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PowerShell Preview Extension Available for Visual Studio Code

Microsoft's PowerShell team has published a preview extension in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace for command-line scripting within your favorite open source, cross-platform code editor.

The PowerShell Preview extension in the marketplace is not to be confused with the company's existing, stable PowerShell extension, for which the preview is a substitute offering (they shouldn't be enabled at the same time).

The preview, published with features that are being evaluated for inclusion in stable builds, works with PowerShell 5.1 and later. Running a preview channel of the tool along with a stable channel reportedly helps the team get features out sooner.

According to its marketplace description, the PowerShell Preview tool provides features such as:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code snippets
  • IntelliSense for cmdlets and more
  • Rule-based analysis provided by PowerShell Script Analyzer
  • Go to Definition of cmdlets and variables
  • Find References of cmdlets and variables
  • Document and workspace symbol discovery
  • Run selected selection of PowerShell code using F8
  • Launch online help for the symbol under the cursor using Ctrl+F1
  • Local script debugging and basic interactive console support!

"The PowerShell Preview extension is built on .NET Standard thereby enabling simplification of our code and dependency structure," said Sydney Smith, a program manager on the PowerShell dev team, in a blog post last week (Jan. 23).

Smith also called out community contributor "@SeeminglyScience" for help with getting PSReadLine to work, providing customization of the command-line editing environment in PowerShell.

"The PowerShell Preview extension also contains PSReadLine support in the integrated console for Windows behind a feature flag," Smith said. "PSReadLine provides a consistent and rich interactive experience, including syntax coloring and multi-line editing and history, in the PowerShell console, in Cloud Shell, and now in VSCode terminal. For more information on the benefits of PSReadLine, check out their documentation."

The stable channel PowerShell extension has been downloaded more than 5.7 million times, earning an average 4.4 rating (scale to 5) from 92 users who reviewed it. The preview has been downloaded 995 times as of this writing

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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