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I use MonoDevelop every day with Unity. I sometimes hear other devs complaining about it, and saying how Visual Studio is so much better. I think back to the days I used to spend struggling with multi-project solutions in Visual Studio with all its warts and crashes and weird compilation bugs, and thank heavens I'm working with a light-weight IDE.

C# is my new favourite language, and MonoDevelop is a pretty decent IDE for what it is :)




In my experience, these are the problems with developing in MonoDevelop for Unity:

- The debugger is flaky. Sometimes it will miss a breakpoint completely. Sometimes trying to inspect local variables will crash MonoDevelop. Sometimes it will refuse to continue no matter how many times you tell it to.

- If your problem starts in Unity's native code, forget about trying to debug it. The messages are cryptic and the debugger is useless. This happens for some things you can diagnose (like running out of memory, either on the machine or the card)--although good luck figuring out what your memory hog was--and for other things that leave you completely stumped (shotgun debugging becomes your only recourse).

- Don't even attempt to use text search over multiple files (other searches, like reference searches, work fine). MonoDevelop will get stuck in an unproductive loop that never displays any results and never completes.

- Forget about profiling. Unity technically has a profiler, but it's per-frame, not cumulative. It also omits a lot of detail, especially about memory usage.

- There are also a number of minor issues, too, but they aren't deal breakers so much as annoyances.

That having been said, our particular project is rather good about pushing Unity to (and beyond) its limits, and you may never encounter any of these limitations. Still, it's worth knowing that they exist.

Footnote: These comments may be limited to the version of MonoDevelop that ships with Unity 3.3 (there are non-technical reasons why it's not worth our time to go through the effort to upgrade).


Most of those issues are with Unity not MonoDevelop, aren't they?

I hear you though - debugging Unity projects is a real toolchain weakness. I'm lucky if I can even get the debugger to connect.

Text search works fine for me though! I've never had a problem with it.

My worst problem with it actually is just stability, but I've never lost work with it and it restarts pretty quickly.

What are you working on, out of interest? (If you're allowed to say!) :)


  > Most of those issues are with Unity not MonoDevelop, aren't they?
True, but I consider them as one platform (Unity and its customized MonoDevelop, specifically).

  > Text search works fine for me though! I've never had a problem with it.
It's a weird bug that was probably unique to the 3.3 version.

  > My worst problem with it actually is just stability, but I've never
  > lost work with it and it restarts pretty quickly.
I get a lot of freezes and crashes too, but to its credit MonoDevelop definitely has a very robust autosave.

  > What are you working on, out of interest? (If you're allowed to say!) :)
3-d mapping (à la Google Earth, but with different goals).


The biggest improvements that VS2008 and VS2010 made over the previous versions is that it became much more light-weight, they did a lot of work to remove cruft. If you haven't looked at VS in a long while you might be surprised.


I think the last one I used was 2008. I'll have to have a look at 2010 sometime. Very happy to hear they've spent some time reducing the cruft :)




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