Top 10 Extremely Helpful Visual Studio Code Plugins for Programmers

Top 10 Extremely Helpful Visual Studio Code Plugins for Programmers

The plugins that you’re using have a big impact on your productivity and the way you work. That’s exactly why we’ll be going over this list of Visual Studio Code plugins.

A list of plugins that make your life as a programmer so much easier. 10 Extremely Helpful Visual Studio Code Plugins for Programmers

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a junior developer that has just started your first job, you want to make your life as a developer as easy as possible. The right tools can help accomplish this.

If you’re using Visual Studio Code as your IDE of choice, you have the ability to make it fit your preferences. One way you can do this is by installing the right plugins. You can add as many as you’d like in order to make your life as easy as possible.

The plugins that you’re using have a big impact on your productivity and the way you work. That’s exactly why we’ll be going over this list of Visual Studio Code plugins.

1. Visual Studio Intellicode

With over 3,200,000 downloads, Visual Studio Intellicode is one of the most downloaded plugins for Visual Studio. And, in my opinion, it’s one of the most helpful plugins that you can ever use.

This plugin is built for helping developers with smart code completion suggestions, and it has pre-built support for a wide array of programming languages.

Visual Studio Intellicode uses machine learning techniques to observe and find patterns used in numerous open-source GitHub projects, and it suggests them while you’re coding.

2. Git Blame

Who did this?!

Every once in a while, you need to know who wrote that piece of code. Well, Git Blame to the rescue. Git Blame tells you who the last person that touched a line of code was. On top of that, you see which commit it happened in.

This is very good information, especially when you’re working with something like feature branches. When using feature branches, you refer to a ticket with your branch name. Since Git Blame tells you which commit — thus which branch — a line of code was changed in, you know which ticket caused this change. This helps you get a better understanding of the reasoning behind the change.

3. Prettier

Prettier is one of the best plugins for developers who need to follow a well-laid set of rules when developing. It’s a compelling plugin that allows you to utilize the Prettier package. It’s a robust opinionated code formatter that allows developers to format their codes in a structured way.

Prettier works together with JavaScript, TypeScript, HTML, CSS, Markdown, GraphQL, and other modern tools and allows you to properly format your code.

4. JavaScript (ES6) Code Snippets

Every web developer that’s slightly up-to-date has probably worked with one of the various JavaScript stacks. No matter what your choices of frameworks are, typing the same generic codes in different projects ought to decrease your workflow.

The JavaScript (ES6) code snippets is a handy plugin that provides some very useful snippets of JavaScript codes for the idle developer. It binds standard JavaScript calls into simple hotkeys. Once you get the hang of it, it can increase your productivity dramatically.

5. Sass

As you’ve probably already guessed, this plugin helps developers that are working with style sheets. Once you start creating the style sheets for your application, you definitely want to use the Sass plugin. This plugin supports indented Sass syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and formatting.

When it comes to styling, you definitely want to have this tool in your toolset.

6. Path Intellisense

Path Intellisense is one of those Visual Studio Codes that provides a guaranteed productivity boost to your development. If you’re working on a lot of projects at the same time with too many different technologies, you’d surely want a handy tool that can remember pathnames for you. This plugin will save you a lot of time that otherwise would be wasted on looking for the right directory.

Path Intellisence started as a simple extension for auto-completing file names, but it has since been proven to be a valuable asset in the toolset of most developers.

7. Debugger for Chrome

No need to leave your Visual Studio Code if you need to debug JavaScript. Debugger for Chrome, which is released by Microsoft, lets you debug your source files directly in Visual Studio Code.

8. ESLint

The ESLint plugin integrates ESLint into Visual Studio Code. If you’re not familiar with it, ESLint is a tool that statically analyzes your code to quickly find problems.

Most problems ESLint finds can be automatically fixed. ESLint fixes are syntax-aware, and so you won’t experience errors introduced by traditional find-and-replace algorithms. And on top of that, ESLint is highly customizable.

