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After Getting an Integrated Terminal, Will VS Code Get an Integrated Browser? Uh, No

The Visual Studio Code team -- exemplifying the "new" Microsoft -- actively solicits and values new feature requests from developers, often quickly implementing some of the most popular and practical suggestions.

For just one recent example, an integrated terminal within the code editor was a top-requested feature when VS Code 1.0 was released, and it was deemed "under review" by Microsoft at the time.

Then, with the VS Code 1.2 release, there was just such an integrated terminal. "A new integrated Terminal allows you to stay in VS Code while using your platform's shell," Microsoft said at the time.

The request for a VS Code integrated terminal was lodged on the now-defunct UserVoice feedback site (the open source VS Code now uses GitHub to track feature requests and other feedback) and attracted more than 6,000 votes and 90 comments from fellow developers.

But not all feature requests receive the same treatment.

Along the lines of an integrated terminal, a new request is asking for the same kind of treatment for an integrated browser, all the better to follow along with YouTube tutorials while you code.

The request reads: "While learning lot of JavaScript libraries or frameworks, I use YouTube coding tutorials. But opening YouTube in browser and working with tutorial in VS code is difficult. If VS code can have integrated YouTube same as integrated terminal, it will be great help."

The request received three "thumbs down" votes and two "smiley face" votes.

It also received this immediate response from a developer on the VS Code team:

"An integrated browser has been a common request but I don't think it fits in to VS Code's general way of doing things. I suggest you arrange your Code and browser windows so you can see both :grin:"

Indeed, a similar request was logged in May, and a couple responses said a VS Code extension might be the best way to provide that functionality.

"If you really want this functionality, an extension can use the previewHtml command to do this: https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/extensionAPI/vscode-api-commands," said a response from a Microsoft developer who closed the issue the same day.

So, for now, it looks like VS Code developers who want to check their work in an integrated Web browser from within the editor will have to use an extension -- or judiciously rearrange the windows on their screen real estate.

The functionality won't be getting baked into VS Code proper, unlike the terminal.

Which just proves, as the Rolling Stones said, "You can't always get what you want ...."

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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