Microsoft has made the significant decision to discontinue the Visual Studio for Mac Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This announcement marks a strategic shift in the company's development tool offerings, emphasizing other alternatives and optimizing resources for cross-platform development.
In an effort to ensure a smooth transition for existing users, Microsoft has confirmed that the current version of Visual Studio for Mac IDE will continue to receive support for an additional 12 months. This support extension grants developers ample time to adapt to alternative development tools.
The official retirement date for Visual Studio for Mac IDE is set for August 31, 2024. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide updates, enhancements, or new features for the IDE.
As part of the retirement plan, Microsoft has announced that Visual Studio for Mac IDE will no longer receive new framework, runtime, or language support. This means that developers should not expect additions or enhancements related to these aspects in the IDE.
During the support extension period, Microsoft is committed to providing servicing updates for Visual Studio for Mac IDE. These updates will primarily focus on critical bug fixes, addressing security issues, and ensuring compatibility with evolving Apple platforms. Users can expect a stable and secure development environment during this time.
In light of the discontinuation, Microsoft is actively encouraging developers to explore alternative tools. One of the recommended alternatives is Visual Studio Code (VS Code) with the new C# Dev Kit and associated extensions. This combination offers a versatile and robust choice for .NET and C# development on macOS.
Microsoft's decision to retire Visual Studio for Mac IDE is driven by a redirection of resources and focus. The company aims to enhance Visual Studio and VS Code, optimizing them for cross-platform development. This strategic shift ensures that Microsoft's development tools remain robust and competitive.
Despite the retirement of Visual Studio for Mac IDE, Microsoft will continue to provide support for developers working with .NET 6, .NET 7, and the Mono frameworks. This commitment ensures that existing projects can continue to be built and shipped using these technologies.
Additionally, Microsoft has enabled rudimentary support for .NET 8 in Visual Studio for Mac IDE, specifically for building and debugging applications. Although this support is not officially endorsed, it offers developers some flexibility for their ongoing projects.
For developers seeking a versatile and feature-rich alternative, Microsoft recommends using Visual Studio Code (VS Code) in combination with the new C# Dev Kit and relevant extensions. This choice enhances the coding experience for .NET and C# developers on macOS.
For those with comprehensive IDE requirements, running the Visual Studio IDE on a Windows virtual machine (VM) hosted on a Mac is a viable solution. This approach covers legacy projects like Xamarin and F# and also facilitates remote iOS development.
Microsoft also offers the option of using the Visual Studio IDE in the Cloud. This solution provides cloud-hosted virtual machines (VMs) through Microsoft Dev Box, granting developers access to the full power of Visual Studio for .NET/C# development on a Mac, all while minimizing local VM overhead.