Visual Studio Code - A Winning Newcomer to the IDE Race
January 05, 2019

Visual Studio Code - A Winning Newcomer to the IDE Race

Aaron Pace | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Visual Studio Code

For a long time, Visual Studio has been my primary development tool of choice. Prior to that, I was a scrappy coder doing mostly old-school Visual Basic (think VB 6) work. I found Visual Studio Code about the same time I started dabbling in Python and a few other functional programming languages. Now, I use Visual Studio Code for most of my Python coding efforts. It's the primary tool used at Insytes for data analytics functions. We are currently using Visual Studio Code and Python to develop novel statistical methods for analyzing certain key business functions for small and mid-sized distributors (mostly of durable goods).
  • Visual Studio Code is lightweight. A traditional Visual Studio install can take more than an hour, depending on the type of extensions being added at install. Visual Studio Code installs completely in a matter of minutes and loads quickly.
  • Extensions make Visual Studio Code a highly adaptable tool. A simple extension can enable functions like Python compiling without having all the extensions you don't need. That means less strain on system resources, even during project build.
  • For being lightweight, Visual Studio Code still comes with just the right feature set out of the box to get you started.
  • Oh, and did I mention it's completely free to use? No MSDN or developer license to buy. Ever.
  • Code-type detection is one feature I wish it had. That is, most coding languages are syntactically different enough for each other that the IDE should be able to detect the language before a file is saved. If you create a functional snippet of code, you should be able to test it without having to save it first. If you have a lot of plug-ins and extensions installed, the list of available file types can grow quite long.
  • The Intelli-sense doesn't seem quite as robust in Visual Studio Code as Visual Studio, but that is likely just a trade-off of the lightweight nature of the product.
  • As of this writing, Visual Studio Code is still in its first major release. So, for most developers it's a very new tool. However, according to Stack Overflow, about 35% of just over 75,000 survey respondents reports using Visual Studio Code. I guess that means we're among a very solid group of users. Visual Studio Code, for being in its first major release, has been very robust. We haven't encountered any bugs that have made the tool difficult to use.
  • I don't feel like we've sacrificed any productivity by using Visual Studio Code in place of Visual Studio in some instances. We save money by not having to purchase a Visual Studio license unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • Since Visual Studio Code is free, the ROI is immediate. Anyone familiar with Visual Studio will have no trouble switching to a Visual Studio Code session as the look and feel is familiar.
Since moving away from VB6, Visual Studio has been my primary IDE of choice. I used PyCharm a little bit but found the platform too difficult to figure out (I'm a pretty simple person). Visual Studio Code crossed my radar only a few months ago, coincident to learning Python, and has become my go-to IDE for Python development. For me, it's all about ease-of-use. Well, that and the fact that Visual Studio Code is free.
For our firm, a lot of what we do can be accomplished using Visual Studio Code. For more complex solutions and projects, Visual Studio is still the preferred solution because it is better at managing those complexities. But, Visual Studio Code is very easy to use which makes it an ideal tool for us for testing a small, stand-alone function or feature. For us, Visual Studio is a tool for building large-scale applications. Visual Studio Code is ideally suited for small projects. It's a bit like the tools required for building a skyscraper versus a single-family home.