Microsoft Visual Studio Code. I didn't know Microsoft Products could be this good.
February 11, 2019

Microsoft Visual Studio Code. I didn't know Microsoft Products could be this good.

Matthew Deakyne | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Visual Studio Code

MS Visual Code is an amazing IDE for a generalist developer. My team uses it primarily for web development in Javascript and Python, but it can be used for practically any language. The biggest features are the extensions which integrate with DevOps software such as version control (Git), continuous integration (Travis) and container management (docker).

Pros

  • Language support. The IDE supports various languages through extensions. It's also smart enough to recommend extensions based on the file extensions used, and makes installing these incredibly easy. Other IDEs are typically focused on one language, such as Eclipse for Java or PyCharm for Python - but VS Code really provides a great language inclusive experience.
  • DevOps integrations. The Git integration is really well done. Having integrations with continuous deployment and containers is another really great feature. The flexibility of extensions allows it to work well with whatever tool your team standardizes around - and to manage them all from one IDE.
  • Usability. MS made a really good cross-platform application. This runs on Linux. That's... kind of a big deal, considering Microsoft's history. I can configure my IDE and use it on any platform, or standardize the application for all developers on my team. The design is pretty good, and it works really well.

Cons

  • Working on a single file. Sometimes you are working on a project, and you would like to create an unrelated file. This is hard to do in MS Visual Code. It's much better at organizing all files in one project folder and working out of that folder.
  • Jupyter Integration. This is coming, and has improved, but I do a lot of Data Science work in python -- and I need to open up Jupyter notebooks distinct from VS Code. It would be nice to have everything running out of VS Code instead.
  • Configuration. I see this as both a strength and a weakness. My team still uses Eclipse for Java, because it comes configured with everything they need, or the things they need are more obvious. VS Code is more general, and they tried to configure it to meet their needs, but ended up going back to Eclipse for Java. Importing configurations or settings from other IDEs would make switching much easier.
  • Efficiency. It's nice to be able to code and deploy in one IDE, rather than across multiple programs for distinct languages.
  • Consistency. Standardizing around one IDE saves startup costs for new developers, and helps establish best practices.
  • Cost Savings. We previously paid for an IDE, and were able to replace that with free IDEs such as MS Visual Studio Code.
  • PyCharm
  • IntelliJ IDEA
  • IntelliJ WebStorm
  • Notepad++
  • Atom
  • Eclipse
MS Visual Studio code is a much better IDE than Notepad++ or Atom as it's cross platform, has better tooling, and better defaults. I typically use Atom for one off notes, and VS Code for coding projects.

It's a better general purpose IDE than PyCharm, IDEA, WebStorm or Eclipse as it's light weight and extensible. It's currently my primary IDE for Python, Java, Kotlin and Javascript.
MS Visual Code is an amazing all-purpose IDE and will fit into the toolkit of any developer that uses a multitude of languages. It creates an easier pathway to start using deployment technologies, and can be extended/configured to a large extent. If you or your team already has a go-to IDE that works really well, and it's free, then MS Visual Code may not be for you. Pricey IDEs may also work better with specific languages than MS Visual Code does.

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