Getting hands on with Visual Studio for Mac, containers, and serverless code in the cloud

Craig Dunn

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This week we released the second alpha of Visual Studio for Mac version 7.2, as well as some hands-on labs to try out some of the new features.

Visual Studio for Mac 7.2 Alpha

The alpha version of our next Visual Studio for Mac release includes new features such as:

  • Docker Containers – Join the microservices revolution, by testing and deploying your ASP.NET Core web apps to Docker containers. Visual Studio for Mac’s Docker support lets you easily deploy to a container as well as debug projects across multiple containers. Check out the hands-on-lab below to get started!
  • Xamarin Live Player – Get started building Xamarin mobile applications in minutes! Visit to learn how easy it is to try out mobile app development with your existing iOS or Android device and Visual Studio for Mac.
  • Azure Functions – Build and deploy serverless code in the cloud. Functions can be accessed by mobile or server apps, scheduled or triggered, and you only pay for the time they run. Follow the hands-on-lab below to write your first Azure Function.
  • IoT projects – Build, test, and deploy apps for Internet of Things devices. You can write IoT apps using C#, and deploy them to a Raspberry Pi, following our simple instructions.

To try out these features, download Visual Studio for Mac and switch to the alpha channel in the IDE.

More Hands-On Labs

Our latest hands-on labs for Visual Studio for Mac will help you get started with new features available in the 7.2 alpha. Visit the VS4Mac labs GitHub repo for past weeks’ projects using the Unity 3D game engine, Internet of Things devices, ASP.NET Core web sites, and Xamarin for mobile app development.

Today we’ve published two additional labs using: Docker Container support and Azure Functions projects.

Lab 5: Deploying ASP.NET Core to a Docker Container

Lab 3 demonstrated how to build, test, and debug an ASP.NET Core website on your Mac. This lab will show you how to run and debug an ASP.NET web site and web API in Docker containers, by completing these 4 tasks:

  1. Create a Docker-enabled ASP.NET Core web site
  2. Create a Docker-enabled ASP.NET Core web API
  3. Integrate two container apps
  4. Debug multi-container solutions

Follow the complete instructions to set up the two ASP.NET Core projects, make them work together, and debug them simultaneously.

Lab 6: Serverless computing with Azure Functions

“Serverless computing” is a new type of cloud feature where you can host a “function” without having to worry about setting up a server, or even an application, to run it in. Simply build and deploy your Azure Function, and it will be automatically hosted and scaled as required. You only pay for the time the function is running, it can respond to application requests, you can set up triggers, and it can access many different Azure services.Deploying ASP.NET Core to a Docker Container

To build your first Azure Function and get started with serverless computing, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Create an Azure Functions project
  2. Create an Azure Storage account
  3. Create and Debug an Azure Function
  4. Work with function.json
  5. Work with Azure Tables

The hands-on-lab instructions will walk you through creating the Azure Functions project in Visual Studio for Mac, deploying it to Azure, and persisting data with Azure Tables. This feature is so new it is only available in the Alpha channel release of Visual Studio for Mac. You’ll need to install an extension for Azure Functions, which the instructions will help you with.

Get Started

Download Visual Studio for Mac today, and visit the VS4Mac labs repo on GitHub. Both this week’s labs just scratch the surface of the capabilities being demonstrated: Docker support enables new testing and deployment options, and Azure Functions opens up a new, easier way to interact with powerful Azure services.

With the Visual Studio Community edition it is easy and free to get started. Check out the docs for more in-depth information on Visual Studio for Mac, and leave a comment below to suggest additional hands-on-labs you’d like to see.

Craig Dunn, Principal Program Manager @conceptdev Craig works on the Mobile Developer Tools documentation team, where he enjoys writing cross-platform code for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows platforms with Visual Studio and Xamarin.


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