Devs' Choice to Replace Visual Studio for Mac? Rider

After Microsoft this week angered developers by giving up on Visual Studio for Mac and recommending alternative replacements, many of those devs have overwhelmingly voiced support for something else: the Rider IDE from JetBrains.

Rider was mentioned again and again in a huge number of comments on the announcement post, and also on social media platforms where the move was discussed, including Hacker News, Reddit and X (formerly Twitter).

Microsoft announced it was killing VS for Mac on Wednesday, Aug. 30, with official support ending in one year.

Visual Studio 2022 for Mac v17.0
[Click on image for larger view.] Visual Studio 2022 for Mac v17.0 (source: Microsoft).

The company proposed the following alternatives to VS for Mac:

  • Visual Studio Code with the new C# Dev Kit and related extensions: The recently announced C# Dev Kit, .NET MAUI, and Unity Extensions for VS Code are available in preview and are intended to augment VS Code's capabilities for .NET and C# developers. These extensions operate natively across all supported platforms, including macOS, and the experience using these will continue to be improved as they move from preview to GA and beyond.
  • Visual Studio IDE running on Windows in a VM on Mac: This option will cover the broadest IDE needs such as legacy project support for Xamarin, F#, and remote development experiences on iOS by using a virtual machine (VM).
  • Visual Studio IDE running on Windows in a VM in the Cloud: Visual Studio continues to be the premier tool of choice for .NET/C# development. A Cloud hosted VM from Microsoft Dev Box provides access to the full power of VS through your Web or native RDP client from a Mac without the overhead of running a virtual machine on your local machine.

Many developers, however, begged to differ, espousing a switch to Rider.

[Click on image for larger view.] Rider Comments (source: JetBrains).

The Rider offering from JetBrains is a cross-platform .NET IDE that runs on Windows, Linux and Mac, based on the company's IntelliJ platform (open source offering for building IDEs and dev tools) and ReSharper, a Visual Studio extension for on-the-fly code analysis. Not all devs were onboard with switching to Rider for various reasons, including the lack of a free version, similar to Microsoft's Community versions for Visual Studio. One commenter pointed out that the company does provide free educational licensing and allows for free use of Rider for open source projects.

There were a few other comments from devs not onboard with Rider, including:

  • Rider won't cut it, I'm afraid. I (and many others) had such bad experiences with some of the early versions of Resharper that JetBrains will NEVER have a product installed on a machine I work with.
  • Rider is an excellent IDE, JetBrains has amazing products IMHO, but despite that, there are things it doesn't have available, for example Odata client generator.

Overall, though, Rider was the clear favorite alternative among commenters, as evidenced below.

Announcement Comments
Here are some of the comments on the post, which totaled more than 140 at the time of this writing, an exceedingly high number for posts on Microsoft' developer blog site:

  • I'm just going to move to Rider and be done with it. Microsoft embracing EEE once again everyone.
  • Now I'm switching to Rider to do everything because it looks and feels more like Visual Studio than Visual Studio for Mac ever did.
  • defo switch to rider hope you have a better experience with it then miserable Microsoft which as we all know is just a waste of space.
  • VS for Mac has always been behind. I'm not sad to see it go. I switched to Rider on the Mac a long time ago and never looked back.
  • This news really sucks! Sorry to have to move to Rider after 12 years of Visual Studio ... 12 years dude!
  • You forgot the most appealing option: JetBrains Rider
  • Yea, so many .NET developers think MS is the only IDE provider. I love Rider and would hate to ever go back to Visual Studio.
  • Additionally many .NET already paid for MSDN licenses, more likely their employer did, so getting Rider is paying twice.
  • I know that Rider is your competitor (that you try to undermine with shady actions like closed source debugger and hot reload controversy), but not mentioning it in "What options do I have instead of Visual Studio for Mac?" section while not having good alternative sounds bad. "C# Dev Kit" is promising but very new and not mature yet as full IDE replacement.
  • I'm also a .NET/Xamarin Native developer. I guess I'll be forced to look into rider now.
  • My team switched to Rider a while back and it is a viable alternative with full XIB support via Xcode sync (just as VS for Mac did). There are some quirk, but in general, Rider is just a better experience than VS for Mac was.
  • Fortunately they support JetBrains Rider and since it IS crossplatform (unlike Microsoft's options) I can dev on Windows and then tweak in macOS where necessary.
  • Jetbrains is opening champagne right now!!!! Luckily we have super Rider!!!
  • Well, I'll just use Rider on Linux and avoid like the plague the dumpster fire that is M$ Windows, while also avoiding other M$ products.
  • Ignoring Rider in the post knowing that people will ask about why you didn't mention it is a big spit in a face for the whole community. Shame on you.
  • Just a speculation at this point, but we might see a team-up between JetBrains and Microsoft, with something like free Rider Community Edition. Or something similar that JetBrains had with Google on Android Studio
  • Really disappointed. Not a fan of Windows, dated, clunky and inconsistent , but great news for JetBrains, guess I will go back to Rider , VSCode is not a replacement IDE
  • Thank you Microsoft to push me to try Rider. Last version of Rider with brand new minimalistic UI is great.

