VS Code gets a big update: Plays nice with MacOS Gatekeeper plus lots of new features

Microsoft's cross-platform code editor, Visual Studio Code, gains a host of productivity and usability improvements.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has added a bunch of new features to its popular open-source Visual Studio Code code-editing tool for Windows, Linux, and Mac. 

The latest update for VS Code version 1.43 includes Search Editors, a Settings Sync preview, and support for the Orca screen reader on Linux. It also offers a macOS build that has been notarized by Apple, eliminating a macOS security warning about the software.

The new Search Editors feature allows for search results to be displayed in a tab instead of the sidebar. It displays results in a full-sized editor with syntax highlighting and contextual lines. 

Users can type Search Editor: Open New Search Editor command, or use the Open New Search Editor button at the top of the Search view to open a new Search Editor. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF)

VS Code users on macOS Catalina and newer should no longer see Apple's Gatekeeper security warning over software that hasn't been notarized. Since June 2019, macOS users have been complaining about the security message, which warns that VS Code "can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software".

The update includes improvements for remote development extensions that support the use of a container, remote machine, or the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as a full-featured development environment. 

Users can open remote workspaces via protocol links. There's also support for Windows and macOS SSH hosts, while SSH connection sharing is on by default. Microsoft has also made improvements for Docker container support on WSL and VS Code. 

Microsoft has a detailed overview of how the Docker Desktop works and how to use the Docker extension for VS Code. Users need Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18975 or later for WSL 2, Ubuntu, the Remote - WSL extension for VS Code, and the Docker Desktop WSL 2 Technical Preview.         

Users on the VS Code preview 1.44.0 Insider release can also try out Microsoft's new Settings Sync feature, which allows VS Code settings, extensions, and keyboard shortcuts to be synced across machines. Microsoft has a support page explaining how to enable the feature

"You can now have your preferences synchronized in all your VS Code installs across all your machines. You can also bootstrap VS Code with your personal preferences on a fresh machine with minimal effort," Microsoft explains. 

The feature requires the user to log in to a Microsoft account for synchronization of settings across devices. However, this can be an Outlook, Azure or GitHub account. 

The sync feature also flags conflicts when synchronizing settings between machines, giving users the choice between accepting the local or remote setting. Users can also preview conflicts by selecting Show Conflicts.

SEE: Microsoft's VS Code Python programming language extension gets this new update

Microsoft highlights that it has made progress on its new JavaScript debugger extension with the introduction of an option to pretty-print files. 

On the JavaScript debugging front, VS Code gains support for launching its new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. Users need to change the debug type from 'chrome' to or 'pwa-chrome' to 'pwa-msedge'.

It also brings support for Microsoft Edge WebView2, which lets users host web content in an application using Chromium-based Edge as the rendering engine. 

Microsoft lists a ton of other fixes and improvements in this release in its February update post for VS Code


This is a search for the word 'SearchEditor' with two lines of text before and after the match for context.  

Image: Microsoft

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