Visual Studio Code Really Surprised Me

by Rodrigo BournissentFebruary 25, 2016
Microsoft released a new open-source IDE.

(Featured image credit)


First steps with IDEs

I was a Windows user since I remember. I loved all the Microsoft products, even their hardware, like Surface…until I met Linux when I joined Altoros. With Linux, I started to see a new world, open-source applications, a community, people sharing their knowledge, their own code, developers improving software made by other developers. So, I started to think: “Microsoft is very good, but maybe if they would start to share their code or listening to their users in a different way, they could have much better products.”

At the university, studying Computer Science, the professors recommended Eclipse as the perfect IDE with so many features: autocompletion, references to the methods definition, linters, and so on. It was so slow and so interested in consuming your RAM! Then I heard about Sublime Text, it was love at first sight: fast, simple, basic, and powerful at the same time, with a lot of plug-ins to extend its functionality.

Sublime Text (Image credit)


My first experience with Visual Studio Code

A couple of weeks ago, a customer told us that they would start using TypeScript, and asked me to take a look at the Visual Studio Code editor, because someone had recommended it to him as a good tool to code using TypeScript.

To be honest, my first thought was, “Visual Studio? Microsoft? I don’t think so,” but well…the customer is always right, heh?

So, opened and typed “Visual Studio Code.” First things I saw on the official website were: multi-platform, more than 10 thousands stars on GitHub (GitHub? Nice!), and extensions. Very good start! I checked the GitHub project, and the title said, “Visual Studio Code—Open Source.” Then I saw the issues, how organized they were…I couldn’t wait any longer, let’s install this thing! You just have to download a file, extract it, and you’re ready to go. Easy!


What I miss of Sublime on Visual Studio Code

Short answer: nothing. I found them pretty similar, both of them are fast, minimalistic, with plug-ins to extend the functionality. Even most of the shortcuts are the same.

It’s true, Visual Studio Code doesn’t have as many plug-ins as Sublime Text, but it has the ones I need.


Advantages of Visual Studio Code

The thing I love most of Visual Studio Code is the integration with Git and the debug mode, both out-of-the-box. However, there is a bunch of other things, such as:

  • linters for JavaScript, CSS, LESS, SASS, and Java
  • language colorization (syntax highlighting) for numerous languages
  • live markdown preview (I’m using it to write this post.)
  • developer tools (designed using Electron Framework)
  • a way to create your own snippets
  • user and workspace settings
  • themes
  • tasks (autodetection of gulp, grunt, and jake tasks from your project files and a possibility to run them, if you want)
  • extensions and Extension Manager (Package Control for Sublime Text users)

Popular VS Code extensions (Image credit)



Visual Studio Code is just starting, but you already have several extensions to use. I just installed two, so far:

  • semistandard to validate my JavaScript code (the linter included by default wasn’t enough)
  • Slack Integration to share code (entire files or just pieces) on Slack channels

You’ll see six categories on the marketplace:

  • debuggers
  • languages
  • linters
  • snippets
  • themes
  • other

Or you can create your own.

Document This: an extension automatically generating detailed JSDoc comments (Image credit)


Bottom line

I’m glad that Microsoft is back again! Developing their products with a better and a completely new approach, sharing its knowledge with the developer community and giving them a very good product. And, most importantly, listening to its users and implementing new features that they were requesting.

I think you should give Visual Studio Code an opportunity, it won’t disappoint you.


Further reading


About the author

Rodrigo Federico BournissentRodrigo Federico Bournissent is Senior Front-End Developer at Altoros. He has more than 13 years of experience in creating web solutions for customers operating across various industries. Rodrigo has a bachelor’s degree in engineering information systems.


The post is written by Rodrigo Federico Bournissent; edited by Sophia Turol and Alex Khizhniak.