You’ll need a code-friendly text editor. If you already have a strong preference for one in particular, knock yourself out. If not, we have a recommendation.

Visual Studio Code image/svg+xml

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a free, open source editor from Microsoft—but don’t let that scare you. It doesn’t feel the least bit like a lazy port of a Windows product, because it isn’t one. It was built from the ground up to be cross-platform. It’s only two years old, but it’s impressive.

VS Code is particularly well suited for JavaScript development. It has Microsoft’s famous IntelliSense, built-in support for Git, and a variety of extensions to make our lives easier.

We will be using Visual Studio Code in class.

  • vscode-icons shows icons in the sidebar that correspond to the file type.

Other Editors

Atom is a free, open source editor from GitHub. It’s only been around a little longer than Code—about three years—but it’s quickly become a favorite. If you aren’t interested in VS Code, give Atom a chance.

Sublime Text is another popular choice. Many of Atom’s features are borrowed from Sublime Text (which took them from TextMate). Sublime Text is commercial software, although the trial version does not expire. If you like it, consider coughing up the $70.

If you’re used to a full IDE, WebStorm might be more up your alley. Be warned: It’s subscription-based, and is $12.90/month, or $129.00 the first year. You may find that Visual Studio Code has most of the features you need. We’ve never used WebStorm ourselves, so we won’t be much help should you run into trouble.

Dock That Rascal

Whichever editor you use, you’ll use it enough that I recommend keeping it in the Dock as well.

Theme Info

Since I’m always asked, I use the following themes:

  • Code: Oceanic Next Italic
  • Atom: Atom Dark UI theme; Kobalt syntax theme (with some personal customizations)