Visual Studio for Mac OSX - What's Missing?

PHOTO CREDIT: "Broken" by C.P.Storm on Flickr (Creative Commons)

I prefer macOS for software development. Some great dev tools are built right into the OS, and many other compatible applications are available to download and install. Even Microsoft provides some tools, languages and frameworks for macOS.

One such tool is Visual Studio, a code editor that provides some essential features for .NET development. Unfortunately, the Mac version is incomplete, compared the original Windows version. Most .NET tutorials assume this missing functionality is available by default. This can lead to a lot of false starts and frustrating moments in the learning process.

Below is a list of work arounds I’ve found to get the job done on a Mac.

Local SQL Server

In VS for Windows, you can create and query local database tables with SQL Server Express LocalDB and SQL Server Object Explorer.

Mac Alternatives:

Bonus Tip: Docker + SQL Server “Connect String”

EF Core Database Migrations

In VS for Windows, you can run EF Core migrations using the Package Manager Console.

Mac Alternatives:

Scaffold Identity

In VS for Windows, you can use Solution Explorer to add ASP.NET Core Identity.

Mac Alternatives:

Editor Extensions

Extensions allow users to add extra features to the editor. For the most part, Visual Studio extensions are only available for Windows.

Oddly enough, Microsoft’s free open-source editor, Visual Studio Code, does support cross-platform extensions. If you need these features, you can load a project in a separate VS Code window, and still have it loaded in Visual Studio as well.

Bonus - Cool Extensions: Emmet, VSCodeVim