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Visual Studio Code Editor
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Keith Strickland    

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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Nov 11, 2016
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Recent Blog Posts
Thoughts on TypeScript
Wed, Sep 6th 2017 9:25p   Keith Strickland
Over the past few months I’ve started working pretty extensively with TypeScript. For those of you who don’t know what TypeScript is: TypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript. It provides strong types to JavaScript. It allows for the creation of classes and enforces those classes in your code. If you define a Redpill.Widget class, you can then use that class in your code and the editor enforces the rules you define within that class. For example,
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Fri, Sep 1st 2017 9:44p   Keith Strickland
If you followed Peter’s series on replacing Lotus he outlined some of the pitfalls, processes and decision points to undertake for success. I wanted to point out the technical side to a lot of those decisions. The short answer is that you need a tool to surface your domino data en-masse until such a time when decisions are made on each application. I have been working on that solution for quite some time now and I have to say, it’s complex. First you need to make a fundamental decisi
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Fri, Aug 25th 2017 8:55p   Keith Strickland
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Tue, Jan 17th 2017 5:22p   Keith Strickland
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