visual studio code

Microsoft and the Visual Studio Code (VS Code) team have rolled out version 1.67 of the Electron-based editor which has become the world’s favorite IDE – the latest StackOverflow survey estimated it was used by 71.06 % of respondents, more than double the use -placed Visual Studio.

It’s become a monster project and issues are popping up every few minutes on GitHub.

Sometimes small changes have the biggest impact, and that can be the case with bracket pair colorization, a feature that was originally an extension but became part of core VS Code in August 2021 – with a claimed 10,000x performance improvement.

Deeply embedded code in brace languages ​​like JavaScript, Java, C, and C# can be difficult to navigate or fix if something goes wrong, and inadvertently removing a brace can cause the editor to report hundreds of errors. The color coding of the pairs is a big help and also works with square brackets to help untangle long lines of code.

In this latest release, it’s enabled by default, which means developers who haven’t discovered it before may wonder how they managed without it.

Color-coded parenthesis pairs help navigate and correct code – now enabled by default

Markdown editing is improved. Authors can link to files by dragging and dropping from Explorer or from a web browser while holding down the Shift key, convenient for documentation. Another new feature in Markdown is the Find All References, which works for headings, links, file references, and URLs.

Related is the new ability to rename link destinations, including headers, file links, and referral links, while automatically updating all links that target them. This makes it much easier to update a large document without breaking links.

Perhaps the most strategic change in this release is a preview feature, the ability to import and export settings profiles. This includes installed extensions as well as UI customizations such as what’s visible in the activity bar – the bar with icons for key functions like explorer, search, and source control.

It doesn’t include all the settings yet, but more comprehensive import and export is planned. Use cases include standardizing a development team’s settings or providing students with a preconfigured configuration.

The concept could be useful for tailoring VS Code to specific types of work. The popularity of the editor and the large number of extensions can lead to a bloated configuration and impact performance. A developer might want to use one set of extensions for TypeScript or JavaScript, and another for Python, for example.

It is already possible to have language specific settings, but combining with profiles would make this more powerful. Caution should be exercised, however, as importing profiles overwrites existing settings.

Java coders benefit in this release from lazy variable resolution, a debugging feature that defers retrieving values ​​for what the team describes as “an expensive variable” until it is explicitly viewed.

Python support has also been updated. The official Python extension was getting too big, so the team is splitting into separate extensions to improve performance.

A new extension now supports the Black Python code formatter which its authors describe as “uncompromising” because “you agree to cede control over the details of manual formatting”.

Improvements have also been made to Jupyter notebook support. The extension can now be used as a web extension with the browser version of VS Code, but with limited functionality, and many other features are planned for this, so it will work in environments such as Microsoft’s vscode.dev.

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