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Visual Web Developer on a MacBook

After getting increasingly frustrated with a 5-year old operating system (Windows XP) I decided to buy a MacBook. But what's an ASP.Net developer to do when they rely on Visual Studio? Why - run it on a Mac.

I present, Visual Web Developer on a Mac:

VWD on MacOS

Here are the exact steps to do this. First you need the brilliant Parallels Desktop for Mac Virtual Machine with Windows installed. The trick is to use RDP to display only the Visual Web Developer window within the Mac environment using the open source rdesktop and seamlessRDP.

With the developer tools installed from Apple's install CD, I did the following from a terminal:

$ cvs login
$ cvs -z3 co -P rdesktop
$ cd rdesktop
$ ./bootstrap
$ sudo -s
# ./configure
# make
# make install
# exit

Create a shell script containing:
/usr/local/bin/rdesktop -A -a 16 -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe C:\Program Files\
Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\VWDExpress.exe"

replacing the IP address above with the IP address of your Windows VM. Name the shell script "seamless".
Make it executable:
$ chmod 755 seamless

On the Windows VM, grab from and extract into c:\seamlessrdp
Make sure you've opened up the Remote desktop port in the Windows Firewall and allowed users to connect via remote desktop in the System control panel applet.

Log off from Windows. You won't get the single-window experience if you're not logged off. Also, it's a good idea to turn the screen saver off.

Then from the Mac, run:

$ open-x11 seamless

And hey-presto! Visual Web Developer running inside of MacOS!

Props to for some of the help with this.
Published Sunday, July 16, 2006 12:00 AM by rbirkby
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Foo » Blog Archive » SeamlessRDP said:

July 16, 2006 11:32 PM

thept said:

quick question, what version of open-x11 do you have.  i dont have this on my system, even after i installed developer tools.  i tried to find versions of it on the net and none of those seemed to work.  could you possibly send me the contents of the file or the file itself.

July 28, 2006 3:20 PM

Paul said:

I am guessing that the XP theme gets pulled over too so therefore if you use a Apple style theme inside xp then it will seem to be seemless instead of having the Windows XP window border ;)
January 16, 2007 8:16 PM

rbirkby said:

Correct. However the latest versions of Parallels come with Coherence mode which does all this and more for you. It really is a revelation.

January 17, 2007 1:59 AM

newbie said:

is it as fast as you run visual web developer on windows?? Thanks
September 18, 2007 12:56 PM

Tom Sieron said:

Don't you still get the overhead from windows running in the background? I'm using Parallels in coherence mode(mainly for testing websites in IE6, i do webdesign) and it sometimes slows down my MBP quite significantly. From your MenuMeters in the screenshot it looks like you've got the same problem. I hear VM Ware Fusion offers better performance than Parallels, but haven't had a chance to test it yet.
November 25, 2007 9:11 PM

rbirkby said:

I came up with this technique before Coherence was invented. Since then, I've used Coherence and VMware Fusion Unity. Both Coherence and Unity work better than the solution above.

Parallels always had a bug on my Mac which meant that CPU usage would go high after a few ours of usage. Which is why I switched to Fusion. That and the pre-release cost of Fusion was cheaper than a Parallels upgrade....

November 26, 2007 2:01 AM

David Lee said:

I run Vista and Visual Studio on my MacBook Pro (17/2.33)via Bootcamp and it's the best performing Windows PC I've ever owned. I installed leopard and I hardly use it.
November 27, 2007 9:37 AM

M.S. Babaei said:

wow, thats incredible
January 23, 2008 5:41 PM

Jamire said:

Is it possible to install visual web developer in an ibook? Thanks!
February 11, 2008 8:55 PM

visuals as windows desktop said:

August 1, 2008 5:37 AM

Johanne M.A. Lim said:

@David Lee: goes to show that MacBook's come with inherently more powerful hardware (not to mentioned tweaked to work better with each other) than similar-class Windows-laptops (with barely any R&D --- aside from the really high-end models). If only I could really work flawless Visual Studio code and compiled it under a mac! =========== BTW, with similar specs and models, does Vista/XP run faster on a Mac compare to a Windows-laptop?
October 25, 2008 3:57 AM

Benson Wedges said:

This is a great idea, but the best solution I found was as David Lee says above. I'm running Windows 7 on my Mac Book Pro using Bootcamp. Works a treat.
March 8, 2010 3:13 PM

khushi said:

i need to know how can i work with microsoft visual studio on apple laptop???
September 10, 2011 10:26 AM

rbirkby said:

September 10, 2011 11:53 AM

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