Visual Studio for Mac

Back in November, Microsoft introduced Visual Studio for Mac, basically an experience similar to the Windows version of the cloud-based development tool. Now, alongside the release of Visual Studio 2017 to the public, Microsoft has also rolled out Visual Studio for Mac Preview 4.

Visual Studio for Mac Preview 4 brings new features and fixes included in Xamarin Studio 6.3. Xamarin Studio is the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that helps users create cross-platform apps for iOS, Mac and Android.

In addition, in Preview 4 the default build engine is now MSBuild, instead of xbuild, while users can specify portable and embedded compiler options in project options.

Microsoft also made various optimizations, as well as improvements to memory usage and performance across the IDE.

.NET Core Support

Microsoft´s open source .NET Core platform allows for cross-platform development and management similar to the main .NET Framework. It consists of CoreCLR, a complete cross-platform runtime implementation of CLR, the virtual machine that manages the execution of .NET programs.

The Preview 4 of Visual Studio for Mac brings important changes to the .NET Core workloads, such as integrated unit testing support for running and debugging tests with the Visual Studio Test Platform. Here is the changelog for .NET Core Support in Preview 4:

  • “Integrated unit testing support for running and debugging tests with the Visual Studio Test Platform that is included with the .NET Core SDK.
  • Integrated the .NET Core templating engine and project templates.
  • F# .NET Core projects are now supported.
  • Support for migrating projects project.json/xproj to csproj.
  • References and Packages folders have been removed from the Solution window. This information is shown in the Dependencies folder under the Assemblies, Projects, Packages and SDK folders.
  • Allow multiple NuGet packages to be select and removed in one step for .NET Core projects.
  • A message dialog is now displayed if .NET Core SDK is missing or unsupported with a download link.
  • Added ASP.NET Core run configuration settings in project options. App url, launch url and enabling/disabling launching the browser can now be configured.”

Connected App

Visual Studio for Mac Preview 4 also introduces the new Connected App project templates. The Connected App templates offer a quick way to create a multi-platform mobile app and its cloud backend.

These templates create the following projects: a Xamarin.iOS app project and a Xamarin.Android app project which share code via a shared project. The Connected App templates also create a .NET Core project that implements a back-end service for the app.

Visual Studio for Mac Connected App templates

Huge pack of bug fixes

Along with the general and .NET Core changes, Preview 4 brings also lots of bug fixes to Visual Studio for Mac. Among others, Microsoft fixed the quick task drawing glitch and the restore errors after renaming a project file. If you want to check the full changelog for the bug fixes in Preview 4, check here.