Visual Studio for Mac Update Takes Inspiration from Windows

The web development experience in Visual Studio for Mac hews much closer to its Windows counterpart in a new update.

Visual Studio 2017

Web developers who update their copies of Visual Studio for Mac to the newest preview version can now access many of the features that help make coding more manageable in the Windows edition of the integrated development environment.

After inadvertently leaking its existence, Microsoft officially announced Visual Studio for Mac during a developer event in New York City on Nov. 16, 2016. The IDE is based on Xamarin, the mobile-friendly and Mac-compatible developer toolkit the software giant acquired in February 2016.

Now, Microsoft is narrowing the gap between the Mac and Windows versions of Visual Studio, starting with an enhanced web development experience.

"In the latest release, we have completed the work to bring the rich HTML, CSS and JSON editors to macOS," said Miguel de Icaza, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft's Mobile Developer Tools unit, in a blog post. "You will get the same code completion, indentation behavior, and validation that you get on Windows for those file formats."

The IDE also sports improved .NET Core and ASP.NET support, along with an upgraded debugger that takes its cues from Visual Studio on Windows to makes debugging asynchronous code as intuitive as regular code, Icaza stated. The software also supports the ability to publish applications to Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform using familiar commands, he added.

Other new features include support for C# 7, including live code checking, refactoring tools and IntelliSense code-completion functionality. Developers can also target the latest versions of Android and iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS from Apple.

Visual Studio for Mac also supports Fastlane, an open source continuous integration tool for testing and publishing apps, streamlining the certificate-signing and profile-provisioning processes involved in publishing iOS apps. Finally, it integrates with the accessibility components in macOS, a first step in making the IDE fully accessible, said de Icaza.

For users running Visual Studio 2017 on Windows, last week the company released an update that includes the Windows 10 Creators Update SDK (software development kit) and an updated .NET Native compiler. On the database development front, the IDE's included suite of Redgate Data Tools now offers Azure SQL Database temporal tables support in the ReadyRoll Core tool (Visual Studio 2017 Enterprise). The Prompt Core tool now support code completion on queries that are opened outside of SQL Server Object Explorer.

Meanwhile, the developer community has roughly a year to prepare before Microsoft pulls support for Visual Studio 2008.

"In line with our 10-year support policy, Visual Studio 2008, its associated products, runtimes, and components will cease to be supported from April 10, 2018," stated Deniz Duncan, program manager of Visual Studio at Microsoft, in an April 10 announcement. "Though your Visual Studio 2008 applications will continue to work, we encourage you to port, migrate, and upgrade your Visual Studio projects over the next year, to ensure you continue to receive support."

The move will also affect Visual C# 2008, Visual C++ 2008 Visual Basic 2008 and Visual Studio Team System 2008. A list of all affected software is available here.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...