VS Code updated with test coverage API, fixed floating windows, TypeScript 5.4 and more

VS Code updated with test coverage API, fixed floating windows, TypeScript 5.4 and more

Microsoft has released an update to Visual Studio Code, now built on Electron 28, with hundreds of changes, including fixes to floating windows, completion of the test coverage API, and TypeScript 5.4 built-in.

Floating windows were a long-requested feature for VS Code and eventually implemented in December last year, though with some limitations. This release includes significant improvements, with support for custom editors and “all editors that use the webview API”, according to the release notes. This means that markdown preview and browser preview now work, among other things. Since this is what most users would expect, it is perhaps better described as a fix than a new feature – though it has been challenging to implement.

Another change relates to remote development with VS Code, among its most popular features. A common complaint though is repeated password prompts when connected. Microsoft states that it has been reworking how remote development over SSH is implemented, and that the new “exec server” is now the default. Users should not see any changes – except perhaps fewer password prompts, noted as one of the improvements.

Users connecting to older Linux versions such as Amazon Linux 2 will have spotted that VS Code complains that it is now unsupported. Despite its aged kernel (5.10), Amazon Linux 2, for example, is supported by AWS until June 2025. VS Code now has a separate download for “extended support distros” such as this, though the FAQ still refers to February 2025 as the last supported date, to allow time to migrate to a more recent distro.

The test coverage API, which has been under development since 2021, has now been finalized. This API brings native support for coverage, identifying which lines of code are exercised by unit tests and which are not. This only works if the test runner supports it, though both Java and Node.js already have runners that work. Now that the API is finalized this should become standard – bringing the features of VS Code closer to that of full-featured IDEs.

Dragging images into Markdown files now creates image or link syntax automatically, a handy feature for document authors.

TypeScript 5.4 is included in this version of VS Code, said to bring improved type checking and IntelliSense as well as bug fixes. 

 Users of GitHub Copilot, which requires a subscription, get a new feature in preview: inline chat in the VS Code terminal. One use case is for questions that relate to the entire project rather than a specific code file, such as the example given: “List the top 5 largest files in the src directory.”

This is another big release from the VS Code team, and there are more changes in language-specific extensions such as those for Python and Jupyter notebooks.