Front End Development w/ Visual Studio Code

VS Code

VS Code is a lightweight code editor for front-end development. It is cross platform and includes many extensions. I will go over some of the extensions I found very useful as well as some of VS code’s neat features.

Test Drive

Open a project

You can have your project directory layout by simply opening the project folder from VS Code.

Here is an example opening the open source brackets project:


Change indent from tabs to spaces

VS Code by default tries to figure out the formatting based on the file you have open.
If you want to explicitly set this, you can open the settings.json file by going to File > Preferences > Settings, and set it to your preference:

"editor.tabSize": 4
"editor.insertSpaces": true

Multi-line editing

If you have multiple lines of common code, you can hit Alt + Shift + Left click and highlight multiple lines to either delete or write new code.

You can also place the cursors arbitrarily and edit your text (while holding Alt + Shift):


Debugger for Chrome

You can download and install the Chrome Debugger extension here, or install it from within VS Code by hitting Ctrl + Shift + X and searching for ‘Debugger’.

Chrome Debugging Protocol Viewer is the same protocol used by Chrome Dev Tools that allows for tools for debugging.

Here is a guide for getting started using Chrome Debugging with VS Code. It is also necessary to go through the readme docs in github.


Getting the VS Code Chrome debugger to work with Thimble has been a challenge. After I have brackets and Thimble up and running I open localhost:3500 in my Chrome browser – everything is ok.

Then attach to chrome using this launch.config:

        "name": "Attach",
        "type": "chrome",
        "request": "attach",
        "port": 9222,
        "url": "http://localhost:3500/en-US/",
        "webRoot": "${workspaceRoot}/client/en_US/",
        "sourceMaps": true,
        "diagnosticLogging": true,
        "sourceMapPathOverrides": {
            "scripts/*": "${webRoot}/scripts/*"

After trying various webRoot and sourceMapPathOverride settings, I would still see ‘sourceRoot undefined’ in my diagnostic log output:

Paths.scriptParsed: could not resolve to a file under webRoot: c:\github\ It may be external or served directly from the server's memory (and that's OK).
Target userAgent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/56.0.2924.87 Safari/537.36
SourceMap: creating for http://localhost:3500/node_modules/jquery/dist/jquery.min.js
SourceMap: sourceRoot: undefined
SourceMap: sources: ["jquery.js"]
SourceMap: webRoot: c:\github\
SourceMap: no sourceRoot specified, using webRoot + script path dirname: c:\github\\client\en_US\node_modules\jquery\dist
SourceMaps.scriptParsed: http://localhost:3500/node_modules/jquery/dist/jquery.min.js was just loaded and has mapped sources: ["c:\\github\\\\client\\en_US\\node_modules\\jquery\\dist\\jquery.js"]

Debugging example:

I will include some examples of using the remote debugger with the Thimble project, as well as the settings I used to get it working properly.


You can access a PowerShell terminal from VS Code which by default starts in your project directory.

Common Key Bindings

Open Project Folder Ctrl + K, Ctrl + O
Go to Line: Ctrl + G
Move editor left: Ctrl + PgUp
Move editor right: Ctrl + PgDn
Split Editor: Ctrl + \
List Methods: Ctrl + Shift + O
Search for File: Ctrl + E
Search for files: Ctrl + E
Search for text (in current file): Ctrl + F
Search for text (all files in project): Ctrl + Shift + F

More key bindings

Color Themes

Change Color Theme by Clicking File > Preferences > Color Theme. Or Ctrl + K, Ctrl + T.


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