9. SVG Viewer

The SVG Viewer extension adds a number of utilities for working with SVGs in Visual Studio Code. This plugin makes it possible to render SVG files and see what they look like without having to leave the editor. Furthermore, this plugin also has options for converting to PNG and generating data URI schemes.

10. Themes

Last but not least, themes. Since you’ll be looking at your editor every day, why not make it as pretty as possible? There are tons of customization plugins that change the color scheme and the icons in the sidebar. Some popular themes that are available for free are One Monokai, One Dark Pro, and Material Icon.

Thank you for reading ! I hope this tutorial will surely help and you if you liked this tutorial, please consider sharing it with others.

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JavaScript developers should you be using Web Workers?

JavaScript developers should you be using Web Workers?

Do you think JavaScript developers should be making more use of Web Workers to shift execution off of the main thread?

Originally published by David Gilbertson at https://medium.com

So, Web Workers. Those wonderful little critters that allow us to execute JavaScript off the main thread.

Also known as “no, you’re thinking of Service Workers”.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Before I get into the meat of the article, please sit for a lesson in how computers work:

Understood? Good.

For the red/green colourblind, let me explain. While a CPU is doing one thing, it can’t be doing another thing, which means you can’t sort a big array while a user scrolls the screen.

This is bad, if you have a big array and users with fingers.

Enter, Web Workers. These split open the atomic concept of a ‘CPU’ and allow us to think in terms of threads. We can use one thread to handle user-facing work like touch events and rendering the UI, and different threads to carry out all other work.

Check that out, the main thread is green the whole way through, ready to receive and respond to the gentle caress of a user.

You’re excited (I can tell), if we only have UI code on the main thread and all other code can go in a worker, things are going to be amazing (said the way Oprah would say it).

But cool your jets for just a moment, because websites are mostly about the UI — it’s why we have screens. And a lot of a user’s interactions with your site will be tapping on the screen, waiting for a response, reading, tapping, looking, reading, and so on.

So we can’t just say “here’s some JS that takes 20ms to run, chuck it on a thread”, we must think about where that execution time exists in the user’s world of tap, read, look, read, tap…

I like to boil this down to one specific question:

Is the user waiting anyway?

Imagine we have created some sort of git-repository-hosting website that shows all sorts of things about a repository. We have a cool feature called ‘issues’. A user can even click an ‘issues’ tab in our website to see a list of all issues relating to the repository. Groundbreaking!

When our users click this issues tab, the site is going to fetch the issue data, process it in some way — perhaps sort, or format dates, or work out which icon to show — then render the UI.

Inside the user’s computer, that’ll look exactly like this.

Look at that processing stage, locking up the main thread even though it has nothing to do with the UI! That’s terrible, in theory.

But think about what the human is actually doing at this point. They’re waiting for the common trio of network/process/render; just sittin’ around with less to do than the Bolivian Navy.

Because we care about our users, we show a loading indicator to let them know we’ve received their request and are working on it — putting the human in a ‘waiting’ state. Let’s add that to the diagram.

Now that we have a human in the picture, we can mix in a Web Worker and think about the impact it will have on their life:

Hmmm.

First thing to note is that we’re not doing anything in parallel. We need the data from the network before we process it, and we need to process the data before we can render the UI. The elapsed time doesn’t change.

(BTW, the time involved in moving data to a Web Worker and back is negligible: 1ms per 100 KB is a decent rule of thumb.)

So we can move work off the main thread and have a page that is responsive during that time, but to what end? If our user is sitting there looking at a spinner for 600ms, have we enriched their experience by having a responsive screen for the middle third?

No.

I’ve fudged these diagrams a little bit to make them the gorgeous specimens of graphic design that they are, but they’re not really to scale.

When responding to a user request, you’ll find that the network and DOM-manipulating part of any given task take much, much longer than the pure-JS data processing part.

