Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (vscode) is an open source IDE by Microsoft built using Electron (Node.js + Blink + Desktop package). I have been using the IDE for several months now, specifically to develop my JavaScript and TypeScript projects.

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Out of the box the IDE comes with a extension management system, syntax highlight, IntelliSense for many languages and GIT integration.

A great feature of the IDE is the right click ‘Open With Code’ context menu where any directory can be opened in the IDE from Explorer. Project related stuff is saved in a .vscode folder within the directory.

The GIT integration just works. GIT integration in VS 2015 has always been a lackluster experience, although one can improve it by installing additional VS extension. No Subversion integration is provided out of the box, Subversion can be installed using the extension manager.

The IDE is frequently updated by Microsoft – atleast once a month a new update is pushed out. The Release Notes contains very detailed explanations of the changes and improvements in new versions and frequently contain GIF’s to show new features, such as this one from the November 2016 release:

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Debugging is also supported. Different debug-engines can be installed allowing debug of many different kinds of applications, e.g. the Debugger for Chrome extensions allows debug of running javascript applications running in Chrome.

Even though vscode is more lightweight compared to VS, it takes the same amount of time (on my PC) to start each IDE. My guess is that the Electron framework takes a bit of time to initialize and compile the javascript that makes up vscode, while VS is more or less native binary code.

In any case vscode is really awesome to use and I can highly recommend it, at-least for web development using javascript, typescript, php, html, etc.

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