The 7 Best IDEs and Text Editors for C# Developers

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The 7 Best IDEs and Text Editors for C# Developers

By Mwiza Kumwenda

Published 3 hours ago

A programmer is only as good as her toolset! If you develop with C#, make sure you're using a capable text editor to ease the task at hand.

Software developers use Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and text editors every day. Having a good text editor or IDE and knowing how to use it efficiently is vital for productivity.

In this guide, we'll take a look at some of the best text editors and IDEs that you can use for your C# or Dotnet (.NET) development. We've got something for everyone, whether you're using macOS, Windows, or Linux.

What Is C#?

C# ("C Sharp") is a modern open-source and cross-platform programming language that Microsoft created. It is part of the .NET family of programming languages.

The C# language is robust and used widely 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.

The C# language is very versatile too. You can use it to develop a wide range of applications including desktop apps, microservices, Azure functions, mobile apps, and web APIs. You can even run C# code in your browser just like JavaScript using WebAssembly (WASM).

1. Rider

Rider is a relatively new IDE, that launched in 2017. The JetBrains company 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 boasts many code refactoring and productivity enhancements. You can start using Rider on a free trial for 30 days after which you have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription.

More advanced Rider subscriptions include development tools such as dotTrace, dotMemory, and ReSharper. The base subscription costs $150 per year at the time of this writing.

The IDE is available on macOS, Windows, and Linux and offers the ability to easily port code across the three operating systems.

Download: Rider (30-day free trial)

2. Visual Studio Code (VS Code)

visual studio code start page

Visual Studio Code or VS Code as it's popularly 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 several programming languages. There's support for Typescript and PHP which is a plus for full-stack developers. VS Code is also very configurable and extensible via its extension's marketplace. The core 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's 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)

3. Eclipse

Eclipse is another solid and powerful IDE that is widely used by Java developers, but it also supports other languages such as C and C++.

You can easily extend its functionality via plugins that are available in the Eclipse marketplace. It also comes with code analysis and debugging tools. You should 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)

4. MonoDevelop

mono develop ide

MonoDevelop is another solid IDE. It supports not only C# but other Dotnet family languages such as F# and Visual Basic.

The IDE boasts a wide range of features that makes it easy for developers to set up advanced projects or solutions.

Using MonoDevelop, you can easily port C# projects that you've 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 mainstream operating systems.

Download: MonoDevelop (Free)

5. Atom

Atom is a powerful and lightweight text editor, backed by GitHub and its community. Apart from the C# language, Atom supports several other languages such as JavaScript and HTML.

The editor is highly extensible via extensions, Atom is also easy to customize and configure to your liking. If you are familiar with keybindings from other text editors such as VS Code or Vim, you can easily transfer them to Atom.

The editor boasts a rich and integrated tool for working with Git or GitHub. You can run PowerShell or bash commands from within the Editor via its terminal window.

Atom is open-source and available for free on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Download: Atom (Free)

6. Vim

Vim is a terminal editor that has been around for several decades. You can use it for many tasks, from configuring system files to writing scripts and programming full applications.

The Vim editor is robust, lightweight, and very customizable. Vim also comes with an integrated tutorial to help you master how to use it for your daily workflow.

If you are an avid Vim user, simply install a few tools such as OmniSharp, and you'll be all set to develop in C# within 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

visual studio community ide 2022

Last but definitely not least is Visual Studio, a well-tested and trusted C# and .NET IDE that has stood the test of time; it clocks 25 years of existence in 2022.

Visual Studio is a powerful IDE. It boasts a wide range of features such as integrated git tools, code analysis and profiling, NuGet package management, and remote debugging. No wonder it is one of the most widely used IDEs among C# developers.

You can use Visual Studio to develop a wide range of applications 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 buy the business or enterprise editions.

Download: Visual Studio Community (Free)

Choosing 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 are on a Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.

A text editor or IDE is one of the tools that you will use heavily in your workflow as a software developer. Choose one that best suits your needs and get to master it: know how to use shortcuts, customize it and configure it, etc. for maximum productivity.

About The Author

Mwiza Kumwenda (55 Articles Published)

Mwiza develops software by profession and writes extensively on Linux and front-end programming. Some of his interests include history, economics, politics & enterprise-architecture.

More From Mwiza Kumwenda

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