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Keep VS Code from Becoming an IDE

Ryan Palo on April 27, 2018

Some people like a big, heavy, comfy IDE. Some people like a light, zippy, relatively simple text editor and a terminal window. And some people l... [Read Full]
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Fyi, most of the language support extensions don't even get loaded if you work on a project that does not need them. VSCode uses events to activate extensions. All of the language support ones are registered for the file type event. Meaning that they only are loaded into memory and executed if you open a file or the file type they cover.
This means, if you work on a ruby project and have the python language support extensions activated, the only thing that is loaded is the manifest of that extension. It shouldn't add any noticable delay on startup since VSCode is only reading one file, package.json


Interesting. I feel like I remember reading about this, but I totally forgot about it. I’ll update the article in a minute, thanks for the info!


No problem :)
If you are interested into fast editors, keep an eye on x-ray, atoms successor ( probably). It uses a native server written in rust that handles all core functionality. They only use electron for the UI. Makes editing a blaze :) it's pre pre pre pre alpha though ^


There's also Core is written in Rust, front ends in a variety of languages and platforms - one of which is Electron.


Get off my lawn whippersnapper! VS Code is a lightweight editor? 🤔


It’s at least as lightweight as atom or sublime text I suppose 😬 Definitely lighter than something like Eclipse. It depends on how many extensions you have running. Like any editor. But it opens up quick, can be configured down to a minimal, basic editing experience, and still allows for big power and productivity when you need it.


VS Code was much heavier on my laptop than sublime when I had a a 5400rpm HDD on it, even though I regularly disable/remove extensions per project as this article advises. No difference now that I installed an SSD though.


"It absolutely is"
-Anyone who's worked in an enterprise JAVA shop and forced to use Eclipse.


I work in an enterprise Java shop :) I'm not going to claim Eclipse is lightweight. (I'm not forced into Eclipse, I like it.) But an editor within an startup memory footprint close to our enterprise software's startup memory footprint is not something I would call lightweight either. VS Code does start up much faster than our enterprise software, or Eclipse for that matter.

I'm part of the zippy editor/terminal group.

A Google search for zippy editor/terminal leads to Micro. Is this the thing you are part of?


No, but I've used it before. I'm just saying I tend to like using a separate, simple text editor and a terminal window. I don't tend to like large, powerful, all-in-one IDE's.


Oh I apologise for my mistake. Zippy is apparently an adjective. When you said that you were part of the zippy ide/terminal I thought it meant there is a minimalistic IDE out there called zippy and you are part of the group developing it so I curiously googled it. Haha!

Ooooh gotcha. Yep! Now I want to invent the Zippy Editor.

If it is gonna be an Electron app optimized to be minimal/efficient and not a command line tool I will join you on this endeavor.


Great article.👍👌
I had the same performance issue today and before reading this article I have disabled some of the extensions and it is working like charm.


Thanks! You can also run the "Developer: Process Explorer" command (using cmd/ctrl+shift+p) and take a look at the extensionHost to confirm that's what's eating resources.


Nothing! That’s why I said I was joking. 😬 Emacs has a reputation for being hard to learn and hard on the fingers, but with a very loyal fan base. Just poking fun. It works great for some people!


I've seen on your other post that you've tried Vim before, how could you go back and adapt to slow editors again, like VS Code?


Calling VS Code a slow editor seems like a bold choice. Keep in mind that speed is mainly a function of familiarity. I'm not 100% there with Vim -- I'm not even probably 20% there -- and so my progress and productivity are a bit slow. Sometimes I just need to bust something out and get it done, and, since I'm used to GUI's and clicking things, I can still get a lot done that way, fairly quickly.

While I'd love to do more things and be more productive in Vim, right now, I'm most productive in VS Code, especially for largeish projects.


That's fair! I mean you're right! I didn't mean to be that aggressive on that opinion... and it's really true that, once you're used to any editor of your choice, the compete result will come faster than if you've used another editor that you're not so comfortable...

My point was kinda about my own experience of having to wait for considerable seconds when opening large files or multiple files, and some delays when you try to use these modern editors VSCODE/Atom/Sublime with some features like linters etc...

I think that in the end, it's better to invest a little bit of time on vim in the beginning than having to deal with that delays from those editors for ... (I don't know how long)..


Yeah, that makes sense. You can't beat the productivity and keyboardiness of Vim, especially for editing config files and small scripts and projects. I'll have to keep working at it to get good enough to do larger projects with it.

If you haven't tried VS Code in a while, consider giving it a go, as it's gotten significantly faster.

Thanks for the advice!


Thanks for the tip, although i don't have any issues in VS atm, this will help later on! :D


I actually use this that much, that I request a file to do it automagicly. You can read it here:

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