Visual Studio Code, or VS Code, is one of the most trending source code editors developers use.
VS Code is a free, open-source code editor developed and maintained by Microsoft. This code editor has extensive features such as version control integration, code completion, and syntax highlighting. It is also a cross-platform code editor, as it is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
To increase your software development project’s productivity, you can use some of the best VS Code extensions mentioned in this article.
You get a fantastic out-of-the-box experience when you start editing software or web page source codes on Visual Studio Code. However, being a developer, you could always demand more functionalities in this near-integrated development environment (IDE) code editor.
The VS Code Marketplace should be your go-to destination for all sorts of VS IDE extensions. Continue reading this article to find the best VS IDE extensions you can utilize in your web or Windows app development projects.
The Popularity of Visual Studio Code
According to the WakaTime statistics on programming, developers have used the VS Code editor for more than 21 million hours. It was the #1 code editor for 2021 when comparing hours of code editing in other tools like IntelliJ (>3 million hrs) and PhpStorm (>2 million hrs).
Here are some reasons why most developer prefers VS Code over other source code editors:
#1. It is completely free, open-source, and comes with cross-platform supportability. This means that it works on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
#2. The editor has an in-built debugger. Thus, you need to make fewer clicks. Moreover, you can keep an eye on your coding project and the debugger in a single window without switching apps.
#3. VS Code comes out of the box with IntelliSense, otherwise known as predictive coding.
#4. You can easily convert the VS Code app into a full-stack workstation with the right shortcut keys, VS Code extensions, and settings.
What Are Visual Studio IDE Extensions?
VS Code is a super-organized source code editor that supports software and app development operations like version control, debugging, and task running.
It provides an efficient platform to the developers for an effortless code-build-debug cycle for most programming languages. However, you will need an IDE like Visual Studio for complex workflows.
To overcome the shortcomings, developers have come up with VS Code extensions. Extensions are simply add-ons that you can install in the VS Code app and gain access to new functionalities. VS IDE extensions mainly increase productivity and make coding easier and flawless.
Why Are IDE Extensions Useful?
Primarily, you can use VS Code extensions to enhance the tool’s usability for various software and app development projects. If the project calls for any specific functionality that VS Code lacks, you can search the marketplace for an extension.
Furthermore, extensions help you to increase the productivity of your app development team. You can avoid unnecessary mistakes during coding by employing code completion extensions.
Moreover, there are advanced extensions package installers that can help you import repos for DevOps projects from package hosting sites. In a nutshell, extensions let you convert the VS Code into a full-service IDE.
Let’s now look at some of the best VS code editors.
Live Server is one of the most-used VS Code extensions, with over 30.9 million downloads on the marketplace. Picking from its name, Live Server creates a local server on your machine and allows you to see the changes to your code as you write.
Instead of having to refresh the browser every time you edit your code, Live Server automates the process enabling you to see the changes in real-time.
Cross-browser testing: You can use LiveServer on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
Selective change tracking: You can select the files to be tracked on LiveServer
You can install the extension by searching it on the marketplace and typing live server. However, there are several extensions with the same name, and the best option is to pick the one with high ratings and downloads.
This VS Code extension allows software engineers to send HTTP requests and receive return messages on the code editor. The marketplace’s most famous REST Client extension has over 3.1 million downloads.
Varied authentication support: REST Client supports Digest Auth, Basic Auth, Azure Active Directory, SSL Client Certificates, and AWS Signature v4.
Supports MULTIPLE requests for a single file: You can use ### delimiter to compose different HTTP requests on the same file.
Cookie remembrance: REST Client stores cookies, making it easy to execute subsequent requests.
Support system variables: This extension allows developers to use variables in URLs, Headers, and Body.
REST Client is not language-specific, and developers can thus use it with any language that supports HTTP requests.
Visual elements such as images make a website more presentable. Image Optimizer features various tools developers can use to optimize JPEG, PNG, and GIFs.
This extension does both lossless (compressing an image without losing any information) and lossy (the compressed image losses some original data) compressions.
Batch Image Optimization: You can select your images manually to be optimized as a batch or select an entire folder.
Configurable Settings: Image Optimizer allows you to determine the compression level on your images.
Offers Image Preview: You can preview all your images before you accept the changes.
Integrates with Build Process: You can integrate this extension with the build process and optimize all the images before moving them to production.
Image Optimizer can be used on any project involving images and is not language specific.
GitHub is the most-used platform for code storage, management, tracking, and collaboration. GitHub Extension allows developers to track changes, manage code, and collaborate with others.
