Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

Recently, I made the switch from my Atom text editor to Visual Studio Code and it has transformed the way I work. Here are just some of the reasons why VS Code is a great text editor.

The VS Code editor has support for hundreds of languages, including the most popular and widely used. Besides that, it is freely available and open source which works on macOS, Windows and Linux. With IntelliSense, you have code hinting, smart code completion, content assist, and parameter information, which essentially will help you learn and gain more insight about the code you’re writing, making you a better programmer. With the shortcut, Ctrl/Command+Shift+P, the Command palette will give you access to all the keyword shortcuts used in VS Code that you can change as you see fit.

On the subject of customization, there are plenty of extensions available to download without even leaving the editor. If you write in JavaScript at all, the JavaScript ES6 Code Snippets extension is a great time saver to make sure you aren’t writing the same piece of code over and over. Let’s keep it DRY, people. While working through a project, the Live Server in VS Code is vital because it uses a localhost server and you can see the changes you made in your code in real time without having to start over the server. The Bracket Pair Colorizor, though probably one of the more simple extensions I use, is one of my favorite because it colorizes your brackets to match each other, and nested brackets become a different color than the parent for much more readable code.

The last customization I’ll mention are the color themes you have ready to use. We all know that working in front of a screen all day can have some draining effects and one of the reasons why is that white light is bad for your eyes. You wouldn’t stare at the sun or a lightbulb for hours, so why would you do the same with your screen? Its my preference to keep my eyes in top shape, so I use a dark theme called Night Owl that I downloaded, plus blue light glasses come in pretty handy as well.

Before making any type of customizations at all, VS Code already comes paired with great tools. The in-built debug console provides support for debugging JavaScript and TypeScript. For debugging other languages, there are extensions you can download and I suggest including the Debugger for Chrome extension so you have access to the same Chrome tools right within the editor. Along with the debugger, there is the terminal, problems and output tabs which all work together to make sure your code is up to snuff and you have all the info needed to fix any errors or bugs. And finally, we have source control which allows for built-in Git integration that not only keeps track of all changes by file, but will also allow you to make commits up to GitHub instead of using the terminal.

These are just a few of the benefits of using Visual Studio Code. Please let me know in the comments if you know of any great extensions or why you prefer this editor over the rest.

Full Stack Software Engineer | manda.m.johnson@gmail.com