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Overview & Use Cases

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Learn more about Visual Studio Code in our dedicated course: Python Development in Visual Studio Code (Setup Guide)

00:00 Welcome to our next section about lightweight—but still very powerful—IDEs. We’re going to take a look more specifically at Visual Studio Code, but there’s also other editors like Atom or Sublime Text—they fall into this same category. So at first, let’s have a quick overview and talk about the use cases.

00:19 This is how your Visual Studio Code editor might look like when you open it up. Here I’m again looking at this Django project so that we have a couple of files to look at.

00:28 You can see, again, we have a window here where we will have content—the code where we’re writing, our text editor. Down here, we have a terminal. We can type into the terminal ls -al,

00:39 whatever we want to type, right? And on the left side here, we have a file structure.

00:45 There are some very easily toggle-able buttons here on the left, in this command window. We can switch off the file explorer to make it a bit easier to look at.

00:55 We have a search here that allows us quickly to search within files. Let’s search, for example, for “DATABASES” and it finds right away which file and at which position I can access this variable name, right?

01:09 So it’s not just a file search, but also within files. Then what we saw in this overview here—you can see there’s little dots, and then there’s this M here, which is our integrated version control.

01:20 So this knows about which files have been modified, which files have been added, which files have been deleted, et cetera. We have a debug tool that, again, we’re going to talk about more in a later video. And we have the extensions thing. So, there’s a big marketplace with lots and lots of extensions for Visual Studio Code because it’s become very popular in the past time.

01:41 The most popular extension, I believe, is actually the Python extension. This is one that you’re going to have to install at the beginning to get started. Okay, so this is the quick overview. You can see we have code highlighting, we have autocompletion.

01:57 Let’s do this. You see?

02:01 We can see nice color-coding here that shows if something has been edited here—it’s related to the Git integration. Et cetera. So, lots of nice features for Visual Studio Code, and then the advantage is that it’s very easy to work with a lot of files.

02:16 We can work on a project structure. As for use cases, what makes Visual Studio a great editor is that it is relatively lightweight—it starts fast, it doesn’t take up too much of your memory—and yet it has tons and tons of great features.

02:30 You can extend it using the extensions to integrate lots of functionality—that you maybe don’t need, so you can keep it slim, but then extend in exactly the way that you need it, which can keep your resources smaller and give you an IDE that is very tailored and focused for exactly what you need it for.

02:49 And I think this is probably the best description of what’s the niche, or what’s the use case of these types of editors. And again, Visual Studio Code is an Electron app, which means that it’s built on JavaScript, HTML, CSS—so, internet technologies.

03:05 Sublime Text is another alternative of a very powerful editor that is similar to Visual Studio Code, and it’s built in Python. So if you prefer that, you could also take a look at Sublime Text instead.

03:17 All right, but we’re looking at Visual Studio Code, and in the next video we’re going to start building the little script and I’ll show you a couple of features live while coding. Let’s get started!

Cory on April 24, 2020

Thank you for this tutorial. Being to python I honestly was getting irritated with the built-in ide. As a newb I think I’ll stick with thonny till I feel a little more comfortable. Much appreciated!

Martin Breuss RP Team on April 24, 2020

Totally makes sense. Thonny is a great choice for getting started. :)

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