'd rather just run in bootcamp - then i wouldn't have to bother with OSX at all. I wonder when it will support Windows 8?

    • freefly

      I wish microsoft and you guys who work for microsoft realize the significance of the post and comments. Just take a moment and think about the shift... the question is, are you guys aware of this change toward "i" products ? and what are you guys doing about it ? You guys give away the mobile space and allowed two other companies to take the lead. I can see you guys making same mistake in the tablet space as well. I dont really see any shift within microsoft. The developer space on different microsoft platforms are sort of fragmented... no clear insight or road maps. Products lights up and discontinued with in 2 or 3 releases like XNA, Expression studio. No idea what happened to C++/CLI. Internet Explorer extensibility has gone with the wind... and many more...
      You all may realize why people are after Mac Books. It is plain simple it is visually more appealing to any product in the market. Many disregard retina displays yet many people like to have that high pixel density and buy "i"products even if they have to sell their houses. They push hardware innovation and Microsoft simply sit and wait for the OEM to do something.
      Looking at this whole picture, I wonder whether I am living in a Hippocratic world or you guys at microsoft is doing something wrong.

    • freefly

      I can't believe he even said... "Virtual Studio" for Visual studio :-)

    • Tidjani

      @The Sombrero Kid: Did you try installing Mac OS X on a VM and do iOS coding? I did, and sadly it doesn't work that great (especially the iPhone emulator) ... It works better the other way (Mac OSX running Windows in a VM).

      It's not a Mac vs Windows kind of point of view. I'm jus sharing my own experience here Smiley

    • dtower

      @freefly:There's been a shift for sure but I don't feel so surprised that c9 would have a video about cross platform development. MS and Apple are partners in many ways and most of the people who are Apple customers run Windows as their main OS. Most of the people I know who carry macs around have Windows loaded on them one way or another.

      I also don't think MS is sitting and waiting for the OEMs anymore. See the Surface / Surface Pro.

    • Kurt​Schmucker

      @Manesh Lad:Parallels has a KB article on setting up the Win Phone emulator:

      This should answer all your questions.

    • freefly

      @dttower: I am not sure Surface has enough to push the envelop just yet. I have one and it feels like an unfinished product to me. People only use the kick stand and keyboard only when there is a table or hard surface available and that is only on rare occations... and only then the classic windows mode is used. A mobile device like that lack the focus on Mobility. Metro has the typography and visually pleasing text presentation but it doesn't translate well with user experience towards UI elments and controls. I think the tablet OS should be more than just the start screen with tiles and the Metro Apps in it, it should be an OS that is designed from bottom up towards mobility, form factor and ease of use. I thought Microsoft must have learned from their mistakes... since they had to do 3 different versions of Windows mobile OS to get it right. Look at them they are still sort of hanging on the thread with Nokia. Hopefully that will change, I really hope things to change.
      Surface has its own problems. Horrible battery life, frequent crashes, hang ups, hick ups and internet explorer in metro misses painting parts of a page... that too frequently. Connect Site is simply a joke. I am afraid, milking the old cow (windows) for everything isn't going to work. Microsoft clearly is playing the catching up game. Microsoft need lot more research in the Mobility area.
      Why do Apple still dont allow the OSX to run on VM ? They want to pack their OSX with there beautiful hardware. That in itself is a huge advertisement for them. They dont want the OSX to as a VM running on top of a Windows PC.

    • Chris

      Parallels is good software, I run Visual Studio 2012 on it with no problems on my MAcBook AIr - very fast

    • Macaruchi

      Great video.

      That demo looked very smooth.  Is there a way for us to find out what are the specs on the Macbook he was using?  RAM, Processor, etc?



    • DharmeshSoft

      i dont need to get other HD for window

      its realy wow.............Smiley

      at last window make a hole in MAC Tongue Out Tongue Out

    • Kurt​Schmucker

      Macaruchi wrote

      Great video.

      That demo looked very smooth.  Is there a way for us to find out what are the specs on the Macbook he was using?  RAM, Processor, etc?


      I was using a 15" Retina MacBook Pro. Here are some of the specs:

      2.7 GHz Intel i7 with 16GB of RAM

      Nvidia GeForce GT 650M with 1GB RAM (standard on the Retina)

      768GB SSD 

    • Kurt​Schmucker

      , Kurt​Schmucker wrote

      I was using a 15" Retina MacBook Pro. Here are some of the specs:

      2.7 GHz Intel i7 with 16GB of RAM

      Nvidia GeForce GT 650M with 1GB RAM (standard on the Retina)

      768GB SSD 

      This is one really great Mac, but you won't need this much horsepower to effectively use Visual Studio on a Mac.

      Of all these specs, the most important is RAM. Depending on the size of your VS project, you might need to give Win 8 a gig or two (or more) of RAM, and you, of course, don't want the Mac OS starved for RAM, so an 8GB Mac is the smallest I would recommend. A fast processor is always great, as is a fast disk, but an SSD is not required.

    • Berengar


      I'm running newest Parallels 8.0.18354 here with Win8 under osx 10.8.2 on a Retina 15" Mac and I encountered following issues that I'm not happy with:

      a) cannot copy & paste or drag & drop between the two OS

      b) when running a wpf control from visual studio 2012 e.g. a window with 1920x1080 dimensions, the elements within the view are displaced, besides the window is not being shown in native res

      Any suggestion would be great Wink

    • Kurt​Schmucker

      @Berengar: I suspect that you do not have the Parallels Tools installed. Parallels Tools are installed in the guest OS and provide support for copy & paste, drag & drop, and Retina resolution in Win7 and Win 8 guests.

      To install the Parallels Tools, bring your guest OS window into focus, and then choose "Install Parallels Tools" from the Virtual Machine menu in the Mac menu bar.

    • Stanislav

      I had been using Parallels 8 for a while, but on my just installed Macbook Air 2012 it hung when trying to either go into sleep mode or when awaking.

    • EdSF

      Awesome informative video!

    • Berengar

      @KurtSchmucker: Thanks! Things work just fine now, copy&paste too.

      Though still debug resolution in VS2012 is not native, is it some settings in VS itself ?

      Scrolling in browsers on win when comparing Chrome, IE and FireFox, in FF is the smoothest, has this inertia like on my macs native apps...


    • Royce Nobles

      Thanks, great video! I'm running Parallels Desktop 8 on my Macbook Pro Retina for about 3 weeks now and very impressed. Getting the resolution for Windows 7 correct too some experimenting, but now it's beautiful, solid, and extremely convenient.

    • Charles

      @Royce Nobles: Excellent!

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