A Quick Look at the Visual Studio Code Tool

“Visual Studio Code” is a very powerful code editor that can handle different programming languages including JavaScript, C#, Go, and many others. VS Code was released in mid-2015 so it’s quite new (as I write this post anyway).

Let me note right up front that I think the name “Visual Studio Code” is terrible — from the name, it’s not at all obvious what the tool is. I would have called it something like “Multi-Language Super Code Editor”.


What the Visual Studio Code tool is NOT, is an integrated development environment editor. In other words, VS Code allows you to edit code but you can’t then compile the code into an executable using VS Code — you need a separate tool to compile.

This means that VS Code is useful mostly for scripting languages like Python and JavaScript that don’t need compilation.

Installing VS Code was super easy. I went to https://code.visualstudio.com and then clicked the Download for Windows button. This launched a self-extracting executable install program that ran quickly and painlessly. VS Code is multi-platform — there are versions of VS Code available for Linux and OS X too.


VS Code doesn’t support C# out of the box, so I hit the F1 key, typed “ext” and a dropdown list showed me an option to install extensions. I selected the C# language, and installed the extension, then restarted VS Code.

Then I loaded up an old C# file I had. Very nice.

There are zillions of open source and commercial code editors but I’d say the main alternative to VS Code is the Notepad++ editor. I like Notepad++ a lot, but VS Code blows Notepad++ away in terms of features.

Because I work mostly with C#, I don’t think I’ll be using VS Code much, but I can see how it’d be very useful for some programmers doing certain kinds of work.

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