Visual Studio Code Editor

I’ve been using the Visual Studio Code editor for the last couple of weeks and thought I would share my experience. I’ve mainly used this in a plain ‘ole polymer application which consists of html files. Using the editor this way has shown some of it’s shortcomings. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a fine editor and has a lot of features I really like. However with CSS, HTML and JavaScript all residing in the same file, a lot of the typeahead features just don’t work, which is my biggest complaint.

So onto my review, I’ll first start with my dislikes:

  • JavaScript intellisense doesn’t work with JavaScript embedded in an html file
  • HTML tags don’t auto close. In Sublime Text, when you type <div> and press enter, you get the corresponding </div>, this just doesn’t happen with Visual Studio Code. Likewise when starting a function or css definition.
  • I couldn’t figure out how to do block comments via a keyboard command (i.e. Highlight a block of code and press the correct key combination and it comments out that block). I found the keyboard command and even defined a custom one for this operation, but never could get it to work.
  • When you install any extension, you have to restart the editor
  • Doesn’t highlight corresponding opening/closing things (i.e. tags, code blocks, etc.)
  • All of the jsDoc functionality and extensions just don’t work when your JavaScript resides inside an html file
  • Missing color highlighting extensions. For example, type a color in css (i.e. red, #FF0000, rgb(255,0,0), etc) in sublime, that text is highlighted the color you typed when selected and has an underline of the color when not selected

That’s not a very big list of dislikes honestly, especially for something I spend all day in. So now for my likes:

  • It’s very configurable with a lot of extensions
  • Use in a TypeScript project and you get the same type of smarts you’ll find in most Java editors with great intellisense. Same if your JavaScript resides in a .js file. Great intellisense
  • Easy to navigate around your project without having to use the mouse
  • Built-In GIT client that’s easy to use, I actually haven’t opened sourcetree in a week, which is usually something that’s open most of the time on my machine
  • A very clean interface, it’s nice to look at. To me, Sublime Text looks… I don’t know, dated
  • While I didn’t try it, it has built-in debugger that connects to your browser
  • It’s actively being developed. Seems a new version is coming out monthly.
  • All kinds of linters built in
  • JSCS functionality built in
  • Love the integrated Terminal
  • Built in Emmet support, if you’ve ever used Emmet, you know how awesome it is

I think that about covers it. I really like this editor, and it’s easy to use, intuitive and nice to look at. Just some of the things I use every day are missing so I’ll probably try something else. While Red Pill is starting to use TypeScript in all of our projects, this particular project will take a couple of weeks to convert to TypeScript. So that’s really not an option at the moment. But, if you’re using TypeScript or are working on a large JavaScript project, this is a great editor for those scenarios. Once this particular project I’m working on is converted to use TypeScript, I’ll probably revisit this editor.

Until next time, Happy Coding!

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  1. Maybe you need the other VS features but most of the sublime users that I know have switched to Atom. There are two packages to add auto close tags that I know of.

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