9 things you need to know about Visual Studio Code

9 things you need to know about Visual Studio Code

As far as I know, Visual Studio IDE is heavy. The last version I’ve used was Visual Studio 2008. I used it to finish my last assignment using VB.Net twelve years ago. My experience showed me it’s one of the heaviest IDE I ever used. It’s as heavy as Netbeans or Eclipse. At that time, I run Windows Vista or 7, can’t remember well. That’s the reason I just ignore a friend’s recommendation to give it a try. I assume it’s going to be as heavy as it used to be. It turns out I was wrong. Here are the 9 things you need to know about Visual Studio Code

1. Light

After reading some recommendations on Reddit, I am curious to give it a try. Has it become light IDE now? Is it loading fast now? I know most of the Redditors are always brutally honest about something. 

I download it, its file size gives me a creep, a little bit. It is more than 80MB when I download it. After installing on my Mojave, it becomes 243.6MB!

Yet, all of my bad assumptions are gone when I opened it. It’s opening almost instantly. I don’t feel I am using an IDE. It feels I am using a pure text editor like Textmate or Atom. Seriously. No lag at all.

2. Open-source

The source code is available on Github https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode under MIT License. Everyone can see the codes. This way, when something goes wrong, many eyeballs will catch it right away.

3. Multi-platform

In the past, Microsoft used to provide product for Windows only. But it’s changed now. This Visual Studio Code is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, on .deb and .rpm file. Now, it’s not exclusively for Windows only.

4. Easy to learn

If you used to work with Cloud9 IDE or other IDE, it’s going to be easy to learn and adapt to work with this IDE. 

5. Standalone

At least on Mac, I don’t need to install any dependency. It’s just a matter of copying the file to the Applications folder.

6. Ability to work offline

While some IDE is moving to the cloud, Visual Studio is the one you can use to finish up your work, even when you’re offline.

7. Zen mode

I haven’t found such a feature on the other IDE including AWS Cloud9 I often use. It’s a feature to switch the display into a clean and distraction-free layout. It’s beyond an ordinary fullscreen mode.

8. Integrated terminal

There is no need to switch windows when you’re using Visual Studio Code when you need to use the terminal. It is already available there. Just go to View -> Terminal and you’ll see a terminal open at the bottom of the IDE. It’s just like AWS Cloud9.

9. Myriad of extensions

For supporting many languages, the Visual Studio Code has many supporting extensions. For example, it won’t show syntax highlighting for slim. You need to install an extension for slim from Code -> Preferences -> Extensions. 

There is a search box at the top for search the extensions, once you opened the extensions sidebar like this:

Conclusions

There you go, those 9 things you need to know about Visual Studio Code.

Though it’s not as light as Vim, it’s the lightest IDE I know. The way it works, the way it starts up, often makes me forget that it’s an IDE. It is not a text editor!

So, if you’re looking for a light and fast IDE to support many languages, with an integrated terminal, Visual Studio Code is your best option.

P.S VS Code ranked number 3, only behind Vim and NeoVim on Slant: https://www.slant.co/topics/12/~best-programming-text-editors

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