Visual Studio Code Can Do That?

Why is Visual Studio Code (VS Code) so popular, and do we really need another text editor?

Smashing Magazine


By Burke Holland

About two years ago, I begrudgingly opened Visual Studio Code (VS Code) for the first time. The only reason I even did so is that I was working on a TypeScript project (also quite begrudgingly) and I was tired of fighting with the editor and the compiler and all of the settings that I needed to make a TypeScript project work. Someone mentioned to me that TypeScript “just works” in VS Code and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were right.

I expected that though. VS Code is from Microsoft, so it’s entirely expected that TypeScript would just work. What I did not expect was that virtually anything that I needed to do in VS Code “just worked” too. And I do mean anything. While this article focuses primarily on features for the web as well as JavaScript developers, VS Code has integrations with Go, Python, Java, and Ruby — just to name a few.

Over the next few months, I began to discover things in VS Code that I found remarkable. I made the official switch to VS Code, and I haven’t looked back since. Over the months I’ve been compiling a list of my favorite tips, tricks, and extensions for VS Code that might leave you with the same reaction that I had and continue to have: “VS Code can do that?!” 😲

Interactive Playground

One of the best ways to learn the ins and outs of VS Code is by going through the Interactive Playground.

This is a special page that goes through common keyboard shortcuts and concepts like multiple cursors, split panes, and keyboard shortcuts. Each of the examples are interactive so that you can practice the tutorials right inside the tutorials themselves.

The Interactive Tutorial is right on the “Welcome” page when the editor is first opened:

The Interactive Playground section on the VS Code Welcome Page.

Many people (including myself) miss it entirely because it’s below the “fold” and towards the bottom of the page. Besides, who reads welcome screens?



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