Novell's Mono project bringing .Net development to Android

Developers for the Mono project also are readying a version of Silverlight for Apple's iPhone

MonoDroid, which will enable deployment of .Net-based applications on Google Android phones, is in development at Novell, with a preview release planned for August, the head of the project said Monday.

The runtime project is part of Novell's Mono effort, which has been responsbile for putting Microsoft .Net-based technologies on Linux and other non-Microsoft platforms.

"[MonoDroid is] Mono running on the Android, but it's also all the APIs so you can talk to the Android APIs," said Miguel de Icaza, vice president of the developer platform at Novell and leader of Mono, in an interview at the Mix10 conference in Las Vegas.

[ Also at the conference, Microsoft showed its Windows Phone Series 7 and offered a release candidate for Silverlight 4. | Keep up on software development trends with InfoWorld's Mobilize newsletter. ]

There is user demand for running .Net applications on Android, de Icaza said.

Developers on the Mono project also are readying a version of Silverlight for Apple's iPhone, with a preview due in August. The Mono-based Moonlight project previously put Silverlight on Linux, Macintosh, and Unix. De Icaza said he did not know if the Silverlight product also would be called Moonlight.

Also on deck for Mono developers is Mono Tools for Visual Studio 2.0, which integrates with Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE to enable development of Mono-based applications.  Plans call for the platform to eventually support Android and iPhone application development via Mono technologies.

A developer attending the conference endorsed Mono and welcomed the addition of Android capabilities.

"Mono's amazing. It's a surprisingly flexible environment," said developer Ethan Nagel, president of Nagel Technologies.

"It's quicker than rewriting your code every time, and what I like about it is you're not making any compromises," Nagel said.

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