My experience with vscode

April 11, 2017 - 5 minutes

About a month ago a co worker showed me this IDE called Visual Studio Code. At first I was skeptical that Microsoft could of created anything of worth. My workplace is interested in moving over to .NET core, and as such Visual Studio Code is sanctioned by Microsoft to have .NET core support. So it became my mission to check out the IDE, after all it looked to be better than Visual Studio, which we normally have to work with anyway.

Once I started messing with the editor I was surprised to see it had a nice git integration right out of the box; I could easily navigate between branches and create new branches. Some places it falls short, like lack of git merging but overall it solves most of the functionality I have to deal with regarding git. So it was nice how it made adding git to my workflow a lot easier. Often times it was inconvenient to stop and commit everything; but with Visual Studio Code it was really easy.

Next came it’s ability to detect context, I figured I would give it a try to see how easily I could get my personal project DMUX set up with vscode, and it was really easy! It found my CMakeLists.txt file automatically and started working right away once I installed the needed plugins (which was easy to install via their marketplace). I started to become more interested in it.

Although of course Microsoft would not do this without throwing a few strings in there to hamper this new IDE they released. I shortly figured out that Microsoft maintains a product.json file, and that Visual Studio Code itself claimed to be “Open Source”, however Visual Studio Code is under the Microsoft EULA, and if you want the Visual Studio Code to be free software (under the MIT) then you needed to build it from source, so I did just that. So I managed to overcome that trail. Sadly the freedom respect vscode by default was crippled by not having easy access to the marketplace, I fixed this by making a product.json file that was not crippled and had easy access to the marketplace. This made vscode a lot easier.

Once I did that I also realized the plugin for C++ support was also proprietary! This was really aggravating and Microsoft would not cooperate in making this plugin free software and they have no plans of doing so. So I uninstalled the plugin from my vscode installation. I make the distinction between Visual Studio Code which is proprietary and vscode which is free software. So after playing around with it I got it working without their C++ support, however I am missing autocomplete sadly. However other than that I have literally everything else I ever wanted.

Some reasons I use vscode in my development (and in writing this blog)

Despite it’s flaws and Microsoft’s unwillingness to cooperate with the free world on the issue of some of the plugins they make for vscode, vscode is a wonderful IDE for my use case. I had to go through some trouble to get it going but now I am very happy with my experience with vscode. Thank you Microsoft for making vscode and releasing it as free software!