Reasons to Use VS Code
I used to be an user of Sublime Text 3, which I think is a very nicely made app. The major usage of Sublime Text 3 for me include:
.texdocuments when I do not need live compilation
.Rfiles when I do not want to run them but just want to take a look for reference
- open all other type of plain text files
Its plugins, include
LaTexTools, has been life savers for me
for a few years. While most plugins are free (some do ask that you buy a
license), Sublime Text 3 itself is not. You can, however, keep using it in
“trial mode”, as long as you can put up with the occasional pop-up windows
asking you to purchase a license for continued use. I myself cannot deal with
these, so I turned to the open-source world and googled “open source
replacements for Sublime Text”. Numerous candidates came up, including
Notepad++, Atom, VS Code, Vim, and many others. I didn’t try
Notepad++ as it is Windows-only and I have a mac. I gave a shot to Atom before,
but it was too young then, and was quite slow, despite the fact that it has many
interesting plugins such as the power
mode. Vim is powerful and I’m
quite interested in it, but for
.tex files I still prefer something simpler.
So I settled down with VS Code. I have to admit that I’m never a fan of
Microsoft, especially after failing to defend my computers against so many
viruses and apps like Baidu products. I might be to blame for these failures but
somehow I just decided not to use Windows…I was dubious when opening VS Code
for the first time. Then I noticed that it also has a large market for plugins
and they are free. VS Code has an integrated terminal so that after finishing up
things, I can just toggle the terminal and git push, without having to switch to
the terminal outside. Also, it is nicely integrated with
Git, so that on the
sidebar there is a
SOURCE CONTROL page, listing out all files that are not yet
tracked, deleted, or deleted.
I regretted my prejudice after using VS Code only for a few hours. I deleted
Sublime Text 3. I deleted other Markdown writing apps that I paid for. I also
set VS Code to be my default editor to open up
.tex files. The color theme is
set to match the theme of my laptop, which makes my eyes less stressed.
The final reason that I like about VS Code is that it can be integrated with
WakaTime, a plugin that records your time working on different types of
documents and different projects. Once connected, you can open your WakaTime
dashboard to view different visualizations of interesting statistics about
yourself. For example, here is a bar plot of the total time I spent on VS Code
during the last 7 Days.
And here’s a pie chart of where my time has gone to, over the last 7 days. Obviously, I spent most of my time writing papers and running simulations for them! This post is also written using VS Code, and I believe the time will count towards the Markdown section.
In fact, WakaTime can be integrated with many other editors, too. However, I feel VS Code and WakaTime make the best companions.