Visual Studio Is Everywhere Now

Microsoft has finally listened to the public and released Visual Studio for all OS platforms YAY. Oh but it isn’t really the full Visual Studio’s you know and love. I have played with the new Visual Studio Code and now here I what I think.

If you was watching or following Build 2015, you would have seen the news and also seen how happy people were to the announcement of the Visual Studio editor coming to all other OS platforms called Visual Studio Code or as I have seen it VScode. This is what I believe a lot of people wanted as most people I know do not like the Windows Operating System. Not only am I an Apple fan so my home set-up is all Apple products, but most digital agency’s I have seen use Macintosh as well. The Mac is meant to be the best PC for designers to use, so I have found most Creative Agencies then use the same system in the whole office for Design, Development and Management. This means if you are a .Net developer like myself, you have to use a Virtual Machine or Dual Boot to use Visual Studio’s. This becomes the bane of your life as you are then flipping between OS and learning limitations between the two systems. Its not to say it is really hard as you can set the whole system up to work for you, but it is work to set it up I find. This is then why people wanted the great Visual Studios on all platforms. This also I think expands the .Net reach so new companies aren’t put off.

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As soon as I heard of this great news, I was downloading the new editor from https://code.visualstudio.com. Unfortunately I was keeping up with Build 2015 through Twitter so I wasn’t pre-warned of what the functionalities of the new program are. I got to say I was just to exited to read about it, so I just downloaded and learnt by clicking as many buttons as I could.

The download is smooth and great, there was not other things to download or install so it was systems go once complete. This is a small detail but the user experience starts from the first install of the program, its like the introduction to what you are about to experience. Since I have downloaded it on my Mac and also my Windows PC, I have played with multiple languages, different type of projects and also just clicked around like a mad bull. To make sure I was all on top of it, I even stayed up to watch the Build 2015 Visual Studio talk on Channel 9.

First impression the look and style of the VScode is nice and reflects how I have the VS2013 set up to look as well. This helps ease you into the new program and not baffle you straight away. The UI is also very simple, which makes it perfect to just crack on with some coding. You can make the most out of the screen by hiding all menu’s and tabs, which gives you more room for code.

For the first test I was going to start with a clients website I have been working on recently,  so I could see how it would perform if I was to stop using VS2013. This is when I released it was never going to replace the VS2013 I have at work as its doesn’t have Team Foundation Server built in. I know that the package would be bigger and this is meant to be a lightweight program, but TFS is their own product and thousands use it. They have Git built in which works for some, but all my works code is in TFS. This means I can’t get any code down unless I FTP the files down. This still would cause problems as I can’t check the files back in once changes. I think even if they had it as an additional plugin that could be installed I would be happy. I would guess this would be a future advancement if they keep up the support for it.

When using the editor I saw that it was basically another option compared to Sublime and Notepad++. It is an adaptable  editor, which is good for the developers using PHP, Ruby or things like that. However for a .Net developer I find I need and just really like all the feature of the full Visual Studio. That doesn’t mean I don’t like VScode or that it is worthless to me as a developer. I do little projects sometimes for fun on the side to keep inspiration, plus as Visual Studios is very resource hungry I don’t like to run two instances at the same time. I reuse some code and need to do quick edits, so I like a small editor on the side I an quick boot up programs. This means at the moment I use Sublime for my side editor and also I use it at home on my Mac for all my coding. This means even someone like me with my set up can find the new VScode useful in their development.

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As you have noticed I don’t think you can compare the full Visual Studio to the new VScode as they are not the same. VScode is an editor like Sublime with a Visual Studio’s skin on it, so you will notice I will compare VScode to Sublime in the rest of the review. It does make me question why they would release this if it is not the new VScode. Unless they are looking to improve it slowly to take over. It get more people using their product as it is their program, but no one needs a new editor like this. Personally and I think more would agree, I would rather a new full Visual Studios that works on all platforms. What ever they do with this editor they are starting from zero and need to catch up with others like Sublime.

The first thing that struck me when I got a project open was that it automatically picked up the syntax for what language the file was. I find this a draw back for Sublime as I have to choose the language. There is problem a plugin, but that is more to install and more time wasted.  The syntax was standardly coloured like the Visual Studio so it was very familiar to me and makes it easier to start coding in it. I think consistency is vital between your own programs.

Unfortunately, the one thing I was really looking forward to was the intelligence for .Net. As I would be using this coding and I am a lazy developer, I use the intellisense a lot. It makes it more convenient to use plus it gives you what you need next, making it a faster way to snap code into place. This is built into the editor, but I could not get it working for the life of me. I search, watched and hunted for anyone with the same issue, but as it is new I couldn’t find many that have had the issue or fixed the issue. If I use the controls ‘Ctrl + Space’ then the intellisense comes up, but it comes with all the options the editor can give. This is not what I need though, plus it doesn’t automatically work when typing or like in .Net pressing the dot. For example if I type ‘Response.’ I would expect it to show me things like Write, End and Cookies. This issue is on both my Mac and the Windows PC, so it can’t just be me. Though as I said it is built in and I have seen it in action, so if and when I get this working then I would think a lot more of it.

Many of the other features exist in other editors and so I do not think there is anything special with this editor compared to others. You can see all the features it offers on their website ‘Docs’ https://code.visualstudio.com/Docs

Comparing to Sublime I would say I really like it. I find the design nice and smooth, the functionality of the program on both operating systems great and when they get the intellisense working it’s even better. I would like to see some more plugin’s and an online library of these, so I could do things like compress CSS files. In summary small bugs, but really liking the new editor for my Mac. However I will still be using the full VS2013 for the Windows developing while I am still coding .Net for work as I need TFS. Unless they bring out a program just for TFS that I can run in parallel.

Use the comments below to share what you thought of VScode and how you compare it.

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