Your First ASP.NET Core Application on a Mac Using Visual Studio Code

By Daniel Roth, Steve Smith and Rick Anderson

This article will show you how to write your first ASP.NET Core application on a Mac.

Setting Up Your Development Environment

To setup your development machine download and install .NET Core and Visual Studio Code with the C# extension.

Scaffolding Applications Using Yeoman

Follow the instruction in Building Projects with Yeoman to create an ASP.NET Core project.

Developing ASP.NET Applications on a Mac With Visual Studio Code

  • Start Visual Studio Code
  • Tap File > Open and navigate to your Empty ASP.NET Core app

From a Terminal / bash prompt, run dotnet restore to restore the project’s dependencies. Alternately, you can enter command shift p in Visual Studio Code and then type dot as shown:

You can run commands directly from within Visual Studio Code, including dotnet restore and any tools referenced in the project.json file, as well as custom tasks defined in .vscode/tasks.json.

This empty project template simply displays “Hello World!”. Open Startup.cs in Visual Studio Code to see how this is configured:

If this is your first time using Visual Studio Code (or just Code for short), note that it provides a very streamlined, fast, clean interface for quickly working with files, while still providing tooling to make writing code extremely productive.

In the left navigation bar, there are four icons, representing four viewlets:

  • Explore
  • Search
  • Git
  • Debug

The Explore viewlet allows you to quickly navigate within the folder system, as well as easily see the files you are currently working with. It displays a badge to indicate whether any files have unsaved changes, and new folders and files can easily be created (without having to open a separate dialog window). You can easily Save All from a menu option that appears on mouse over, as well.

The Search viewlet allows you to quickly search within the folder structure, searching filenames as well as contents.

Code will integrate with Git if it is installed on your system. You can easily initialize a new repository, make commits, and push changes from the Git viewlet.

The Debug viewlet supports interactive debugging of applications.

Finally, Code’s editor has a ton of great features. You’ll notice unused using statements are underlined and can be removed automatically by using command . when the lightbulb icon appears. Classes and methods also display how many references there are in the project to them. If you’re coming from Visual Studio, Code includes many of the same keyboard shortcuts, such as command k c to comment a block of code, and command k u to uncomment.

Running Locally Using Kestrel

The sample is configured to use Kestrel for the web server. You can see it configured in the project.json file, where it is specified as a dependency.

  "version": "1.0.0-*",
  "compilationOptions": {
    "emitEntryPoint": true
  "dependencies": {
    "Microsoft.NETCore.App": {
      "type": "platform",
      "version": "1.0.0-rc2-3002702"
    "Microsoft.AspNetCore.Server.Kestrel": "1.0.0-rc2-final",
    "Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.Console": "1.0.0-rc2-final"
  "frameworks": {
    "netcoreapp1.0": {}
  • Run dotnet run command to launch the app
  • Navigate to localhost:5000:
  • To stop the web server enter Ctrl+C.

Publishing to Azure

Once you’ve developed your application, you can easily use the Git integration built into Visual Studio Code to push updates to production, hosted on Microsoft Azure.

Initialize Git

Initialize Git in the folder you’re working in. Tap on the Git viewlet and click the Initialize Git repository button.

Add a commit message and tap enter or tap the checkmark icon to commit the staged files.

Git is tracking changes, so if you make an update to a file, the Git viewlet will display the files that have changed since your last commit.

Initialize Azure Website

You can deploy to Azure Web Apps directly using Git.

  • Create a new Web App in Azure. If you don’t have an Azure account, you can create a free trial.
  • Configure the Web App in Azure to support continuous deployment using Git.

Record the Git URL for the Web App from the Azure portal:

  • In a Terminal window, add a remote named azure with the Git URL you noted previously.

    • git remote add azure
  • Push to master.

    • git push azure master to deploy.
  • Browse to the newly deployed web app. You should see Hello world!