What is Visual Studio Code and Why did we build it ?

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (famously known as VS Code) is a free open source text editor by Microsoft. VS Code is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Although the editor is relatively lightweight, it includes some powerful features that have made VS Code one of the most popular development environment tools in recent times.

Visual Studio Code

Features

VS Code supports a wide array of programming languages from Java, C++, and Python to CSS, Go, and Dockerfile. Moreover, VS Code allows you to add on and even create new extensions including code linkers, debuggers, and cloud and web development support.

The VS Code user interface allows for a lot of interaction compared to other text editors. To simplify the user experience, VS Code is divided into five main regions:

  • The activity bar
  • The sidebar
  • Editor groups
  • The panel
  • The status bar

The image below shows how these regions are displayed:

Visual Studio Code

Getting started

You can install the latest version of Visual Studio Code from their official website.

After installation, you can run the editor by entering the code -n command into the terminal. This will prompt VS Code to start and display a fresh instance. If you want to continue working from where you left off in the previous coding session, enter the code command without the -n flag. If you want to open VS Code in a certain directory, navigate to the directory and enter the code -r command. You are now on your way to writing​ powerful code on your VS Code environment!

Visual Studio Code combines the simplicity of a source code editor with powerful developer tooling, like IntelliSense code completion and debugging.

First and foremost, it is an editor that gets out of your way. The delightfully frictionless edit-build-debug cycle means less time fiddling with your environment, and more time executing your ideas.

Available for macOS, Linux, and Windows

Visual Studio Code supports macOS, Linux, and Windows – so you can hit the ground running, no matter the platform.

Visual Studio Code

 

Edit, build and debug with ease

At its heart, Visual Studio Code features a lightning-fast source code editor, perfect for day-to-day use. With support for hundreds of languages, VS Code helps you be instantly productive with syntax highlighting, bracket-matching, auto-indentation, box-selection, snippets, and more. Intuitive keyboard shortcuts, easy customization, and community-contributed keyboard shortcut mappings let you navigate your code with ease.

For serious coding, you’ll often benefit from tools with more code understanding than just blocks of text. Visual Studio Code includes built-in support for IntelliSense code completion, rich semantic code understanding and navigation, and code refactoring.

And when the coding gets tough, the tough get debugging. Debugging is often the one feature that developers miss most in a leaner coding experience, so we made it happen. Visual Studio Code includes an interactive debugger, so you can step through source code, inspect variables, view call stacks, and execute commands in the console.

VS Code also integrates with build and scripting tools to perform common tasks making everyday workflows faster. VS Code has support for Git so you can work with source control without leaving the editor including viewing pending changes diffs.

Make it your own

Customize every feature to your liking and install any number of third-party extensions. While most scenarios work “out of the box” with no configuration, VS Code also grows with you, and we encourage you to optimize your experience to suit your unique needs. VS Code is an open-source project so you can also contribute to the growing and vibrant community on GitHub.

Built with love for the Web

VS Code includes enriched built-in support for Node.js development with JavaScript and TypeScript, powered by the same underlying technologies that drive Visual Studio. VS Code also includes great tooling for web technologies such as JSX/React, HTML, CSS, SCSS, Less, and JSON.

Robust and extensible architecture

Architecturally, Visual Studio Code combines the best of the web, native, and language-specific technologies. Using Electron, VS Code combines web technologies such as JavaScript and Node.js with the speed and flexibility of native apps. VS Code uses a newer, faster version of the same industrial-strength HTML-based editor that has powered the “Monaco” cloud editor, Internet Explorer’s F12 Tools, and other projects. Additionally, VS Code uses a tools service architecture that enables it to integrate with many of the same technologies that power Visual Studio, including Roslyn for .NET, TypeScript, the Visual Studio debugging engine, and more.

Visual Studio Code includes a public extensibility model that lets developers build and use extensions, and richly customize their edit-build-debug experience.

What can Visual Studio Code do?

