This article was written by Sana Ajani, Program Manager at Microsoft
What's a Coding Pack?
Coding Packs are specialized installs of Visual Studio Code that are pre-configured for specific coding environments. They are designed to help students and educators ramp up on VS Code more quickly by automating editor and environment configuration. Coding Packs are a single download that performs the following when installed:
- Installs VS Code
- Installs a specific runtime (Python, Java, etc.)
- Installs essential extensions
- Ensures installs happen under the user scope so as not to require administrator permissions.
There are over 72 million students learning Computer Science today in college/university settings. Students and new learners want to use real-world tools in their courses, but these tools come out of the box with an intimidating amount of detail. We want Visual Studio Code to help students get started coding easily and quickly.
We’ve heard from students and educators alike that valuable course time is wasted at the beginning of each semester getting set up on their computers with the proper programming environment and development tools. For instance, we heard from one professor teaching a CS 101 course that “set up for their students normally takes 5 class periods, because there’s a lot of complexity, such as dealing with multiple versions of Python.” Another professor said they would prefer a version of VS Code specifically set up for a Python installation.
We also noticed that students who are learning to code but aren’t used to VS Code often get confused by the concept of extensions and further set-up once they install the correct extension. To address these pain points, we’ve created Coding Packs for Python and Java that include everything you need to start coding in those languages.
The Coding Pack for Python will download everything you need to start coding in Python all at once, so you don’t have to worry about installing a bunch of different software yourself. It will install:
- Python 3.8 and add it to your PATH
- Visual Studio Code and the Python extension in VS Code
- Python packages including, jupyter, numpy, sklearn, pandas, and matplotlib
These components will be installed on the user scope instead of system, so that no admin privileges are required. Note, that the Coding Pack for Python is only available on Windows currently.
Similarly, the Coding Pack for Java will download everything you need to get started with Java, all at once.
We know it can be frustrating to figure out which JDK to download and how to get it on your computer, so the Coding Pack for Java will install:
- Java Development Kit (JDK) and add it to the PATH
- Visual Studio Code and the Java extension pack in VS Code
Specifically it will install the OpenJDK11 on your machine and update any related environment settings. The Coding Pack for Java is available for Mac and Windows.
For more educational resources about VS Code, please see our website. If you have any questions or feedback about the installers, please feel free to open an issue on the Python VS Code repository or Java VS Code repository.
Coding Pack downloads
Microsoft Learn modules on Getting Started with Visual Studio Code
Video on how to leverage these installers in an educational context
Start your 2021 year right with these free and convenient Coding Packs!
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