Traditionally, Visual Studio has been a full-blown IDE, seen by many as bloated and clunky. As of a few days ago Microsoft has entered the lightweight editing marketplace with Visual Studio Code, an HTML5 based application (hit F12 and you’ll see your browser’s dev tools). So how does it fare?
Aestetically Visual Studio Code is very clean looking, and influenced heavily by Sublime. But looks aren’t the only thing borrowed – Visual Studio Code also features a heavy emphasis on keyboard shortcuts.
The important things to know about Visual Studio Code are:
- All the configurations are done in JSON.
- There’s Intellisense, syntax highlighting, etc.
- Built in support for Git(!)
- No tabs, but there’s a “working files” list in its place in the folder sidebar.
In my opinion you don’t really need tabs in Code, as all files load near-instantly.
- Full run/debug support for node and mono apps.
Considering it’s only at version 0.1, it looks like a solid addition to its class of editors. Some of the git stuff doesn’t quite work yet (switching branches, pulling/pushing), and there doesn’t seem to be any straightforward way to extend the application yet. Being largely a PHP developer, I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s able to get function definitions for the language. When I finally make the jump and start writing node.js stuff, I might see Code not just as a lightweight editor, but as a lightweight IDE.
Which brings us to the question of “should you use it?” Users of Notepad++, including myself, will be tempted to make the jump sooner than later, if only for the superior syntax highlighting, hints, and git integration. Yes, Notepad++ has plugin support, but their admittedly a bit rough on the edges in comparison to the competition.
Sublime users on the other hand might want to wait until Visual Studio Code matures a little.
For more information on Visual Studio Code, see its documentation.