Hacker News Comments
Here's a sampling from the Hacker News site discussion 1 and discussion 2:

  • JetBrains Rider is the only viable alternative now.
  • A good 95 percent of the mobile game devs I know who use Macs use Unity. Unity code is done pretty much exclusively with C#.
  • 100 percent of those people use Jetbrains Rider and/or VScode. One used to use Visual Studio, but moved to Rider a good year ago.
  • Rider on macOS is a really first class IDE, and VS Code is getting better.
  • we are kotlin and .net shop with 90 percent macs. people use rider.
  • But also Rider is awesome, and I recommend it to everyone.
  • Good news for Rider I guess
  • Microsoft would never say it, of course, but truly the best "alternative solution" is Jetbrains Rider. It's head and shoulders above VS for Mac in every way. I learn more C# features through its recommendations than even reading Microsoft's development docs.

Reddit Comments
There are at least four ongoing discussions on Reddit that sport comments including:

  • I like Visual Studio well enough, but Rider works fantastic, has some extra tools and perks over VS, works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, has companion IDEs for pretty much every other language you could want, a database IDE, integration with their own optional task tracking, version control, etc...
  • I don't think 2022 has ever made it to 60 percent of what 2019 had. This was when I had to switch to Rider.
  • If you're serious about .NET development on Mac I'd recommend Rider.
  • Not too surprising - it was never anything close to Visual Studio for Windows. Rider is so much better and way more in line with Windows VS if you need to do .Net dev on a Mac.
  • I hated using it so much that I switched to Rider on Mac. Then loved that so much, I switched to Rider when I do dev work on PC

X Comments
This platform featured many posts on the retirement, with some comments including:

  • They lost to @JetBrainsRider. I personally don't know anyone who uses VS for Mac, and I know quite a lot of people who develop for .NET on macOS. Everyone uses Rider.
  • JetBrains Rider IDE was superior on non-Windows OSes to begin with, so.
  • Last time I checked it was really buggy ans VSCode isn't good enought, so my entire team decided to use Rider
  • Rider was better experience on a Mac anyway.
  • The Visual Studio for Mac retirement blog post not mentioning JetBrains Rider as an alternative must be an out of season April fools joke, especially when the alternatives are "just use VS in a windows VM lol"
  • They forgot to mention the best option: JetBrains Rider
  • Rider gang, rise up :: Visual Studio for Mac Retirement Announcement
  • Guess I'll move some stuff to Rider.
  • Ha I knew it. Jetbrains Rider won.
  • Microsoft sacking off Visual Studio for Mac. VSCode the only other option now. Should send a few more people Rider's way I guess.
  • If you're a .NET Developer on Mac, looks like it's Rider or VS Code now
  • Microsoft retiring Visual Studio for Mac in one year. Definitely great news for JetBrains Rider.

JetBrains Agrees!
JetBrains was quick to jump on the move, yesterday announcing, "JetBrains Rider Welcomes Visual Studio for Mac Users With a 65 percent Discount on New Personal Subscriptions."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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