Visual Studio for Mac: Q&A with Mikayla Hutchinson

The Connect(); conference in New York this week has seen a parade of open source and cross-platform products and initiatives from Microsoft. Whether it was Microsoft joining the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member, or Google joining the Technical Steering Group of the open source .NET Foundation, the theme of this year’s Connect(); event has been clear.

In that regard, perhaps no product exemplifies this theme as strongly as Visual Studio for Mac, which leverages the open source .NET Compiler Platform (aka Roslyn) to meld the developer experiences of Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio. Visual Studio for Mac brings native .NET development—including support for Android, iOS and .NET Core technologies—to the Mac. In her article “Introducing Visual Studio for Mac” in the Connect(); special issue of MSDN Magazine, Mikayla Hutchinson dives into the new IDE.

I caught up with Mikayla to talk about her article and asked what developers can expect next from Visual Studio for Mac. She couldn’t go into specifics, but said the team plans to “build on the .NET Core and ASP.NET Core support that we just released in the preview.” Here's more from our back and forth.


MD: Visual Studio for Mac pulls together a blend of internal and external products and technologies. Can you provide some insight into how the team managed to pull these elements together?

MH: Visual Studio has always been a deep source of inspiration for Xamarin Studio and MonoDevelop, so we didn’t need to make any fundamental changes, but there were lots of little details to get right and we had to strike a balance between it feeling like Visual Studio and feeling like a Mac app. Xamarin’s all about providing a polished, native user experience – its’s something everyone on the team cares about, and we’ll be refining it further. The open-sourcing of foundational components like Roslyn and MSBuild (among other things) and our work integrating them over the past year or so was critical in getting to the point where this was possible.


MD: It sounds like Visual Studio devs will be on familiar turf with Visual Studio for Mac. For developers coming from Xamarin Studio, what can they expect?

MH: There are a few tweaks to the UI, and some terminology and default settings changes, but on the whole it should be very familiar to Xamarin Studio developers as well as Visual Studio developers. And they’ll be getting some great new features like .NET Core support and multi-process debugging, with more to come.


MD: Kasey Uhlenhuth in her article on Visual Studio 2017 in the Connect(); special issue details some of the exciting things happening in the Visual Studio 2017 IDE. Can we expect those innovations to appear in Visual Studio for Mac?

MH: Absolutely! I’m not going to promise a timeline for individual things, as we have a lot of other things to work on, but we do want to add these kinds of things in Visual Studio for Mac, and sharing Roslyn makes it a lot easier to port them over.

I encourage everyone who’s interested in Visual Studio for Mac to visit our UserVoice site, and vote and provide suggestions to let us know what matters most to them. Knowing what people want and need is really important in planning and prioritizing our work.