Visual Studio Code Overview

What is Visual Studio Code?

Visual Studio Code is a lightweight but powerful source code editor that runs on your desktop and is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

  • It comes with built-in support for JavaScript, TypeScript, and Node.js and has a rich ecosystem of extensions for other languages (such as C++, C#, Java, Python, PHP, Go) and runtimes (such as .NET and Unity).
  • It combines the simplicity of a code editor with what developers need for their core edit-build-debug cycle.
  • It provides comprehensive code editing, navigation, and understanding support along with lightweight debugging, a rich extensibility model, and lightweight integration with existing tools.
  • Visual Studio Code is updated monthly with new features and bug fixes.
  • You can download it for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Visual Studio Code's website.


Visual Studio Code was announced on April 29, 2015, by Microsoft at the 2015 Build conference. A Preview build was released shortly thereafter.

  • On November 18, 2015, Visual Studio Code was released under the Expat License, and its source code was posted to GitHub.
  • Extension support was also announced.
  • On April 14, 2016, Visual Studio Code graduated the public preview stage and was released to the Web.


Code Editor

  • Visual Studio Code is a code editor that can be used with a variety of programming languages, including C#, Java, JavaScript, Go, Node.js, and C++.
  • It is based on the Electron framework, which is used to develop Node.js Web applications that run on the Blink layout engine.
  • It employs codenamed Monaco the same editor component which is used in Azure DevOps (formerly called Visual Studio Online and Visual Studio Team Services).

Language Support

  • Instead of a project system, it allows users to open one or more directories, which can then be saved in workspaces for future reuse.
  • This allows it to operate as a language-agnostic code editor for any language.
  • It supports many programming languages and a set of features that differs per language.


  • Visual Studio Code can be extended via extensions that are available through a central repository.
  • This includes additions to the editor and language support.
  • A notable feature is the ability to create extensions that add support for new languages, themes, and debuggers, perform static code analysis, and add code linters using the Language Server Protocol.
  • Visual Studio Code includes multiple extensions for FTP, allowing the software to be used as a free alternative for web development.
  • Code can be synced between the editor and the server, without downloading any extra software.


  • Unwanted files and folders can be excluded from the project tree via the settings.
  • Many Visual Studio Code features are not exposed through menus or the user interface but can be accessed via the command palette.
  • Visual Studio Code allows users to set the code page in which the active document is saved, the newline character, and the programming language of the active document.
  • This allows it to be used on any platform, in any locale, and for any given programming language.