Even if you’re a beginner or a professional software programmer and web developer then you surely know your way around a text editor. This tool allows you to open, view, and edit plain text files. Because of its simplicity, it is commonly overlooked and underappreciated. Although, it still stands in equal footing with any other complex programming tool. It offers significant features that you need in order to write and edit in programming and markup languages. If you’re old enough to use the previous versions of Windows, you’ll remember having Notepad as the built-in default app on your computer. It is the most simple and basic text editor developed by Microsoft. But the tide has changed since the release of Microsoft's most extensive, free and open-source text editor in 2015: the Visual Studio Code (VS Code). It rapidly gained popularity and positive feedback among its users and critics. But is it really worth the hype?
The most popular and utilized text editor worldwide
Overall, this text editor is worth the hype and a great addition to your expanding development toolkit.
Since this text editor is built using GitHub’s cross-platform Electron framework, you can easily use it with a wide selection of programming languages and platforms including (but not limited to) C#, C/C++, Python, Java, Ruby and even with the most modern environments like Go and Node.js. Unlike some of its counterparts, it allows you to open one or more directories instead of the traditional project system. You can save these directories to your workspaces which lets you reuse it anytime you needed it. Numerous program developers and managers have already shifted from their customary text editor to this hyped Microsoft’s genius creation.
Not your basic editor
Freemium, extensible features
One of the best (and interesting) ways to master the commands and features of the editor is by clicking through its Interactive Playground. It is a special page that goes through common keyboard shortcuts and concepts that you can use for an easier online workspace such as multiple cursors, split panes, and keyboard shortcuts. Examples given through this tutorial page are interactive which makes learning more fun. You can access this page right on the welcome page of the editor once you’ve opened it after installing it to your computer. Another feature that you can explore right off the bat is the editor’s Keymaps. These are extensions that map all of its shortcuts to other editors including Sublime, Atom, Emacs, and even Eclipse. You can also go beyond simple syntax highlighting and autocomplete by using IntelliSense which provides smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules found within your project. What’s more impressive is its ability to let you find a specific npm package within your JSON files without the need to provide the specific version. The editor will look at npm and return the most recent version in the IntelliSense. But the real gem behind the editor is its extensibility. Have a specific demand? All you need to do is simply choose from the array of available extensions and download the most appropriate to your needs. Other extensions offer additional debugging tools, improve code hinting, ability to tidy up your source code formatting, or even the interface design of the editor.
Where can you run this program?
You can download Microsoft’s most extensive text editor for free by simply visiting its official website. Just proceed to the website’s download page and feel free to choose from the different installer versions available for different operating systems. The editor is compatible with Windows 7/8/10, Mac OS, and Linux.
Is there a better alternative?
One of the basic disadvantages of the VS Code is the fact that it is still relatively a newcomer in the industry. Despite the bold claim of being one of the best text editors in the market, it’s still far from being perfect. The editor is still in its stage of development with the help of its user community contributors. Unlike Sublime that has almost a decade to mature since its release in 2007. This text editor is as popular as other big names such as Atom and Vim. If you’re already a veteran programmer or developer, then you must admit that you’ve already used this old player. Searching for a specific file and even across files is very easy and fast. You also have the power to control various aspects within such as saving on lost focus, trimming whitespaces, and more. Configuration files are simple JSON and there’s also a whole host of hidden settings you can explore. The downsides of this editor are one, there’s no decent Git plugin and two, it comes with a little pricey (but reasonable) license fee unlike with the popular freeware Atom and VS Code. Sublime is still ahead in comparison with Microsoft's youngster editor, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other since both are rendering reliable and great performances.
Microsoft has supported the Windows-only development environment for a long time making it possible for tools like Github’s Atoms and MacOS-only tools to dominate the seats in different technology conferences. But this giant worked really fast and eventually released a revolutionary all-in-one text editor which practically supports cross-platform, and web development. It rapidly rises to the top of its competitors through the help of its overwhelmingly growing number of users (which is not limited to Windows users). It fits in well with the modern development demands since it’s easy to customize based on your preferred languages and features you find most useful with its ever-growing library of plugins and extensions.
Should you download it?
Absolutely. Grab yourself a copy of the best text editor for free which has a wide-range of applications and flexible features you can upgrade into the newest sets of extensions created by its developers and contributors. There is really nothing that this popular tool cannot do. Most importantly, it’s not only compatible with Windows, but also with Mac OS and Linux too.