I saw an article recently making the case that updating a Redux store was a good candidate for Web Workers because it’s not UI work (and non-UI work doesn’t belong on the main thread).

Chucking the data processing over to a worker thread sounds sensible, but the idea struck me as a little, umm, academic.

First, let’s split instances of ‘updating a store’ into two categories:

  1. Updating a store in response to a user interaction, then updating the UI in response to the data change
  2. Not that first one

If the first scenario, a user taps a button on the screen — perhaps to change the sort order of a list. The store updates, and this results in a re-rendering of the DOM (since that’s the point of a store).

Let me just delete one thing from the previous diagram:

In my experience, it is rare that the store-updating step goes beyond a few dozen milliseconds, and is generally followed by ten times that in DOM updating, layout, and paint. If I’ve got a site that’s taking longer than this, I’d be asking questions about why I have so much data in the browser and so much DOM, rather than on which thread I should do my processing.

So the question we’re faced with is the same one from above: the user tapped something on the screen, we’re going to work on that request for hopefully less than a second, why would we want to make the screen responsive during that time?

OK what about the second scenario, where a store update isn’t in response to a user interaction? Performing an auto-save, for example — there’s nothing more annoying than an app becoming unresponsive doing something you didn’t ask it to do.

Actually there’s heaps of things more annoying than that. Teens, for example.

Anyhoo, if you’re doing an auto-save and taking 100ms to process data client-side before sending it off to a server, then you should absolutely use a Web Worker.

In fact, any ‘background’ task that the user hasn’t asked for, or isn’t waiting for, is a good candidate for moving to a Web Worker.

The matter of value

Complexity is expensive, and implementing Web Workers ain’t cheap.

If you’re using a bundler — and you are — you’ll have a lot of reading to do, and probably npm packages to install. If you’ve got a create-react-app app, prepare to eject (and put aside two days twice a year to update 30 different packages when the next version of Babel/Redux/React/ESLint comes out).

Also, if you want to share anything fancier than plain data between a worker and the main thread you’ve got some more reading to do (comlink is your friend).

What I’m getting at is this: if the benefit is real, but minimal, then you’ve gotta ask if there’s something else you could spend a day or two on with a greater benefit to your users.

This thinking is true of everything, of course, but I’ve found that Web Workers have a particularly poor benefit-to-effort ratio.

Hey David, why you hate Web Workers so bad?

Good question.

This is a doweling jig:

I own a doweling jig. I love my doweling jig. If I need to drill a hole into the end of a piece of wood and ensure that it’s perfectly perpendicular to the surface, I use my doweling jig.

But I don’t use it to eat breakfast. For that I use a spoon.

Four years ago I was working on some fancy animations. They looked slick on a fast device, but janky on a slow one. So I wrote fireball-js, which executes a rudimentary performance benchmark on the user’s device and returns a score, allowing me to run my animations only on devices that would render them smoothly.

Where’s the best spot to run some CPU intensive code that the user didn’t request? On a different thread, of course. A Web Worker was the correct tool for the job.

Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find me writing a routing algorithm for a mapping application. This requires parsing a big fat GeoJSON map into a collection of nodes and edges, to be used when a user asks for directions. The processing isn’t in response to a user request and the user isn’t waiting on it. And so, a Web Worker is the correct tool for the job.

It was only when doing this that it dawned on me: in the intervening quartet of years, I have seen exactly zero other instances where Web Workers would have improved the user experience.

Contrast this with a recent resurgence in Web Worker wonderment, and combine that contrast with the fact that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, then concatenate that combined contrast with my contrarian character and you’ve got yourself a blog post telling you that maybe Web Workers are a teeny-tiny bit overhyped.

Thanks for reading

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Further reading

An Introduction to Web Workers

JavaScript Web Workers: A Beginner’s Guide

Using Web Workers to Real-time Processing

How to use Web Workers in Angular app

Using Web Workers with Angular CLI