If there is one thing a developer can ever ask for is a good code editor for the love of God. I have tried at the very least 30 or more code editors and felt incomplete somewhere or the other. Being very honest I pretty much had fallen in love with sublime but then I had to pay for it and I was just not up for it since we had atom from GitHub that was more or less similar. So I used atom for sometimes eventually just not feeling complete and recently a friend of mine recommended Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code to me.
I am usually very selective about the software I use but I have to say that VS Code has totally impressed me in all departments. It feels like the exact component that has been missing from my development environment. Let us have a look at what makes it the best code editor today.
Open-Source & Cross Platform
VSCode is available on visual studio’s website and you can download it from here. It is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS as well. And the best part is that it is exactly the same on all platforms. Apart from that, Visual Studio Code is open source and you can contribute to it or fork it as well from the GitHub repo. Needless to say, it’s totally free for all.
The User Interface
VSCode’s User Interface is extremely intuitive and it uses the Monaco font by default with light text on a dark background. The directory structure is shown on the left-hand sidebar and opened files are displayed as tabs to the top. You can see some more icons to the left including search, Git, Debugger, and plugins that take the view of the current sidebar.
Code Completion with IntelliSense
And for people not writing web code, there are always languages extensions and plugins available that can do the job for you.
With the increasing number of programming domains, plugins and extensions have become extremely essential for any code editor today
VSCode has made various plugins available and you can choose from a store of existing plugins that are all free. These plugins can add custom commands or support for additional languages and frameworks. The best thing I like about VSCode is that it will suggest you plugins by detecting the type of project you are working on.
Am I the only one who doesn’t like opening up too many terminal windows. Seems like VSCode has got people like me covered with a built-in terminal. It actually supports multiple terminals and multiple types of terminals, so you could have a PowerShell, cmd or even an interpreter open at the same time.
Workspaces are basically projects. Since you might have folders from different places on the same project, you can create a workspace that can save the current state of the project with the open folders. This state can be saved as a custom workspace file and reused later. This allows for having various different workspaces.
There is nothing better than having the ability to split the window into two parts to see 2 files at the same time. Vscode not just allows for files but also splitting up terminal windows to view 2 different instances at the same time.
Integration with GIT
As I am writing this article, I have just received the news that Microsoft has acquired Github. Though I am not going to comment on that, I would just say that I am pretty sure that VScode will get an even tighter integration with Github.
The current integration is totally amazing and you can do pretty much everything with git from within the workspace itself and it will only get better from here.
I have personally found VSCode to be fairly lightweight and low on resources. Sure it’s not notepadd++ in terms of being lightweight but think about it is fairly great for the features it offers.
I saw a lot of fluctuations in RAM consumption but the consumption hit the upper range only when the system was idle. When I was multi-tasking, VSCode was running on fairly low.resources. So I am pretty sure it uses some type of strong cache management.
I think VSCode is a great code editor and the fact that despite being a Microsoft product I am able to run it on my Linux machines is just plain amazing. It is totally free and open source and includes more or less every feature that I would need. Lastly, a large number of people contributing to the project via plugins makes it even better.
Do you use VSCode? What do you like most about it? Do let me know in the comment section below.