Visual Studio Code adds extension bisect to find out what’s troubling you

The housekeeping session at Microsoft continued in November as it ironed out 5242 Visual Studio Code issues, paving the way to release v1.52 of the open source editor.

Aside from the end of year clean up, the VSC team worked on the IDE’s usability, for example fitting the integrated file explorer with undo and redo functionality for all file operations – a handy thing should you accidentally use the wrong shortcut. Operations taking unusually long will signal they’re still in progress via a status bar now, though there’s also an initial implementation for a cancelling option. And if you really need all the views to be open, scrollbars will appear to let you get to the information you’re looking for. 

Developers who like their windows restored when opening the development environment – no matter if they’re opening a project file or just start the programme – can use a new setting in window.restoreWindows to enforce such a behaviour. VS Code will also preserve the Source Control view state across sessions, meaning that collapsed trees will stay that way after relaunching.

Git users should inspect the new additions to the Git command palette, which now includes cherry pick, rename, push tags, and checkout to (detached). They’ll also receive a nudge to save unsaved files before attempting to stash changes, and get to play with a variety of new settings which help with things like ignoring changes in submodules, controlling what refs are shown on checkout, and following tags when synchronising. 

When tabs are disabled, VSC 1.52 adds file path information for better orientation should you have opened a diff via the source control view. The diff editor can now support word wrapping in both the inline and side-by-side displaying for a better overview.

IntelliSense has become a little smarter as well, now offering word suggestions based on other open files in instances where no language service is available or can’t help because you’re, for example, writing a comment. On the topic of spaces vs tabs, VSC now comes with a editor.stickyTabStops setting which “makes VS Code treat cursor movements in leading spaces similar to tabs”.

The VS Code team also worked on the Keyboard Shortcuts editor, which now allows configuring a keybinding for Command Palette commands via the Configure Keybinding gear, and introduced a new feature to help users find out if an extension is causing buggy behaviour. 

This so-called Extension Bisect can be found in the Help section of the tool and guides developers through the process of disabling extensions and turning them back on again. After each reload the tool checks if the issue is still there, and ends in a prompt to report the problem once it has been resolved.