Development process for Docker-based applications

Develop containerized .NET applications the way you like, either Integrated Development Environment (IDE) focused with Visual Studio and Visual Studio tools for Docker or CLI/Editor focused with Docker CLI and Visual Studio Code.

Development environment for Docker apps

Development tool choices: IDE or editor

Whether you prefer a full and powerful IDE or a lightweight and agile editor, Microsoft has tools that you can use for developing Docker applications.

Visual Studio (for Windows). Docker-based .NET Core 3.1 application development with Visual Studio requires Visual Studio 2019 version 16.4 or later. Visual Studio 2019 comes with tools for Docker already built in. The tools for Docker let you develop, run, and validate your applications directly in the target Docker environment. You can press F5 to run and debug your application (single container or multiple containers) directly into a Docker host, or press CTRL+F5 to edit and refresh your application without having to rebuild the container. This is the most powerful development choice for Docker-based apps.

Visual Studio for Mac. It's an IDE, evolution of Xamarin Studio, running in macOS. For .NET Core 3.1 development, it requires version 8.4 or later. This should be the preferred choice for developers working in macOS machines who also want to use a powerful IDE.

Visual Studio Code and Docker CLI. If you prefer a lightweight and cross-platform editor that supports any development language, you can use Visual Studio Code and the Docker CLI. This is a cross-platform development approach for macOS, Linux, and Windows. Additionally, Visual Studio Code supports extensions for Docker such as IntelliSense for Dockerfiles and shortcut tasks to run Docker commands from the editor.

By installing Docker Desktop Community Edition (CE), you can use a single Docker CLI to build apps for both Windows and Linux.

Additional resources

.NET languages and frameworks for Docker containers

As mentioned in earlier sections of this guide, you can use .NET Framework, .NET Core, or the open-source Mono project when developing Docker containerized .NET applications. You can develop in C#, F#, or Visual Basic when targeting Linux or Windows Containers, depending on which .NET framework is in use. For more details about.NET languages, see the blog post The .NET Language Strategy.