Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code has become one of the most popular developer tools around. Built using GitHub’s cross-platform Electron framework, Visual Studio Code is a full-featured, extensible, open source code editor that supports a wide selection of programming languages and frameworks, from the familiar C, C++, and C# to modern languages like Go, Rust, and Node.js. And Visual Studio Code is avalable for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Where to download Visual Studio Code
To download the editor for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, go to Microsoft’s Visual Code Studio website.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.48
Visual Studio Code 1.48, released in August 2020 and featuring features and fixes from July, has the following enhancements:
- Settings Sync, for sharing configurations such as settings, keybindings, and installed extensions across machines, is now available for preview in the stable release.
- Extensions view filter actions now are displayed under a separate filter action (funnel button).
- The Git View and More Actions (…) menu has been refactored to improve organization of several commands. Also, when publishing to a GitHub repo, developers now have the option to make the repo public, as opposed to the previous default of private.
- A Debug: Open Link command is intended to enable quick debugging of any URL.
- A GitHub Issue Notebooks extension, still in a preview stage, allows for searching of GitHub issues and pull requests.
- The Language Support for Java extension now supports a lightweight mode for quickly working with Java source files.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.47
Published in July 2020, Visual Studio Code 1.47 brings the following new capabilities and changes:
- Visual Studio Code for Windows on ARM is now available for the stable release.
- Non-nested object settings can be edited from the settings editor. Extension authors can use this capability to increase the visibility of these settings.
- A new command,
selectAndPreserveFocus, lets developers select an item from a list while keeping focus in that list. This is useful for selecting multiple files from a list, such as the File Explorer, without having focus switch to the file editor.
searchEditor.defaultNumberOfContextLinessetting has been updated to have a value of 1 instead of 0, meaning one context line will be shown before and after each result line in the Search Editor.
- The Source Control view now shows all repositories in a single view, providing a better overview of the entire workspace status. Also, the Source Control view can be moved to the panel and other views can be moved to the Source Control view container.
- The Visual Studio Code for Java Pack Installer downloads dependencies and extensions for Java development on MacOS.
- The HexEditor extension, for native hexadecimal editing, has been improved with simple editing support (undo, redo, edit cells, add cells) and large file optimization, which now allows you to open files greater than 18 megabytes.
- View options and sort options have been consolidated into a new View and Sort menu item in the context menu. Also, support has been added for sorting changes in the source control view by name, path, and state when using the list view option.
- For accessibility, compact folders in the File Explorer now properly narrate expanded/collapsed state and the ARIA level. Also, screen readers can update the cursor offset in the editor. As a result, the screen reader “Say All” command should work better when stopped and resumed.
- An extension VSIX file now can be installed by dragging and dropping it onto the Extensions view.
- TypeScript 3.9.6 is bundled with the editor while support for TypeScript 4.0 has been improved, with capabilities such as better auto imports.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.46
Released in June 2020, Visual Studio Code 1.46 has capabilities including:
- A GitHub repository now can be added as a remote to local repositories using the Git: Add Remote command.
- Automatic debug configurations have been improved. There is now an option to save a configuration into a JSON file to open it up for editing. It is also now possible to show all automatic debug configurations from the Run and Debug start view.
- To improve accessibility, the Status Bar now supports keyboard navigation. There also are new commands to make it easier to start and end selections using the keyboard: Set Selection Anchor (⌘K ⌘B), Select from Anchor to Cursor (⌘K ⌘K), Cancel Selection Anchor (Escape), and Go to Selection Anchor.
- A Synced Machines view has been added to display the list of machines synchronizing VS Code preferences.
- The Synced Data view has been enhanced, with developers now able to see the machine from which data was being synced. Developers also can restore to a specific state using the Restore action available on the data entry in the view. Also, data on the cloud can be reset using the Reset Synced Data action available under the More Action (…) button in the view header.
- Tabs now can be pinned from either the context menu or via the new command,
- Official builds for Windows for ARM 64-bit are available on the Insiders download page. These builds work with Microsoft Surface Pro X.
preloadscripts have been added for exposing certain Electron APIs to the window. This is a step toward a fully sandboxed window.
- Features for flexible layout are now ready for general use, such as moving views between Sidebar and Panel and grouping of views.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.45
Published in May 2020, Visual Studio Code 1.45 adds the following capabilities:
- Faster syntax highlighting, done through a dedicated WebAssembly binding optimized for usage by the editor’s TextMate interpreter. By avoiding memory allocations in inner loops and using new APIs, Microsoft has been able to increase the speed of syntax highlighting for regular programming files by as much as three times.
