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VS Code Goes All In on Python

The Visual Studio Code team is going all in on Python. It hired the developer of the code editor's most popular Python extension, took over the project as its own and is hiring more Python coders to improve it.

Python, of course, is one of the hottest programming languages, climbing up popularity charts, topping developer surveys and growing faster than other languages.

Today, Microsoft announced it hired software engineer Don Jayamanne, who created the most popular Python extension for Visual Studio Code, downloaded more than 4.2 million times and receiving an average rating of 4.7 (0-5 scale) from 139 reviews.

Microsoft is now listed as the publisher of the extension developed by Jayamanne, described on GitHub as a "Software engineer with a soft spot for .NET and Node.js. Loves tinkering with Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Lives in a cave like most tech nerds." According to his LinkedIn page, he actually lives in Australia.

"Don has been working on the Python extension part-time for the past couple of years," Microsoft's Brett Cannon said in a blog post today. "We were impressed by his work and have hired him to work on it full-time, along with other members of our Python team."

What's more, Cannon and company are looking to expand that team.

"We're hiring devs immediately to continue and expand work on our Python support for Visual Studio Code," Cannon said. "If you are passionate about developer tools and productivity, this could be an ideal endeavor! The ideal candidate has a mix of IDE (editor/debugger), JavaScript/TypeScript, and Python in their background, and experience writing plugins for VS Code is a big plus."

The Python extension's marketplace entry said the tool's features include:

  • Linting (Prospector, Pylint, pycodestyle, Flake8, pylama, pydocstyle, mypy with config files and plugins)
  • Intellisense (autocompletion with support for PEP 484 and PEP 526)
  • Auto indenting
  • Code formatting (autopep8, yapf, with config files)
  • Code refactoring (Rename, Extract Variable, Extract Method,Sort Imports)
  • Viewing references, code navigation, view signature
  • Excellent debugging support (remote debugging over SSH, multiple threads, django, flask)
  • Running and debugging Unit tests (unittest, pytest, nose, with config files)
  • Execute file or code in a python terminal
  • Local help file (offline documentation)
  • Snippets

Cannon said the transition of the Python extension to Microsoft should be transparent to developers. The extension will still be provided under its existing open source license, with development (now augmented by the Microsoft team) continuing to be transparent on GitHub. Microsoft will provide official support.

On GitHub, Jayamanne's "pythonVSCode" extension had garnered 1,749 stars, with 63 contributors.

Now, all work will continue on the Microsoft GitHub fork of the project, "vscode-python."

The Microsoft team has issued the first release of the new project, version 0.8.0, fixing a number of issues and incorporating new features such as "multi-root" and "status bar interpreter selection."

VS Code developers should get the update automatically. It can also be manually installed from the marketplace entry. Developers can also choose to continue using the old extension by downloading its VSIX file, though no more work will be done on that repo.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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