Visual Studio Code: A Code Editor for All?

Visual Studio Code: A Code Editor for All?

The open source code editor Visual Studio Code, which was developed largely as an open source project by Microsoft, has made a name for itself in the developer community over the years, and does so beyond the often rigid boundaries of the Microsoft community. has done. VS Code, as the editor is often abbreviated, is high-performance, easy-to-use, platform-independent, and straightforward with no frills. The code editor provides all the features that many developers need in their daily code-build-debug cycle.

Over the years, support for frameworks, tools, languages, and cloud platforms has grown steadily, significantly increasing the user base and acceptance. In addition, the Extensions API ensures that Visual Studio Code can be extended using plug-ins. On the one hand, it gives the opportunity for professional providers to upgrade the development environment for their own purposes, on the other hand, the community can also contribute. are an example among others micropython and the robotics kit of the Lego Mindstorms EV3 (the third generation of the Mindstorms line from Lego). There is also a plug-in to transfer and launch programs written in Python directly to EV3. As a result, VS Code has made it into the education sector, as the combination is often used in schools and other educational institutions.

Other examples are the Java ecosystem, which is also developing due to the active open source community around Visual Studio Code, and F# as a functional language, for which Visual Studio Code is on the official list of recommended development environments. Even “top dogs” like C#, previously strongly tied to Visual Studio, have a vibrant community around Visual Studio Code.

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This three-part series of articles takes a look at Visual Studio Code from different angles. Everything in the first part revolves around the background and development history, the expectations of an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) such as Visual Studio Code, the technical base, features, as well as integration into diverse ecosystems that have a common development Must be able to serve the environment. The second part will deal with extensive extensibility, many settings for configuration, license topics, telemetry data and a brief comparison with other editors. In the third and final part, the focus turns back to extensibility. He will show how your own Visual Studio Code extension can be implemented to introduce new functions to the IDE.

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) Its existence began quite thoughtfully. The first final version 1.0.0 saw the light of day in April 2016. Microsoft published the application in German and nine other languages. The first beta version was released a year ago and hit the stage at the Build 2015 developer conference. At the time, Microsoft put the number of active users at 500,000. Various sources have since spoken of around 4.5 million users in 2018. 5 million in 2019 and 11 million in mid-2020. According to Internet Platform Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey More than 50 percent of survey participants use VS Code as a development environment. However, the numbers should be treated with caution, as the study showed a significant number of web developers resort to this development environment. The survey does not provide any background information for this preference, but it does show that developers of mobile applications are more likely to choose Android Studio or Xcode than Visual Studio Code, while data scientists, for example, IPython/Jupiter, PyCharm and RStudio.

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To date, VS Code has repeatedly raised a certain suspicion. On the one hand, this is due to the main responsible company Microsoft. The fact that a code editor could come from this company that is open source and almost the same name Visual Studio, the IDE flagship from Microsoft, caused a lot of surprise among developers. One opinion that is often expressed is that the group may cannibalize itself as a result. Anyone who uses VS Code and is satisfied with it will certainly no longer be using C# and Visual Studio for company – especially since it’s a huge hit in enterprise environments.

It was not known since yesterday that Visual Studio has to evolve significantly. And even then Visual Studio probably won’t achieve all that Microsoft has apparently taken into account. Many of the features summarized in the Enterprise edition (Visual Studio) are subject to a fee and thus disappear behind a paywall. There are also other providers in this paid segment such as JetBrains, along with an IDE called Rider. Anyone who has tried VS Code in another context and was satisfied can also take a look at development, for example with C# in it – especially since with .NET Core and .NET 5, functions increasingly moving to the command line and are no longer strictly bound to Visual Studio which used to be the case. VS Code has apparently succeeded in persuading even those who had not used the commercial version (Visual Studio) and would not even consider using this version of the editor.

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With VS Code, Microsoft has also managed to build a vibrant community around the code editor. source code for Project is available on GitHub. There the project is officially called “Visual Studio Code – Open Source (“Code – OSS”)”. VS Code is under the MIT license and there has been a lot of participation. The number of contributors is four-digit, and over 8,000 pull requests are closed. while writing this article Version 1.57.1 ​​is the current release from May 2021. One innovation is, for example, stationary manufacturing for Apple Silicon, that is, the Apple Processor M1 for the MacBook Air and other products. Trust in VS Code is also based on the fact that there are regular update cycles. The wiki on GitHub provides information on what is planned for the next version.

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