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Visual Studio Code November Build

Last VS Code update of 2016 has hot exit and a number of other code-focused enhancements and improvements.

Not to be missed: Last month, before the bulk of Redmondians headed off campus for the holidays, the Visual Studio team made its last 2016 update to Visual Studio Code.

Dubbed the November Build (Version. 1.8), the team didn't skimp on features, with this one featuring a hot exit capability, full JavaScript IntelliSense support for HTML files, more code-focused enhancements and settings improvements.

Hot exit was listed as the number 3 feature for implementation, according to a post on the Visual Studio Code blog. "We've been working on an implementation for some time and it is now enabled by default in the Insiders build!," wrote Daniel Imms, a Microsoft software engineer with the Visual Studio Code team, in a post from November 30.

A hot exit is described in Imm's blog as the capability to remember unsaved changes upon exiting. As simple as that feature might sound, Imms explained that making it work wasn't easy. He said the team "considered tying backups to an opened folder so that once VS Code was closed, that same folder would have to be opened again in order to trigger the hot exit restore." But the issue of persisting backups was enough that the team took another approach that would also account for crash protection issues.

For now, hot exits are enabled as long as all windows are closed, or in the case of a Mac, when quitting the app. Workspace and file states at the time of exit are backed up, and reopening VS Code will bring them back from the backed up states.

Besides the hot exit capability, this build adds a number of enhancements that allow developers to focus on writing code. One such feature is Zen Mode, which hides all UI elements except the editor, which is shown in full screen mode and without accompanying bars or panels to distract from pure code writing.

Staying with the code-focused improvements, the Activity Bar enhancements include the ability to drag and drop the order of views, remove views, and there's even the ability to hide the Activity Bar. Related to that, the team also added the ability to hide the Close button that appears on Tabs, to prevent accidental tab closures.

One other highlight of VS Code is search, and this build provides more prominence to that endeavor, with a large search bar in the Default Settings editor. It makes searching for settings much easier, but there are other enhancements built into it, including filtering out settings searches, and the addition of a group of commonly used settings. Actions can also now be searched under that same tab.

There's lots more to explore in this build, of course. For details on these and other features, check out the release note here.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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