Easy connection with GitHub: The Team Explorer section has a button that allows you to connect to GitHub. The extension also supports two-factor authentication (2FA).
GitHub Explorer: You can manage and navigate all the repositories on your GitHub through this tree.
Pull Request Management: Developers can view, create and manage pull requests from this extension.
Code Review: You can view code history, comment on changes and compare different file versions from this extension.
Issue Management: Developers can view and manage issues from the GitHub extension.
GitHub Extension for Visual Studio is only available for Visual Studio 15 and above.
PostSharp is an extension that allows developers to write shorter and cleaner code. The extension features are the most common. NET’s ready-made patterns allow you to automate your own patterns.
Aspect-oriented programming: This extension uses System.Reflection API to help you validate your code at build time.
PostSharp Logging: PostSharp allows developers to add extensive and customizable logging to their apps.
PostSharp Caching: integrates with Redis and MemoryCache to allow developers to add caching to existing methods.
PostSharp Threading: This extension allows developers to address multithreading at the right abstraction levels. Developers can thus detect and diagnose deadlocks and lower complexity caused by threading.
Code generation: You can use commands such as Create from Usage, Implement Interface/ Virtual Methods and Add Missing Case Statements to generate code.
Code refactoring: Commands such as Rename, Change Signature, Encapsulate Field, and Introduce Variable allow developers to refactor their code.
Easy navigation: Use commands such as Open File in Solution and Find Symbol in Solution to navigate to files in your project.
Visual Assist is a paid tool with a 30-day free trial. After the trial period lapses, some of the features are disabled until you acquire a license that starts from $249 per user.
Code cleaning: CodeMaid helps clean up your code from unwanted white spaces and helps you remove unwanted lines of code using statements.
Code reorganizing: This extension allows you to reorganize your code to follow your own preferences or Microsoft’s StyleCop convention.
Code digging: This extension provides a tree view hierarchy to make it easy to visualize and navigate your code.
Comment formatting: This tool allows developers to format their code comments to make them easy to read.
CodeMaid is open-source and, as of this writing, supports VS2019 and VS2022.
GitLens is an extension that helps you understand code better. With it, you can learn when and why a line or block of code was changed.
Comprehensive code history: GitLens extensively explains how code has evolved.
Comes with Code Lens: This tool adds information such as test status, symbols, and references to your code to make it readable and manageable.
Has Blame Annotations: You can tell who last made a commit and changed the codebase through GitLens’ Blame Annotations.
Repository Navigation: You can navigate your repositories and switch between branches from the code editor.
GitLens is free software, even though there are functionalities that are only available when you purchase a license. This extension can support any Git repository, irrespective of the programming language used.
Giflens is an extension that allows users to visualize, seamlessly explore, and navigate GIF repositories. Users can visualize GIFLENS tags through hovers.
GIF preview: You don’t have to open another program, as Giflens allows you to view GIFs from the VS Code.
Speed control: You can customize the speed at which GIFs play on the code editor.
Multiple GIFs support: You can compare different GIFs as this extension allows you to open different GIFs simultaneously.
Giflens is a free extension and can be used with any code file with animated GIFs.
Docker is a VS Code extension that makes it easy to build, manage and deploy containerized applications. The extension has amazing features that allow engineers to work with Docker containers, images, and registries from the code editor.
Allows editing of Docker files: You can take advantage of IntelliSense through its syntax help and code completions as you edit Docker files and docker-compose.yml files.
Docker explorer: You can manage and examine all the Docker assets, such as volumes, networks, containers, images, and container registries, from this extension.
Powerful Docker commands: You can manage networks, volumes, images, image registries, and Docker Compose right from the command palette.
Docker Compose: The Compose Language Service offers tab completions and IntelliSense when working with docker-compose.yml files.
Docker is free and open-source. Docker extension suits web development and server-side applications and fits most programming languages.
VsVim is an extension that targets users with Vim experience as it adds Vim emulation to VS Code (Vim is a command-line text editor that is quite popular with system administrators and software engineers)
Vim Emulation: Developers can execute their favorite Vim commands on VS Code using this extension.
Multiple Cursors: Using this feature, you can make the same edit in different locations/ files.
Highly customizable: Developers can disable specific Vim commands using this extension.
Supports Visual Mode: Developers can manipulate and select text similarly to Vim.
VsVim is free, not language specific, and designed to work with different VS Code files.
Settings Sync is an extension that allows users to synchronize settings, extensions, themes, workspaces, snippets, and keybindings across different machines using GitHub Gist.
Offers cloud storage: You can store all your settings and synchronizations on the cloud and retrieve them whenever the need arises.