- Support has been added for automatic authentication against GitHub repositories. Developers can clone, pull, and push to and from public and private repos without configuring a credential manager.
- New accessibility commands Focus Next Part and Focus Previous Part make it easy to navigate across a workbench. The status bar now can be read by screen readers when focused.
- Improvements have been made to the Remote Development extensions (which let developers use a container, a remote machine, or Windows Subsystem for Linux as a full-featured development environment) including container configuration recommendations, WSL2 Docker and Podman engines support, and new devcontainer.json variables for local and container folders.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.44
Also known as the March 2020 release (although it was published in April 2020), Visual Studio Code 1.44 features the following improvements:
- Usability improvements including a more navigable diff view and clearer role designations set for UI controls. Also, the behavior of the Quick Widget has been tuned.
- The Timeline view for visualizing time series events such as Git commits and file saves is now out of preview mode, by default. The Quick Open control for files has been rewritten. It also has new features such as having inputs preserved when switching providers. There is also a new setting,
"quickOpen.history.filterSortOrder": "recency", that allows you to sort editor history by the most recently opened items.
- A number badge has been added to the Extensions view to show the number of extensions in the pack.
- Visual Studio Code now will keep the Undo/Redo stack of a file when the file is closed. When the file is reopened and contents have not changed, the Undo/Redo stack will be restored.
- Work continues on the Remote Development extensions that enable the use of a container, remote machine, or Windows Subsytem for Linux (WSL) as a full-featured development environment. Among the milestones in Visual Studio Code 1.44: A pull request can be checked out directly into a container.
- A Settings Sync preview lets developers share snippets and UI state across machines.
- Two new tutorials are featured for Python, including one on building a Python application in a Docker container and one on using Python data science libraries to create a machine learning model.
- The 1.0 version of Microsoft’s Docker extension for Visual Studio Code is now available.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.43
Released in March 2020, Visual Studio Code 1.43 offers the following improvements and changes:
- Search Editors that display workspace search results in a full-sized editor, with syntax highlighting and optional lines of surrounding text.
- Support for the Orca screen reader on Linux.
- Draggable sash corners, with support extended to the edges between views and editors. Previously with editor sashes, users could resize two orthogonal sashes simultaneously by dragging the intersection between them. Now this also works in edges between editors and views.
- Notarized MacOS builds for the editor, so users no longer receive a warning dialog that Visual Studio Code cannot be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
- A new setting,
minimap.size, controls how the minimap uses vertical space.
- A Column Selection mode has been added for creating a column selection.
- The default value of
renderWhitespacesetting has been changed from
selection. Whitespace characters now will be rendered by default on highlighted text.
- A preview is offered for a Settings Sync capability to share settings and key bindings across machines.
- Work continues on Remote Development extensions, which allow for the use of a container, remote machine, or Windows Subsystem for Linux as a full-featured development environment. There is support for Windows and MacOS SSH (Secure Shell) hosts and SSH connection sharing.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.42
Visual Studio Code 1.42, released in February 2020, includes these updates:
- Rename changes can be previewed. When renaming, developers can confirm a new name and see the Refactor Preview panel.
- New settings limit the number of open editors.
- The addition of a background highlight makes folded code regions easier to discover.
- The Debug Console input now uses the language mode of the current active editor, meaning this input supports syntax coloring, auto closing, indentation, auto closing of quotes, and other language capabilities. Also, the presentation of input and output in the Debug Console has been tuned to make it more distinguishable. VS Code displays an arrow next to the input expression only. A new setting,
console.closeOnEnd, controls whether the Debug Console will automatically close when debugging ends.
- Tasks declared inJSON now are supported at the User Settings level.
- The bundled version of TypeScript has been upgraded to version 3.7.5, a minor update with bug fixes. Among the bug fixes: IntelliSense works for projects not stored on C: drives on Windows.
- The panel holding the Output, Debug Console, Terminal, and Problems panes now can be moved to the left side of the editor. The command “View: Toggle Panel Position” was removed in favor of the commands “View: Move Panel Left,” “View: Move Panel Right,” and “View: Move Panel to Bottom.”
- The debugger for Java now supports Data Breakpoints, for creating breakpoints that will get hit when the value of a variable changes.
- Work continues on Remote Development extensions, for using a remote machine or container as a full-featured development environment. Improved support for Windows servers, including automatic OS detection, is highlighted.
- A Timeline view feature, now in an early preview status, provides a unified view to visualize time series events such as Git commits, file saves, and test runs for a resource such as a file or folder.
What’s new in Visual Studio Code 1.41
Visual Studio Code 1.41 was released on December 12, 2019, with the following new capabilities: