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Complaints Spur New C# Editor in Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.1

The long-awaited fix for Visual Studio for Mac performance and reliability issues has arrived via a new C# code editor that borrows from Visual Studio for Windows internals, sparked by negative developer feedback.

In announcing an update way back in August 2018, Microsoft listed multiple reliability fixes for issues "many of you have reported." The company also listed performance fixes, saying "One of the top reported bugs in previous releases has been performance issues in the editor." That bug report was titled "Editor becomes so slow it's unusable after a while."

Then, in October 2018, Microsoft announced a change in direction: "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."

In March 2019, another preview announcement, the team reported those efforts are making progress in the new release, for which "we've put all our energy toward addressing common issues raised by developers in our community." It also said "we're excited to introduce a first preview of the new, fast, fluid, and performant C# editor, built on top of the same core editor as Visual Studio on Windows."

Finally, in announcing the availability of Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.1 last week, program manager Cody Beyer said the new editor had arrived as the default editing experience for C# files.

According to release notes, the new Visual Studio for Mac editor comes with:

  • Native macOS (Cocoa-based) user interface (tooltips, editor surface, margin adornments, text rendering, IntelliSense)
  • Support for native text inputs
  • RTL/BiDi language support
  • Common Visual Studio Platform core
  • Roslyn 3
  • Multi-caret support
  • Word Wrap
  • Update IntelliSense UI
  • Improved Find/Replace

"The new editor features an updated, fully native UI built on top of the reliable Visual Studio foundation," Beyer said. "You'll find several additional features that close the gap between the old and new editor in addition to some that were explicitly requested by the Visual Studio for Mac user community."

New features listed by Beyer include:

  • Faster code generation through code snippets
  • Improved analyzer functionality with inline lightbulbs
  • Improved multi–caret functionality
  • Quick navigation via Document Outline and an improved Go to Line implementation
  • Faster editing with drag and drop across views

Also, three new ASP.NET Core templates for Single Page Apps come with v8.1 "These are the same templates provided by the dotnet command line tool and Visual Studio on Windows," the release notes state.

In the comments section of his post, Beyer addressed point-by-point concerns of a developer who complained: "I've been using Visual Studio Mac daily for a while now, and while I appreciate having a fully supported IDE available on Mac, it's buggy."

Also announced last week was a preview of Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.2, featuring:

  • Improved XAML editing experience based on the same core as the new C# editor as well as the XAML language service from Visual Studio on Windows.
  • Preview support for .NET Core 3 and C# 8, featuring improved performance, streamlined project files, and an updated deployment experience.
  • Improved Android XML editing experience: "Android layout and resource file editing is now powered by Visual Studio for Mac's new editor. This means that you will be able to experience all of the rich editing experiences and performance that you see in the C# editor in your Android layout files."

Beyer invited developers try out the new preview if they're interested in the benefits provided by the new XAML editor and in providing feedback to help the team build a better product.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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