Visual Studio Code Is So Popular But Why?

Visual Studio Code

Good text editors are important for the majority of the programmers for making them faster and efficient. Many confuse text editors with an IDE, however, there are certain differences which lies between the two. An IDE provides the complete environment to the programmers for programming making them more productive. Mainly, it consists of a source code editor, compiler and the debugger along with tons of other features. Contrary to this, an editor provides less functionality lacking an environment to run, test and debug your code under the same roof. But despite fewer features, these editors are lightweight, requires less RAM, and some editors like Visual Studio Code or Sublime text comes with additional features similar to an IDE.

Coming Back to Visual Studio Code…

Visual Studio Code or VSC for short is one of the most popular source code editor used by the programmers. It’s fast, it’s lightweight and it’s powerful too! Microsoft designed VSC as a cross-platform code editor for writing web and cloud applications. For the first time, it was announced on 29th April 2015 by the Microsoft at the 2015 Build Conference which took place in San Francisco. A few months later on Nov 18, 2015, VSC was released under the MIT license and the source code was made available on GitHub. In 14th April 2016, VSC was released on the web.

VSC Survey

Understanding the Visual Studio Code

It is a source code editor which was developed for Windows, Linux and macOS. Furthermore, VSC also combines the simplicity of an editor and powerful developer tools like debugging, embedded Git control, syntax highlighting and much more. It is free and open source and is based on Electron framework which is used to deploy Node.js applications. Although it uses Electron framework, it doesn’t use Atom but uses the same editor component called Monaco which is used in Azure DevOps.

To read about top 15 Visual Studio Code Extensions for front-end developers you can go through “# 15 VSCode Extensions for Front-End Developers”.

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How Visual Studio Code different from Visual Studio 2015?

Visual Studio Code Statistics

Often, VSC is confused with Visual Studio 2015 which is a completely different product. To differentiate these two products:

  • VSC is a source code editor while Visual Studio is a complete IDE.
  • Visual Studio Code is a cross-platform which works on Windows, Linux and macOS whereas Visual Studio only works on Windows and macOS.
  • VSC is fast and lightweight, and Visual Studio 2015 is not as fast but consists of a multitude of features.
  • VSC is mainly used by front-end developers and Visual Studio is used for any kind of developers.
  • Visual Studio Code is based on files and folders while Visual Studio 2015 is based on projects and solutions.
  • Both of them also varies when it comes to the supporting of programming languages. As VSC can be used for writing numerous languages like PHP, Python, HTML5, JavaScript and much more whereas, Visual Studio is primarily used for .NET but supports some other languages too.

Why Visual Studio Code is so Popular?

Most Popular Editors

According to me, the main reason why VSC become so popular is that it has everything which any programmer expects from any code editor with some additional and useful features. It’s lightweight, fast, open source and cross-platform nature along with other cool features gives it an extra edge over any other editor. So here are my 10 reasons why it has gained such popularity among the developer’s community.

1. Cross-platform

It is free, open source and cross-platform editor which works on Windows, Linux and macOS so that you can work regardless of the platform your device is based on.

2. Supports myriads of programming languages

When you’ll visit the website of Visual Studio Code, in no time you’ll realize that it supports almost all the major programming language. It supports Python, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, TypeScript, C++, Java, PHP, Go, C#, PHP, SQL, Ruby, Objective-C and much more.

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3. You can change the language for the selected file

It supports default language which will be according to your file but you can also change the language mode. To do this, click on the language indicator located on the right side of the status bar which will open ‘select language mode drop-down’. Here you can select different languages for your current file.

4. Provides language-specific documentation

Its website comprises documents specific to the common languages which Visual Studio Code supports. Some of which are C++, C#, CSS, Go, Python, PHP, Java and much more.

5. Debugging


VSC comes with an in-built debugger which is also one of its key features. It helps in accelerating any programmer’s edit, compile and debug loop. However, by default it only comes with a debugger supporting NodeJS which can debug anything transpiled to JavaScript but again, you can use extensions for other runtimes,

6. Built-in Git integration

Visual Studio Code goes one step further by providing a complete Git integration making programmers to see changes instantly without leaving the editor. You can find the Git icon on the left of the sidebar where you can initialize it and can perform several Git commands like pull, push, publish and others. Additionally, VSC also works with several Git repository whether be it local or remote.

7. IntelliSense

It is a feature which is used by programmers for smart code completion, parameter info, content assist, quick info and the code hinting. VSC provides IntelliSense for JavaScript, CSS, HTML, TypeScript, JSON, Sass and Less programming languages. For other languages, we can use IntelliSense by adding its extensions.

8. Command palette

Hitting Ctrl/Command+Shipt+P brings the command palette which makes the VS Code accessible from the keyboard. It allows you to access all the functionality of VS Code including all the keyword shortcuts. Moreover, this palette allows access to many commands too.

9. Code management features

Visual Studio Code also provides features for code management like Go to Definition, Peek definition, Find all references and rename Symbol. By right-clicking in the code file, you can find these features easily in VSC.

10. Customization

Just like any other popular editor, Visual Studio Code also provides customization. Actually, it provides extreme customization thanks to its flexible preference setting and a multitude of extensions. VSC gives you the options to change your theme, change your keyboard shortcuts, tune your settings, creating snippets and much more.

Final Thoughts!


Indeed, this source code editor has come a long way to become one of the most popular editors by the programmers. It has also been successful in eclipsing other previously famous and widely used editors; all thanks to its light-weight, speed and numerous features.

On one hand, VSC is gaining popularity for providing a rich user experience and on the other hand, it is also been widely confused with visual studio. Various features like debugger, IntelliSense, Git integration, support for countless programming languages and its huge ecosystem having sundry of extensions gives Visual Studio Code a one side edge over other editors.

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  1. The popularity of VSC baffles me. It’s clunky and ugly. Visual Studio is so superior, I don’t even understand why it exists.


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