Visual Studio 2022 for Mac Reaches Release Candidate Stage — Visual Studio Magazine


Visual Studio 2022 for Mac reaches release candidate stage

Microsoft has shipped a Visual Studio 2022 for Mac v17.0 Release Candidate (RC), which was expected to debut last year but was postponed by various factors.

If the project reaches general availability status soon (no word on whether there will be an RC2), it will come about six months after the launch of its Windows counterpart.

Microsoft said:

Our goal with Visual Studio 2022 for Mac is to create a modern Mac-friendly .NET IDE that delivers the productive Visual Studio experience you love. We are working to move Visual Studio for Mac to the native macOS user interface, which means it will provide better performance and reliability. It also means that Visual Studio for Mac can take full advantage of all the built-in accessibility features of macOS. We’re updating menus and terminology in the IDE to make Visual Studio more consistent between Mac and Windows. The new Visual Studio Git experience will also be available in Visual Studio for Mac, starting with the introduction of the Git Changes tool window.

The new RC follows the VS 2022 roadmap for Mac, which shows these main themes:

  • Fast and smooth, for everyone: We’re moving Visual Studio for Mac to the native macOS user interface, which will fix over 100 previously reported issues related to performance, reliability, accessibility, and product quality.
  • A modern .NET IDE for Mac: Discover a new look and feel in Visual Studio for Mac that combines the modern macOS user interface with the productive experience you know and love in Visual Studio.
  • A familiar experience for Visual Studio users: we’re updating the menus, terminology, and user experience in the IDE to make it easier to leverage your existing knowledge of Visual Studio running on Windows.

Regarding this first element, Microsoft explained more in today’s announcement message (April 26).

“This release replaces the front-end IDE UI with a fully native macOS UI, replacing our previous architecture which was comprised of a combination of UI technologies,” said Senior Program Manager Jordan Matthiesen.

Along with this, the development team in January ditched the existing Mono runtime in favor of .NET 6.

“The combination of these two major changes results in a smoother UI experience,” Microsoft said. “You’ll see it in Visual Studio for Mac, whether you’re coding in the IDE or arranging your tool windows and workspace in a way that suits you perfectly.

VS 2022 for Mac
[Click on image for larger view.] VS 2022 for Mac (source: Microsoft).

Tied to this move from Mono to .NET 6 is support for running the IDE natively on Apple’s ARM-based M1 processor, which necessitated the move to .NET 6. The support native M1 was teased in November 2021 in Preview 3.” “Native support for the Apple M1 ARM processor is a major request on the community site and we will be addressing this in future preview builds,” said Matthiesen in a message” at the time.

Today, Matthiesen explained more. “Visual Studio for Mac can now take advantage of the raw performance of Apple’s M1 (ARM64) processor, thanks to the native arm64 support provided by .NET 6. Actions such as loading large solutions are up to 50% faster than Visual Studio 2019 for Mac running on M1 processors.”

Other efforts to improve the day-to-day development experience involved enabling some familiar Windows IDE features, including:

  • Git changes: A new Git Changes window helps developers more easily view files that have been changed, added, or removed in solutions under Git version control.
  • Drag and drop from the tool window: The move to the native macOS UI brings updated support for drag-and-drop tool window layout to match the visual cues provided in the Windows IDE.
    animated gif showing moving the solution from the right side of the IDE to the left side
    [Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] Moved the Solution window from the right side of the IDE to the left side. (source: Microsoft).
  • Subword navigation: “An exciting new feature coming to the editor in this release is subword navigation; a feature recently introduced in Visual Studio 2022 running on Windows. Using the string ‘HelloWorld’ as an example, when using Ctrl+Alt + Left Arrow and Ctrl + Shortcuts Alt + Right Arrow, the cursor will move between “Hello” and “World” subwords. Make it easier to move or select these subwords in your source.”
    Navigating subwords in C# editor in animated action
    [Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] Navigating subwords in C# editor in animated action (source: Microsoft).

A development component that will not be included in the v17.0 GA release is .NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI), an evolution of Xamarin.Forms that adds support for desktop development with C# and XAML, as well as mobile iOS and Android support. It just shipped earlier this month as its own RC with “go live” support.

“.NET MAUI Tools will not be supported in Visual Studio 2022 for Mac v17.0,” said Matthiesen. “In an upcoming release of Visual Studio 2022 for Mac v17.1, you will also be able to build mobile apps using .NET 6 and .NET MAUI. .NET MAUI RC has been released and the team is gearing up for GA! I will be able to open .NET MAUI projects in preview builds of Visual Studio for Mac, and the team will be adding more support for .NET MAUI tools throughout the summer!”

The RC release notes list several notable issues fixed in the RC, as the development team focused on tweaking things rather than adding new features.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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