Project Rider A Cross Platform C# IDE
Written by Ian Elliot   
Monday, 25 January 2016

Microsoft has gone open source crazy and you can now use C# under Linux or OSX as well as Windows. The problem is that Visual Studio isn't cross platform. So what do you use?

JetBrains has stepped up to the mark and started Project Rider - a cross platform IDE for C# based on IntelliJ and ReSharper.  Unlike ReSharper, which is hosted as part of Visual Studio, Project Rider is a standalone IDE that runs under Windows, OS X and Linux.

More importantly in these days of confusingly different implementations of .NET, it can build and run .NET Framework, Mono and DNX projects.

At the moment it can only debug .NET and Mono projects but DNX and CoreCLR support will be added later. 




It is a full function editor and IDE which will surprise no-one familiar with any of JetBrain's IDEs. This is not the sort of thing you want if you still believe that the only way to program is with Emacs or whatever. You get intelligent navigation, auto formatting, smart editing and lots of help with code generation and refactoring. It even supports the Alt+Enter keypress that offers the programmer suggested ways to fix code problems. There is also a decompiler that helps you explore types that you don't have the code for. You can create projects directly from templates and there is version control support. 


Project Rider from NDC Conferences on Vimeo.


What is a bit of a surprise is how Project Rider has been put together:

"..instead of reimplementing ReSharper’s features on the IntellIJ Platform, which runs on the JVM, we’re using ReSharper in a headless mode, out of process, and communicating with it via a very fast custom binary protocol. As such, the backend continues to be ReSharper written in C# running on .NET or Mono, and the frontend is written in Kotlin, talking to the IntelliJ Platform’s APIs."

So at least someone is using Kotlin! JetBrains started work on the Kotlin, an open source JVM language that can interoperate with Java, about five years ago. The fact that JetBrains is making use of it might encourage others to take it more seriously.  

Now we come to the slight problem with Project Rider - it is not open source. JetBrains changed its licencing method at the end of 2015 and this annoyed a lot of its users. Things have quietened down following some concessions, but many users have taken Project Rider as another opportunity to talk about licensing.

At the moment pricing hasn't been established and JetBrains say that it will be inline with other products in the JetBrains Toolbox. Many JetBrains products have a community edition, but it isn't clear that Project Rider will. Given the emphasis on open source in the new .NET world it seems odd that its new cross platform IDE isn't open source - but JetBrains have to make a profit to build the tools.


More Information

Project Rider – A C# IDE

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 November 2016 )