RIP Visual Studio for Mac


| September 19, 2023 | in

Visual Studio Mac is dead or will be 8/31/2024. This probably doesn’t affect many of you, but this is an interesting turn of events.

Visual Studio Mac has a fascinating lineage. Microsoft created .NET years ago (2001), and alongside .NET an open-source alternative was created (Mono). Developers needed an alternative editor, which begot SharpDevelop. And SharpDevelop begot MonoDevelop. And MonoDevelop begot Xamarin Studio. And Xamarin Studio begot Visual Studio for Mac. I am not sure if Visual Studio for Mac ever really left Preview.

Many people have probably not used this particular editor. I did some Xamarin Forms many years ago and spent a few months in Xamarin Studio. I never hated Xamarin Studio, but it wasn’t as good as Visual Studio for .NET development.

This killing of Visual Studio for Mac might be Microsoft making a good hard call to do less. It is always easy to say, “do everything,” but it is hard to do less. Doing less often allows you to do those fewer things better.

Maybe Microsoft thinks VS Code is now a viable option for C# development. I have used VS Code for C# and have never been impressed. C# in VS Code feels a little like an afterthought. But maybe I just haven’t got it figured out.

Another part of Microsoft’s calculus here is that maybe no one was using Visual Studio on Mac. I personally prefer JetBrains Rider for C# development on Mac. Perhaps everyone has migrated to Rider.

I do wonder about developers trying to do .NET MAUI on Mac. Does Rider have a great experience for that? Does VS Code? I assume both have mediocre MAUI support, whereas Visual Studio for Mac had better support. But I am always wondering how long Microsoft will support MAUI. Are they fully behind it? Have they built any of their applications in it?

Regardless, this is probably sad for some Mac people. It’s always sad when a product people use dies. If you are a Visual Studio for Mac user, I recommend giving Rider a try.

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