Microsoft has announced it is retiring Visual Studio for Mac and that support for the latest version, 17.6, will continue for another year, until August 31, 2024.

During the support period, users of the integrated development environment (IDE) will receive security updates that address critical issues.

Microsoft will continue to provide runtime and workload updates, so developers who rely on the .NET 6, .NET 7, and the Mono frameworks may continue to build and ship apps as normal for another year.

Alternatives exist

Visual Studio is an IDE that developers use to write and debug code, primarily for Windows applications. Over the years, the product expanded to include support for more programming languages and platforms.

Equipped with rich features, easy-to-use GUI, the plethora of capability-enhancing extensions, the cross-platform potential of .NET Core, and the support for Android and iOS app writing through Xamarin made Visual Studio for Mac a versatile choice for developers.

The discontinuation of the Mac version comes somewhat as surprise, because the product went through a major overhaul last year to give it native UI, improved performance for Apple Silicon processors, and support for macOS accessibility features.

However, Microsoft says the decision to discontinue Visual Studio for Mac shouldn’t be taken as a sign of abandoning the platform entirely, since there are alternatives in its portfolio.

“While the decision has been made to retire Visual Studio for Mac, we remain committed to our developers on Mac with alternatives like the recently announced C# Dev Kit for VS Code and other extensions that will allow you to take advantage of our ongoing investments in .NET development on a Mac.” – Microsoft

Other options for macOS users to continue using Visual Studio include running the IDE in a virtual machine or picking up a cloud-based instance. Microsoft says the latter choice would also come with better performance.

Alternatives to Visual Studio for Mac, especially for .NET development, include the cross-platform JetBrains Rider, the light-weight VSCode, the open-source MonoDevelop, and the highly customizable Atom editor with the OmniSharp plugin.


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