Visual Studio Code has some very unique features. They are listed as below :

  • Support for multiple programming languages: Supports multiple programming languages. So earlier, programmers needed Web-Support: a different editor for different languages, but it has built-in multi-language support. This also means it easily detects if there’s any fault or cross-language reference, it’ll be able to detect it easily.
  • Intelli-Sense: It can detect if any snippet of code is left incomplete. Also, common variable syntaxes and variable declarations are made automatically. Ex: If a certain variable is being used in the program and the user has forgotten to declare, intelli-sense will declare it for the user.
  • Cross-Platform Support: Traditionally, editors used to support either Windows or Linux, or Mac Systems. But Visual Studio Code is cross-platform. So it can work on all three platforms. Also, the code works on all three platforms; else, the open-source and proprietary software codes used to be different.
  • Extensions and Support: Usually supports all the programming languages but, if the user/programmer wants to use the programming language which is not supported then, he can download the extension and use it. And performance-wise, the extension doesn’t slow down the editor as it rums as a different process.
  • Repository: With the ever-increasing demand for the code, secure and timely storage is equally important. It is connected with Git or can be connected with any other repository for pulling or saving the instances.
  • Web-Support: Comes with built-in support for Web applications. So web applications can be built and supported in VSC.
  • Hierarchy Structure: The code files are located in files and folders. The required code files also have some files, which may be required for other complex projects. These files can be deleted as per convenience.
  • Improving Code: Some code snippets can be declared a bit differently, which might help the user in the code. This function prompts the user, wherever necessary, to change it to the suggested option.
  • Terminal Support: Many of the times, the user needs to start from the root of the directory to start with a particular action, in-built terminal or console provides user support to not switch in-between two screens for the same.
  • Multi-Projects: Multiple projects containing multiple files/folders can be opened simultaneously. These projects/folders might or might not be related to each other.
  • Git Support: Resources can be pulled from Git Hub Repo online and vice-versa; saving can be done too. Resource pulling also means cloning the code which is made available on the internet. This code can later be changed and saved.
  • Commenting: A common feature, but some of the languages do not support it. Commenting on the code helps the user to recall or track according to the sequence he wants.

Advantages and Why should we use Visual Studio Code

There are many advantages over any other IDE; they are as follow:

1. Cross-platform support :

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Mac

2. Light-weight

3. Robust Architecture

4. Intelli-Sense

5. Freeware: Free of Cost- probably the best feature of all for all the programmers out there, even more for the organizations.

6. Many users will use it or might have used it for desktop applications only, but it also provides great tool support for Web Technologies like; HTML, CSS, JSON.

There are a few things that one can find a bit odd compared with so many features. It mainly helps the front-end developers as compared with the back-end developers. But as per some users’ opinions, it is equally helpful. It supports most of the languages used by most of the programmers, but other languages might have to download, or extensions may have to be used for them. Along with this common zoom-in, zoom-out brightness, theme selection features too are made available.

Visual Studio Scope

The most common languages are :

  • C#
  • Visual Basic
  • Java-Script
  • R
  • XML
  • Python
  • CSS
  • GO
  • PERL

Another feature that naïve-users or anyone can see instantly different from other editors is the user-friendliness of the Visual Studio Code. The usability is very easy to handle. The file is arranged hierarchically and has regular software like a toolbar, status bar, and a sidebar. It also has a floating windows explorer window, which can be fixed at one place according to convenience, which consists of the directory structure of files. These files (code files, image folders, etc.) can be opened or renamed from here, and changes will automatically get reflected in the storage.

Why do we need Visual Studio Code?

Till recent times, there’s hardly been an IDE or code editor that has been so user-friendly that even first-time users can use every feature without any hassles. The coding-friendly feature and code error recognition also helps users a long way into making the code more efficient and error-less.

How will this technology help you in career growth?

With new and emerging technologies, and new frameworks being used by the software, this brings into play a great variety of code effectiveness. These emerging technologies are a sure thing that is to be added into the Visual Studio Code and its extensions. The developers, testers, data administrators, both old and newbies, can equally use it, and that too very effectively. The people who are into this industry might find it a bit tough to learn this new technology, considering their use of more manual modes of code logic.

Conclusion

With advancements in technology day-by-day, Visual Studio Code is going to play a pivotal role in the development of software. With its ever-evolving features and soon-to-be-added new settings, which will enable users to work with it from anywhere, it is certainly “THE THING” to keep one ahead of everyone in this ever-increasing IT market.

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