Microsoft is killing Visual Studio for Mac next year

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Microsoft is retiring Visual Studio for Mac, ending support for the final release in 2022, surprising considering the recent active support it received. The app’s sudden shutdown is not entirely clear, but users only have about a year to transition. Support for the latest release will end in 2024. Visual Studio for Mac could only be used for developing Mac apps with Xamarin and C#, missing the possibility of creating Windows apps. Microsoft recommends alternatives like C# Dev Kit for Visual Studio Code or running Windows in a VM for development.

Microsoft has announced that Visual Studio for Mac is being retired, with support for the final release, version 17.6, ending as soon as next year.

It’s a surprising move considering Visual Studio 17 has gotten fairly active support from Microsoft until just a few months ago. The latest major update was rolled out in June, and prior updates actually added some significant functionality like Hot Exit, along with noticeable improvements to the experience.

It’s not entirely clear why the app is being shut down so suddenly, but those using Visual Studio for Mac only have about a year to do so. Microsoft says the latest release will only be supported through August 31st, 2024, which is a relatively short support period for a product that was in active development until recently.

Visual Studio for Mac was an interesting product, however, since it couldn’t be used to develop Windows apps, despite being a Microsoft product. It only ever supported Mac apps using Xamarin (which Microsoft acquired in 2016) and C#, as well as console apps in C++. To be clear, Visual Studio on Windows also doesn’t let you develop Mac apps, so the limitation goes both ways. But Xamarin was a platform that allowed developers to create apps for iOS, Android, and Windows, and that last part never became possible on Mac.

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If you’re using Visual Studio for Mac, Microsoft is recommending that you switch to using the C# Dev Kit for Visual Studio Code, which is still available for Mac and on the web. Other extensions like .NET MAUI and Unity are also available to help make cross-platform development easier for Mac users. Otherwise, Microsoft says you can always run Windows in a VM or use Microsoft Dev Box, which gives you a cloud-based VM for development. This will also let you keep using legacy tools like Xamarin and F#.

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