VS Code Extensions that I Used to Teach Programming
“The teacher’s life is an endless journey of learning…”
I think this phrase defines a teacher’s life well. I faced several challenges during the time when I taught programming content at the University. From the beginning, I adopted the Visual Studio Code (VS Code) as the standard IDE in my classes. VS Code is a multiplatform IDE that allows you to code in almost any language. Besides, it has several extensions for the most diverse purposes, helping a lot during the day-to-day coding process.
Many of these extensions can significantly assist both the teacher and the programming student. The following is a list of extensions that I use daily in my projects/classes. As the universe of VS Code extensions is continuously growing, it may be that some recent extension is left out of the list (relative to the date of publication of this article).
The List — First Part: Essential Extensions
An important reminder: the purpose is to introduce the extensions that assist during the coding process. Since each teacher can use a different language to teach the same subject, I will not mention specific language extensions. For example, I have taught a subject in two languages: Python and C.
The first part shows the extensions that I will think are essential for any project developed in VS Code.
- Code Runner
This extension allows you to run and edit different programming languages. This extension aims to facilitate the writing and testing of scripts and algorithms, executing them instantly. Access this link for more information.
This extension is essential for anyone who uses GitHub to store projects. The extension integrates VS Code with GitHub, making it easier to collaborate and share your code with other developers. I use this extension a lot because I create a repository for each discipline I teach. Thus, students can have access to codes made in the class whenever they want. Access this link for more information.
Note: it is also interesting to install the GitHub Pull Requests extension.
- Markdown All in One
Markdown files are usually used to create the famous readme’s. This extension facilitates to use markdown files because it provides shortcut keys, table creation, automatic preview, and other functions for these files. I use these files to create project documentation during my classes. It’s really come in handy. Access this link for more information.
This extension is not so essential, but it makes your VS Code very pretty. This extension is responsible for deploying icons according to his kind. It helps a lot in projects that have many different types of files. Access this link for more information.
- Path Intellisense
Path Intellisense is a plug-in that autocompletes filenames. This extension avoids overwriting the code by completing the file paths. Access this link for more information.
The List — Second Part: Helping in your Class
The second part of this list is focused on extensions that make it easier (and a lot) during my programming classes. So, let’s see them.
- Bracket Pair Colorizer
It’s really cool! This extension basically allows the brackets to be identified by colors. It is also possible to configure which color patterns are used for the characters. This extension fits like a glove for those who code in languages that need to use many parentheses and square brackets, besides making the code cute. This helps students (and professors, too) to identify the parentheses corresponding to each expression.
- Draw.io Integration
I think most of you, dear readers, know and use Draw.io. For those who don’t know: Draw.io is an editing tool that allows you to create drawings, graphics, flowcharts, etc. There is an extension that enables the integration of this tool with the VS Code. I use this tool in my classes when I need some graphic representation, be it a flowchart, a model, … This tool helps a lot mainly for those who teach online classes.
Note: this extension is not the official Draw.io extension.
- LaTeX Workshop
LaTeX is a high-quality document composition system. It is possible to create technical and scientific documents with greater productivity using LaTeX.
It is a widespread system in the academic environment (mainly in the IT areas), and it has been increasing the number of followers. VS Code has an extension that allows the creation of documents in LaTeX. I use this extension a lot to create exercise lists, project requirements documents, etc. Setting up this extension is not that simple.
Note: I already made an article explaining how to install it. This link provides access to that text.
The Notes extension allows the insertion of highlightings for notes files. Besides, it is possible to create notation files with cross-link and more elaborate TODO’s. This extension has been come in handy during the development of programs for distance classes. The student can follow the development step by step through these notation files. Access this link for more information.
- TODO Highlight
This extension has a simple but really cool purpose. It inserts highlights for TODO and FIXME words in annotation files and in code comments. Access this link for more information.
These are the extensions of the VS Code that I use most during my classes. As I said earlier, VS Code extensions are an ever-expanding universe, so I may have missed some essential extensions. Put it in the comments if you know any legal extension of VS Code to be used in programming classes.
Thanks for your attention, my friends. 🖖🏻