Automatic synchronization: Changes are shipped across different machines automatically.
Integrates with GitHub: You can store all your settings on a public or private repository on GitHub.
SettingSync is free and supports files created using different languages.
Remote – SSH
Remote – SSH add-on for VS Code lets you use any remote PC with an SSH server as your IDE. It will greatly enhance troubleshooting and development in various situations.
Develop apps and software on a sophisticated remote workstation by accessing it from your local computer.
Swap instantly between various development environments without impacting your local computer’s performance.
Collaborate on an existing IDE from multiple remote machines.
The best part is you do not need to deploy any source code on the local workstation. The add-on runs commands and other VS IDE extensions directly on the remote computer.
If you want to implement a common style guide across all the development projects in your team, you must try out the Prettier add-on for VS Code.
Opinionated code formatting extension
Integrates with many code editors
Style discussions become useless when you use this tool
It saves you energy and time
Sometimes, as a developer, you may need to work on an inconsistent codebase. You can easily clean and reformat an existing codebase using this extension on VS Code.
This is a Microsoft-developed VS Code extension that has recorded more than 5 million installations.
If you are a software development project manager and supervise multiple DevOps projects on VS Code, you should try out Project Manager. The tool enables you to access all the projects from one computer, no matter where the projects are available.
There are provisions to define projects so that you can easily organize them.
Save folders or workspaces as projects
Tag your projects for advanced organization
Open all projects in the new or same window
Easily identify renamed or deleted projects
Also, the extension has witnessed over 2 million installations.
SonarLint is an open-source Visual Studio extension that allows you to fix coding issues before they appear. The add-on highlights security vulnerabilities and bugs as you write the code in Visual Studio. Its interface is simple and works just like a spell-checking app in any text editor.
Are you looking for an automated tool that will flag coding errors, stylistic errors, bugs, and other suspicious constructs on VS Code? You can try Stylelint, an easy-to-install linter extension for VS Code.
Apart from flagging, it enforces your development team to stick to pre-approved code styling conventions to avoid junk and garbage in your software or app code.
Plugin support for personalized rule creation
For modern CSS features and syntaxes, it has 170+ built-in rules
Sometimes it fixes code issues automatically when it understands any pattern
VS Marketplace shows 700K installs for this add-on.
Do you want to get rid of having to toggle over to your .css file to inspect the properties attached to an id or class? You need to try the CSS Peek add-on for VS Code. It lets you view the hover image of CSS code from the HTML file.
The extension also converts IDs and class names into hyperlinks. Thus, when you click on these hyperlinks, you can instantly access the ID definition and class of your CSS.
This add-on has recorded more than 3 million installations. You can install the tool into VS Code for free.
Polacode is an add-on for VS Code that enables you to instantly create beautiful screenshots of your software or app code. Then you can use the resulting component to share your coding work with collaborators, friends, or clients.
The best part is that it keeps all the existing VS Code themes and code fonts. The add-on just puts the code into a nice layout that looks professional.
The extension comes with a dragging feature to resize the container or code snippet. You just need to hold and drag the lower right corner. Other commands that you can use to control image appearances are polacode.shadow, polacode.target, polacode.backgroundColor, etc.
Import Cost is a VS Code add-on that lets you visualize the file size of an imported third-party library. It shows the import cost value as soon as you import the library in VS Code editor.
You will see the library size inline as you type the code. To view the imported library file size, it utilizes a webpack.
Library size for entire content import
View size for default importing
The add-on has recorded more than 1 million installations.
Usually, you need to handle multiple files when working on a software or app development project. When writing a code, you need to enter the file name as-is from your own memory.
Now, as the file names contain hyphens, remembering them becomes a challenging task. Here, you can take quick help from Path Intellisense.
It is an extension that autocompletes file names in a codebase. The tool instantly suggests the file you are looking for when it detects the initial letters. It can also help you make hidden files visible.
This VS Code extension is an open-source tool from Microsoft. You are free to use it for either commercial or non-commercial development purposes. The tool has recorded over 600K installations so far.
So far, you have discovered some of the best VS Code extensions you must use if you love to work on Microsoft Visual Studio Code. It is a leading name in the ecosystem of open-source code editors. Depending on your project requirements, you can install any of the above VS IDE extensions.
This ultimate list of the best VS IDE extensions will help you save the time you would have invested in searching for these tools. Now, you can dedicate more time to your project since you already know which extensions are good.
You can also check some of the best IDEs every programmer should know about.
I am a technical and creative content writer with 10+ years of experience in the relevant industry. My degrees in English and Sociology, coupled with working experience in software development companies, help me understand how technology… read more
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