Workbench, Editor Updates Make Visual Studio Code June Release
The Visual Studio team's latest update includes quite a number of enhancements, including tab, workbench, and editor improvements/addition, and some new debugging options.
- By Michael Domingo
The laundry list of new and enhanced features on the June release of Visual Studio Code are numerous, but the Visual Studio team highlights features like tab improvements and Workbench and Editor additions, as well as some new debugging options.
Completely new is the way VS Code opens up files. When working in the Editor, files appear in separate tabs. The tabs can be clicked to switch among different open files. As more files are opened, an overflow icon appears, which allows scrolling through to Tabs that aren't visible beyond the main screen's real estate via a pop-up list. The feature is enabled by default, so it has to be disabled using the workbench.editor.showTabs setting.
An addition to the Workbench is a Problems panel. Instead of a quick box at the top of the Editor, the Problem panel displays at the bottom of the Editor and shows errors, warnings and other information of note that might come from language servers, linters and other sources. Searching among problems is also available, as is filtered searching. The Problem panel will show messages based on the open and active file, but that behavior can be toggled off so that even if switching between files, problems for the originally opened file will remain in the Problems panel.
The Editor has a number of improvements. One is the replacement of Working Files with a new Open Editors view that, according to the notes, "is a visual representation of the editor (open file) stacks." Those Editors can be grouped and stacked. There is also a Preview Editor mode that allows for viewing file contents without fully opening a file (the file becomes actively opened when editing changes are made to it or the file gets double-clicked). Editors also have enabled global search and replace as well as multi-line find and replace, drag and drop between open editors and tabs, indent guides, and zoomable font sizing.
Debugging improvements abound in Release 1.3 as well. New is the ability while working with Node.js to attach a Node.js process that wasn't started while in debug mode. "This can be useful if you need to debug a production server that cannot always run in debug mode for performance reasons." Also new is the ability to move the debug bar horizontally, change simple variable values (must be supported by the debug extension), show variable types while hovering, and step back.
Those are just some of the highlights. A full list of features for VS Code Release 1.3 is here.
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.