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Experimenting with VSCode instead of the ISE

I’ve been playing with PowerShell here and there, learning a few things. As I use the dbatools project, or

I saw a tweet from Rob Sewell on using VS Code for PoSh, which I’ve tried, but it felt cumbersome and hard. I didn’t spend much time on it before dropping back to the ISE, which I was comfortable in.

However, Rob’s tweet mentioned a post from Mike Robbins on configuring VSCode, so I decided to give it another try. It’s not that the ISE doesn’t work well, but I keep hearing people talking about VSCode, which has git support, and so I thought this might be worth trying.

I won’t talk about anything in Mike’s post. You can try that out. I already at the PoSh extension, but it was upgraded since I first used it, and now pops the integrated console when I open a .ps1, which makes it like the ISE.

2017-09-12 08_27_56-newdetachall.ps1 — Visual Studio Code

I don’t remember that from before, and I certainly like that. I also skipped the VSCode-icons in place of VSCode Great Icons. I mean, I want to be great at this stuff.

The one thing I did do was change the settings from Mike to set a new zoom level. Zero is a little low for my old eyes, and 2 (where I’ve been working) is too big here. I chose 1.


Using VSCode

The main thing you want to do with an editor is write code. So, I decided to write some simple code. I have a few things to do, but I decided to start with something simple. I wrote a few lines of PoSh. This isn’t terribly useful, but I wanted to play with the editor and the debugger.

2017-09-12 08_56_19-newdetachall.ps1 — Visual Studio Code

Now, in the ISE, I do get some intellisense and parameters. The parameters look better, but the screen capture ghosted them out a bit.

2017-09-12 08_57_07-Windows PowerShell ISE

In VSCode, this actually looks better. First, I enter a cmdlet name and see some basics.

2017-09-12 08_58_08-? newdetachall.ps1 — Visual Studio Code

After I’ve entered it, I see more details as I work with it.

2017-09-12 08_58_13-? newdetachall.ps1 — Visual Studio Code

Running code works OK. I can hit F5 and the code runs. Not ideal, as the function keys make my hands move off the keyboard. That isn’t different from the ISE. I definitely wish we had shortcuts, and I know there are extensions to help with this. I need to play with some.

The debugging, however, is much easier. More in line with VS and other debuggers. Set a breakpoint, F5, and I have real debugger controls if I want them (as well as F10, F11).

2017-09-12 09_03_32-newdetachall.ps1 — Visual Studio Code

I can see variables in the debug window, or in the main window if I hover. This feels a bit cleaner than the ISE.

2017-09-12 09_05_24-newdetachall.ps1 — Visual Studio Code

There still are some issues. F10 seems to disappear sometime. I’ve tried to remove breakpoints and they don’t always remove. However, those are pretty minor items in the scheme of things.

Overall, I’ve changed a bit of my view of VS Code here. It does seem to have improved since the last time I tried PoSh in here. Maybe I’ll give it another chance with other languages as well.

Filed under: Blog Tagged: powershell, syndicated

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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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