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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Releases Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.9

Microsoft Releases Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.9

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Earlier this week, Microsoft released Visual Studio 2019 version 8.9 for Mac. The new release includes support for .NET 6 Preview 1 (released last month) and testing Unity applications. It also contains improvements such as more accessible UIs, solution filtering, a new native XML editor, and support for the Apple M1 chip via the Rosetta 2 translation layer.

One of the most relevant features of the new release is the support for Unity tests. The new feature allows developers to discover, run, and debug existing Unity tests. The Tools for Unity in Visual Studio for Mac was also improved: now, when inspecting code on a breakpoint, you will find all the objects in the current scene under the Active Scene node. It is important to notice that support for unit tests in Visual Studio for Mac currently requires that you use Unity 2020 or newer and update the Visual Studio Editor package to version 2.0.7 or newer. A complete list of all improvements in Tools for Unity can be found here.

Another interesting feature of the new release is the preview of a new Quick Actions and Refactorings menu, which appears when you apply suggested code fixes or refactor to your code. The menu UI was improved for accessibility (although the changes are marked as experimental for the time being). In addition to these changes, Quick Info now displays compiler warning IDs, and IntelliSense completion now also includes preprocessor symbols. New actions such as interpolated string conversion and redundant equality removal are also part of the improvements.

Addressing accessibility issues in the IDE was one of the established milestones for this release. The new version of Visual Studio for Mac includes a number of updated UIs, including the Immediate Window, the Git Blame view, and a new native XML Editor. The new editor is built using the same common backend introduced with version 8.1 of the IDE, which means it can share code with Visual Studio for Windows for features such as IntelliSense, text logic, and language services. Multi-caret editing and ligature are also supported in the new editor, and the comment/uncomment functionality was improved.

Similarly to the new version of Visual Studio 2019 for Windows (also released this week), Xamarin.Forms "change only" XAML HOT Reload is no longer in preview. The new mechanism allows you to update your running applications UI in real-time and see those changes reflected immediately - without requiring page reloading or file saving. It also supports the Live Visual Tree feature, which shows the runtime UI hierarchy for the application and makes it easier to navigate through the XAML source code.

In preparation for the Apple Silicon support expected in .NET 6, the IDE now supports the Apple M1 chip via the Rosetta 2 translation layer. Rosetta is provided by Apple, and it allows users to run apps that contain x86_64 instructions on Apple silicon. The translation layer is meant to ease the transition to Apple silicon, but it is not a substitute for creating a native version of your app. It is also important to note that on the same day that the new version of Visual Studio for Mac was released, Apple Insider reported that Apple might be planning to remove support for Rosetta 2 on M1 Macs in certain regions.

Other relevant new updates include support for version 30 of the Android SDK API and solution filtering, a feature already available in Visual Studio 2019 for Windows that allows you to open a solution with only selective projects loaded. Also, Visual Studio for Mac 8.9 no longer includes the iOS designer. According to the official roadmap, Visual Studio for Mac will move to fully native macOS UI with version 8.12.

Visual Studio 2019 v8.9 for Mac can be downloaded from the official Visual Studio for Mac site or via the in-product updater. The official release notes for the current version of Visual Studio for Mac can be found here.

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