Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.5 Preview 2 is available

Dominic Nahous

Dominic

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac 8.5 Preview 2 is ready to download today! The latest preview of Visual Studio for Mac adds a handful of neat features and fixes that were direct requests from our users such as:

  • Authentication templates for ASP.NET Core projects
  • Enhancements in Xamarin for Android and XAML
  • Refinements to accessibility that include a new color palette, refreshed icons, and high contrast mode support

Add authentication to your ASP.NET Core projects

One of the most requested features from our ASP.NET Core developers has been the ability to create ASP.NET Core projects with authentication. With this release of Visual Studio for Mac, you can now create ASP.NET Core projects with either No Authentication or Individual Authentication that uses an In-App store (which is the most used auth option). When you create a new ASP.NET Core project that supports one of these auth methods, you’ll find an additional dropdown in the project creation flow. Whether you’re a seasoned ASP.NET Core developer or developing your first app, we encourage you to try out this newly added feature. As always, please reach out to us if you have any feedback using this new feature.

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Develop mobile apps more efficiently with improvements to Xamarin

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.5 Preview 2 is full of improvements for mobile developers that help you build better mobile apps, faster including:

  • Android Apply Changes: Quickly see changes made to your Android resource files, such as layouts, drawables, etc., on an Android device or emulator without requiring the application to be restarted.
  • Multi-Target Reload for XAML Hot Reload: Reload changes made to your XAML instantly on multiple targets (such as an iOS Simulator and Android emulator) at the same time for rapid UI iteration.
  • XAML Document Outline: See the hierarchy of your Xamarin.Forms UI in the “Document Outline” pane.
  • Improved Xcode Storyboard Designer Integration: Add the ability to set your default iOS designer in Visual Studio for Mac, enabling you to use the tools that make you most productive for authoring iOS UIs.

For a complete overview of what’s new for mobile developers in this release, check out the Xamarin blog.

 

Experience a more accessible user interface

We’ve continued to improve the overall accessibility of Visual Studio for Mac. We updated the color palette and icons, as well as warning and error status messages, have been refreshed. We’ve also increased color contrast ratios for text and icons to enhance clarity. We made these changes to make it easier for users with visual impairments to receive feedback from the user interface. We know that improving the accessibility of Visual Studio for Mac is a long journey and that we still have much work ahead of us. We’d appreciate any feedback on any of the changes we’ve made here, or recently with regards to accessibility.

Visual Studio for Mac supports macOS High Contrast Mode

On macOS, you can increase the color contrast of the entire system by turning on High Contrast Mode via the Increase Contrast checkbox in System Preferences > Accessibility Preferences. Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.5 Preview 2 fully supports High Contrast Mode.

An updated color palette increases visibility

We replaced the previous color palette with a new palette to fix several issues with color contrast. The difference between the old and new color palette is illustrated below:

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The new palette improves upon the old one, fixes the issues, and brings with it better semantic meaning.

Icons have been reviewed, redrawn, and adjusted for additional clarity

Visual Studio for Mac has always contained many icons in different flavors for color theme and selected states. Every icon has been individually verified for accessibility issues, converted to the new palette, duplicated, and repainted using the new high contrast palette. We’ve improved all our existing icons in addition to introducing new high contrast icons. Some of these icons needed to be redrawn or modified in other ways as they had previously used color alone to show differences in state.

Warning and error colors have been refreshed

We also changed the colors of warning and error related messages shown by Visual Studio for Mac to enhance readability.

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We now have new colors for error popovers, with better appearance when in high contrast mode, too.

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In the next few days, we’ll publishing another article with more details on these changes. Stay tuned!

 

Try the latest preview today!

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably read about all the improvements in Visual Studio for Mac version 8.5 Preview 2. Now it’s time to install it on your Mac! To try the latest preview of Visual Studio for Mac, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed Visual Studio 2019 for Mac, then switch to the Preview channel.

As always, if you have any feedback on this, or any, version of Visual Studio for Mac, we invite you to leave them in the comments below this post or to reach out to us on Twitter at @VisualStudioMac. If you run into issues while using Visual Studio for Mac, you can use Report a Problem to notify the team. In addition to product issues, we also welcome your feature suggestions on the Visual Studio Developer Community website.

We hope you enjoy using Visual Studio 2019 for Mac Preview 2 as much as we enjoyed working on it!

 

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