What’s Next for Visual Studio for Mac

Since it was released a little more than a year ago, Visual Studio 2017 for Mac has grown from being an IDE primarily focused on mobile application development using Xamarin to one that includes support for all major .NET cross-platform workloads including Xamarin, Unity, and .NET Core. Our aspiration with Visual Studio for Mac is to bring the Visual Studio experiences that developers have come to know and love on Windows to the MacOS and to provide an excellent IDE experience for all .NET cross-platform developers.

Over the past year, we added several new capabilities to Visual Studio for Mac including .NET Core 2; richer language services for editing JavaScript, TypeScript, and Razor pages; Azure Functions; and the ability to deploy and debug .NET Core apps inside Docker containers. At the same time, we have continued to improve Xamarin mobile development inside Visual Studio for Mac by adding same-day support for the latest iOS and Android SDKs, improving the visual designers and streamlining the emulator and SDK acquisition experiences. And we have updated the Unity game development experience to reduce launch times of Visual Studio for Mac when working together with the Unity IDE.  Finally, we have been investing heavily in fundamentals such as customer feedback via the Report-a-Problem tool, accessibility improvements, and more regular updates of components that we share with the broader .NET ecosystem such as the .NET compiler service (“Roslyn”), and the .NET Core SDKs. We believe that these changes will allow us to significantly accelerate delivery of new experiences in the near future.

While we will continue to make improvements to Visual Studio 2017 for Mac into early next year, we also want to start talking about what’s next: Visual Studio 2019 for Mac. Today, we are publishing a roadmap for Visual Studio for Mac, and in this blog post, I wanted to write about some of the major themes of feedback we are hearing and our plans to address them as described in our roadmap.

Improving the performance and reliability of the code editor

Improving the typing performance and reliability is our single biggest focus area for Visual Studio 2019 for Mac. We plan to replace most of the internals of the Visual Studio for Mac editor with those from Visual Studio. Combined with the work to improve our integration of various language services, our aspiration is to bring similar levels of editor productivity from Visual Studio to Visual Studio for Mac. Finally, as a result of this work, we will also be able to address a top request from users to add Right-To-Left (RTL) support to our editor.

Supporting Team Foundation Version Control

Including support for Team Foundation Server, with both Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) and Git as the source control mechanisms, has been one of the top requested experiences on the Mac. While we currently have an extension available for Visual Studio 2017 for Mac that adds support for TFVC, we will integrate it into the core of the source control experience in Visual Studio 2019 for Mac.

Increased productivity when working with your projects

The C# editor in Visual Studio for Mac will be built on top of the same Roslyn backend used by Visual Studio on Windows and will see continuous improvements. In Visual Studio 2017 for Mac (version 7.7), we will enable the Roslyn-powered brace completion and indentation engine which helps improve your efficiency and productivity while writing C# code. We’re also making our quick fixes and code action more discoverable by introducing a light-bulb experience. With the light bulb, you’ll see recommendations highlighted inline in the editor as you code, with quick keyboard actions to preview and apply the recommendations. In the Visual Studio 2019 for Mac release, we’ll also dramatically reduce the time it takes you to connect to your source code and begin working with it in the product, by introducing a streamlined “open from version control” dialog with a brand-new Git-focused workflow.

.NET Core and ASP.NET Core support

In future updates to Visual Studio 2017 for Mac, we will add support for .NET Core 2.2. We will add the ability to publish ASP.NET Core projects to a folder. We will also add support for Azure Functions 2.0, as well as update the New Functions Project dialog to support updating to the latest version of Azure Functions tooling and templates. In Visual Studio 2019 for Mac, we will add support for .NET Core 3.0 when it becomes available in 2019. We will add more ASP.NET Core templates and template options to Visual Studio for Mac and improve the Azure publishing options. Finally, building upon the code editor changes described above, we will improve all our language services supporting ASP.NET Core development including Razor, JavaScript and TypeScript.

Xamarin support

In addition to continuing to make improvements to the Xamarin platform itself, we will focus on improving Android build performance and improving the reliability of deploying iOS and Android apps. We will make it easy to acquire the Android emulators from within the Visual Studio for Mac IDE. Finally, we aim to make further improvements in the Xamarin.Forms Previewer and the Xamarin.Android Designer as well as the XAML language service for Xamarin Forms.

Unity support

We continue to invest in improving the experience of game developers using Unity to write and debug cross platform games as well as 2D and 3D content using Visual Studio for Mac. Unity now supports a .NET 4.7 and .NET Standard 2.0 profile, and we’re making sure that Visual Studio for Mac works out of the box to support those scenarios. Unity 2018.3 ships with Roslyn, the same C# compiler that is used with Visual Studio for Mac, and we’re enabling this for your IDE. In addition to this, we’ll be bringing our fine-tuned Unity debugger from the Visual Studio Tools for Unity to Visual Studio for Mac for a more reliable and faster Unity debugging experience.

Help us shape Visual Studio 2019 for Mac!

By supporting installation of both versions of the product side-by-side, we’ll make it easy for you to try out the Visual Studio 2019 for Mac preview releases while we are still also working on the stable Visual Studio 2017 for Mac releases in parallel.

We don’t have preview bits to share with you just yet, but we wanted to share our plans early so you can help us shape the product with your feedback that you can share through our Developer Community website.  We will update our roadmap for Visual Studio for Mac once a quarter to reflect any significant changes. We will also post an update to our roadmap for Visual Studio soon.

Unni Ravindranathan, Principal Program Manager

Unni currently leads the Visual Studio for Mac Program Management team. Ever since joining Visual Studio as an Intern many years ago, he has focused primarily on improving the productivity of developers buildings apps for various devices and platform, including tools for building Windows apps, XAML, Blend, and our NuGet service.