A text editor is one of the most important tools for any programmer. Visual Studio Code is an open source text editor specifically designed for editing source code. Visual Studio Code was released by Microsoft in April 2015 and later became a free and open source software. The source code for Visual Studio Code is available on GitHub.

The editor includes debugging features, embedded git control, syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, and code refactoring tools. Visual Studio Code has a wide range of extensions, available through a central repository. Extensions in Visual Studio Code perform a wide range of additional tasks,  including tools that that analyze code, such as linters and tools for static analysis.

Installing Visual Studio Code on Fedora

Visit the Visual Studio Code homepage, download the RPM version and install using Fedora Workstation’s Software application. Alternatively, Visual Studio code is available via a repository hosted by Microsoft. Setting up access to the repository will ensure that you get updates whenever they are released. Check out the documentation for details on setting this up on your Fedora system.

Basic Usage

The first launch of Visual Studio Code launches a helpful welcome screen. It contains shortcuts for opening a file or folder, as well as links to customization of the editor, and links to the awesome online help. As with most modern code editors, you can open a folder containing your project, and a handy browser tab is displayed on the left showing the contents.

Visual Studio Code with the folder view visible

Visual Studio Code with the folder view visible

The Command Palette is one of the most powerful tools in Visual Studio Code for performing actions. Simply use the Ctrl + Shift + p keyboard shortcut to bring it up, then search for a command. For example, to open a new folder / project, bring up the Command Palette, search for folder, then choose open Folder.

Opening a folder using the command palette

Opening a folder using the command palette

Additionally, there are many direct keyboard shortcuts for many commands. See the documentation for a full list, but some useful shortcuts to get started with are:

  • Open a Folder / Project — Ctrl + o
  • Create a new file — Ctrl + n
  • Open the terminal pane — Ctrl + `

Installing Extensions

The Visual Studio Code comes with a large number of extensions for making your code editing easier. These range from editor themes to additional support for specific programming and scripting languages. Extensions also exist that allow you add VIM and Emacs keybindings and modes. To browse and install extensions use the Extensions side page. To bring this up either search for Extensions in the Command Palette, click the bottom icon in the left toolbar, or use the Ctrl + Shift + x keyboard shortcut.

Debugging

The editor comes with a debugging support built-in. It has built-in debugging support for the for the Node.js runtime and can debug JavaScript & TypeScript. For debugging other languages (including C#, Python, C++ and others) install one of the many debugging extensions.

Git Support

Visual Studio Code has integrated support for Git. Other source control providers are available through extensions. Furthermore, the editor supports the use of multiple source control providers simultaneously, which means one can open multiple SCM based repositories and work seamlessly work across them.

Themes

Visual Studio Code also has editor themes. Install new themes in the Extensions pane. To use the theme switcher, simply search for Themes in the command palette.