Visual Studio for Mac Product Ending in 2024

Microsoft is planning the "retirement" of its  Visual Studio for Mac IDE product next year, per a Wednesday announcement.

Support will officially end in one year, on Aug. 31, 2024. However, Microsoft promised developers that it would "provide runtime and workload updates so you can continue building and shipping applications built on .NET 6, .NET 7, and the Mono frameworks." Also, Visual Studio for Mac has "rudimentary support for .NET 8," which can be used for "building and debugging applications," the announcement suggested.

Developers using Visual Studio for Mac were pointed toward using the following alternative Microsoft IDE options:

  • Visual Studio Code with the new C# Dev Kit and related extensions: The recently announced C# Dev Kit, .NET MAUI, and Unity Extensions for VS Code are available in preview and are intended to augment VS Code's capabilities for .NET and C# developers. These extensions operate natively across all supported platforms, including macOS, and the experience using these will continue to be improved as they move from preview to GA and beyond.
  • Visual Studio IDE running on Windows in a VM on Mac: This option will cover the broadest IDE needs such as legacy project support for Xamarin, F#, and remote development experiences on iOS by using a virtual machine (VM).
  • Visual Studio IDE running on Windows in a VM in the Cloud: Visual Studio continues to be the premier tool of choice for .NET/C# development. A Cloud hosted VM from Microsoft Dev Box provides access to the full power of VS through your Web or native RDP client from a Mac without the overhead of running a virtual machine on your local machine.

The discontinuation of Visual Studio for Mac comes after a years-long effort to get the IDE up to par with the Windows version.

Development problems caused VS 2022 for Mac to debut about six months after the Windows version release last year. Microsoft has tried to address performance and reliability issues dating back to 2018 with revamps of the frontend UI and backend runtime. Various problems prompted the team to replace the IDE's editor internals with Visual Studio for Windows code and dump the Mono runtime for .NET 6 early last year.

Microsoft at last threw in the towel, and is now directing Mac developers to VS Code and other alternatives, per the announcement:

With today's announcement, we're redirecting our resources and focus to enhance Visual Studio and VS Code, optimizing them for cross-platform development. No new framework, runtime, or language support will be added to Visual Studio for Mac. For the next 12 months, however, we will continue providing essential updates such as servicing updates for critical bug fixes, security issues, and updated platforms from Apple.

Microsoft explained its decision to discontinue Visual Studio for Mac as being based on "user feedback and usage patterns."

Some initial comments in Microsoft's post expressed dismay on the decision, calling it a "a slap in the face to Mac developers," "shameful" and "lame." Others said Microsoft essentially ripped apart its Xamarin purchase, neglecting Visual Studio for Mac, per this Hacker News thread.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.