Visual Studio 2017 for Mac 7.7 Released

The newly shipped Visual Studio 2017 for Mac 7.7 features improved IntelliSense and supports newer versions of .NET Core 2.2 and Azure Functions, among other improvements. The release comes as Microsoft focuses on improving performance and reliability in the IDE in the 2019 version by replacing some of its code internals with those from the Windows version of Visual Studio.

Visual Studio for Mac evolved from the mobile-centric Xamarin Studio IDE, which itself was based on the open source MonoDevelop project championed by Xamarin guru Miguel de Icaza, who joined Microsoft after its acquisition of Xamarin.

Now, it supports the following types of development:

  • Mobile with .NET: Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS
  • Mac desktop apps
  • .NET Core applications
  • ASP.NET Core Web applications
  • Cross-platform Unity games

Since its debut, the Mac-based IDE has come under fire from some developers for not being a "real" Visual Studio offering and for poor performance and reliability, especially in the code editor.

Those performance/reliability concerns last month prompted Microsoft's Unni Ravindranathan, principal program manager, to say: "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."

Meanwhile, as work on Visual Studio for Mac 2019 with those new editor internals continues, the team shipped Visual Studio 2017 for Mac 7.7. The announcement didn't mention the plan to boost performance/reliability with new Visual Studio internals, other than to say "Addressing reliability and performance issues in Visual Studio for Mac remains our top priority."

What was mentioned is better IntelliSense, specifically with brace completions, smart indenting and better "lightbulb" functionality for fixing code problems.

"Now, when there are suggested fixes, you’ll get an icon next to the line number which indicates the type of fix available: a lightbulb for a suggestion, a lightbulb with an error symbol for an error, or a wrench for refactoring options and suggestions," said Cody Beyer, program manager. "We have also made several improvements to brace-matching and smart indenting in this release."

Also new is support for .NET Core 2.2 (preview) and Azure Functions 2.0, along with a boost to Xamarin.Android build performance, the ability to publish ASP.NET Core projects to a folder, support for license verification behind a proxy server, an update to NuGet version 4.7 and more.

All of the above and more -- including a huge number of bug fixes -- are detailed in the release notes.

According to the Visual Studio for Mac roadmap, a version 8.0 release is planned with several more new improvements including: boosting the Web editors, adding additional ASP.NET Core templates, connecting to Team Foundation Server/Azure DevOps and many more.

Feature requests can be viewed on the Developer Community site, where some suggestions under review by Microsoft include an offline installer, adding Code Lens and many more.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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