Which version of .NET MAUI should I be using?

By | September 8, 2023

Here we are in September of 2023 and it may not be obvious whether you should be using the stable version of Visual Studio or the preview version. Also, things have become a bit more complicated with the announcement that Visual Studio for Mac is in maintenance mode and will go away eventually.

First of all, the next release of Visual Studio will be in November 2023. This will include .NET 8 and the latest MAUI framework built on .NET 8. There should be a release candidate (RC) sometime this month of September 2023, and once the RC is available, you will have a go live license and can deploy apps built using it to production and receive support from Microsoft.

You may not think of Microsoft as a company with limited resources, but with all the developer products that are supported by Microsoft, there are limited resources on .NET MAUI, as well as every other framework out there that Microsoft supports. The MAUI team made the conscious decision to maximize progress in MAUI going forward and not migrate a lot of these fixes back to earlier versions of MAUI (.NET 7 and 6). To get most of these fixes, you will need to be on MAUI for .NET 8. It isn’t even just a matter of using the latest preview of Visual Studio and targeting .NET 7, you still wouldn’t get the fixes.

Things will get a lot simpler in November, but in the meantime, it really depends on whether you are impacted by bugs that are fixed in the latest version of Visual Studio and .NET 8, or if you are good with the current released version.

The MAUI team has announced that Visual Studio for Mac is going away, and the path forward is Visual Studio Code. This makes a whole lot of sense since it’s much easier to support multiple host operating systems in VS Code, because VS Code runs on multiple operating systems out of the box including Windows, Linux, Mac, and more. Visual Studio for Mac is a huge legacy code base from the days when Xamarin was an independent company, and they needed a development environment for Mac. It must be very expensive to maintain, and I support this decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future VS Code is the recommended IDE for MAUI on Windows as well.

That being said, the VS Code extension for MAUI is in an early preview state, and the latest release of Visual Studio for Mac Preview supports .NET 8 and has the latest fixes for MAUI, so I would lean towards that route currently. There are details about using the latest Visual Studio for Mac Preview here for enabling .NET 8 support:

Announcing .NET MAUI in .NET 8 Preview 7: Keyboard Accelerators – .NET Blog (microsoft.com)

You can install a preview and release version of VS for Mac side by side. On Windows, for several releases now they have let you install several versions of Visual Studio side by side.

To summarize, whether you are on Windows or Mac, I would currently recommend the latest preview of Visual Studio if you’re developing a MAUI application. You will have all the latest fixes and be on the right path moving forward.

One thought on “Which version of .NET MAUI should I be using?

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