vs-code-microsoft-build-201Microsoft has announced Visual Studio Code, a free code editor with integrated debugger and source version control which runs natively on Windows, Mac and Linux (download Code here).

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It is different from Visual Studio in the sense that it is much lighter and is designed for code-editing and debugging only. Visual Studio will remain a larger integrated development environment (IDE) with things like form editors or database integration, just to cite the obvious.

At Build 2015 in San Francisco, Microsoft has demonstrated it on all platforms mentioned above, and it worked just as expected. It’s very nice to see how Microsoft continues to open up to other platforms.

vs-code-debugI took it for a spin after the keynote, and it looks pretty cool. It works with a number of languages for syntax highlighting, but the debugging capabilities currently support C# (mono 3.12+ on non-Windows) and Node.js (0.12+). I’m not sure or when more will be added, but I would love to see something work with PHP as well.

Windows users have the option of using of the “Express” (free) version of Visual Studio, so the main advantage here is that it is light (Visual Studio takes a lot of disk space) and fast. For Linux and Mac user, this may be a much better tool to develop .NET programs since Code is supported directly by Microsoft. The demo was very convincing.

The app is still in “Preview”, but it is functional. Git integration is supported, but at the moment, it is not possible to tell it where to find git.exe, if you have a portable version. All the configuration files are in .json so it’s easy to read/edit, or even backup and check into a source-control.

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