Two Weeks with Visual Studio Code

I saw a tweet from Bryan Liles

I love people’s reaction the first time they use @code. It does everything an editor should do very well. Even old vimmers… (I was one)

He was referring to Visual Studio Code. I had looked at this editor when it was released. It was meh. Seemed like it was geared more for Node, and it’s no secret that I am not a fan of current JavaScript architecture. And besides, I still have Visual Studio scars from long ago.

But I figured, why not.

In fact, I replied.

@bryanl @code What the hell. I’ll give it a shot.

So I set out to use VS Code. To give it a fair shake, I decided every day for two weeks seemed fair. I created an event on my calendar for the end of the two weeks, and started using it.

First Impressions

Feels like Atom. It’s not bad. Starts up a bit faster. I like how the settings are done. It’s actually pretty good.

I don’t really like the keyboard shortcuts. My brain has been wired to think that command and a number jumps to the tab with that number. In VS Code that splits the pane. This is actually pretty useful, but muscle memory is hard to get past. I know I can remap them. I didn’t.

The terminal is probably the best I’ve seen in a text editor. It detected my shell and all of my dotfiles, including aliases. This was pretty impressive.

The GUI for git is odd. I am more of a command line guy. I have git aliases and a workflow setup. Using a different system for that in my editor felt weird. I did use it a few times. It wasn’t terrible. But still felt odd.

I do have to admit that the instant git diff feature is cool, but it often displays weird. If I have two panes and a couple of files open, the git diff view is pretty unusable without closing a bunch of files and panes.

I didn’t even use the debugger. I’m really a print and puts debugger guy. Or I should say a debuggerer.

Search felt odd. Somehow I’m used to hitting enter to get to the next result on the page. It seems like when I started using it, hitting enter did something odd. I just looked and it seems to go to the next result now.

And I kinda like how Atom does project search. Any file search, file or project, appears in the same place. With Code, file search is on the right and project is on the left. Not a major deal, but always looking in the same place is nice.

One Week In

By time one week had went by, it was really growing on me. My biggest gripe at this point was jumping tabs; command + option + arrow just feels odd. The only app that I can think of that doesn’t support command + number is Safari. I still didn’t map that key.

Time’s Up

After two weeks, and getting laughed at here and there for using anything with Visual Studio in the name, it’s not bad. I could update a few keyboard shortcuts and settings and be comfortable.

I’m not using it anymore. Although, I admit when I opened it up I thought Man, this is a good editor. I should use it.

My decision is based on a few factors.

  1. I still run from Visual Studio like the plague
  2. Did I mention I don’t like Visual Studio?
  3. I do a fair bit of pairing with junior developers and I like to use an editor that they are familiar with, and that’s Atom.
  4. I worry that Microsoft will keep adding IDE like features until it is one.