Visual Studio Code Extensions Roundup May 2016

May 4, 2016 by Wade Anderson, @waderyan_

The Visual Studio Code Extension Marketplace does a great job of highlighting Featured, Most Popular and Newly Added extensions and we encourage you to browse the site to see what's new and what plug-ins other developers are using. In our extension roundups, we like to call out extensions that we've found interesting and useful.

If you are new to VS Code extensions, check out the docs for instructions on finding and installing new extensions.

Debugger for Edge by Microsoft JS Diagnostics

Install: From within Visual Studio Code, you can use Quick Open (⌘P (Windows, Linux Ctrl+P)) and paste ext install debugger-for-edge then press Enter.

The same folks who created the very popular Debugger for Chrome extension have published Debugger for Edge for the Microsoft Edge browser. They were able to reuse the same debugger using the Chrome Debugger protocol. You can learn more about the details in their recent blog post.

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Visual Studio April 2016 Release

May 9, 2016 by The VS Code Team, @code

Today we are releasing the April 2016 build of Visual Studio Code. This is our first monthly release after our 1.0 announcement last month and we really appreciate your support and feedback.

With this release, we're bringing many improvements to your development experience:

Developer Workflow

Quickly resize panes by double-clicking editor borders Reopen the last closed file using ⇧⌘T (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+T) Launch your favorite shell when opening a new Terminal from the Explorer or Command Palette


Improved stepping performance when inspecting very large strings or arrays Support for deep call stacks Node.js improvements such as experimental "smart" code stepping, ES6 type support in Watch, Locals, etc.

Extension Authoring

Language Server protocol 2.0 is now consistent with core VS Code API Automated test support for authoring Debug Adapters New APIs for working with folders and JSON files

Please see our Release Notes for the full list of features and fixes.

If you have automatic updates turned on (OS X and Windows) then you'll get prompted soon. Otherwise, download VS Code today!

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Visual Studio Code Extensions using CodeLens

February 12, 2016 Wade Anderson, @waderyan_

CodeLens is a popular feature in Visual Studio Code. The essence of the feature is "actionable contextual information interspersed" in your source code. That's quite a mouthful. Let me break it down for you.

CodeLens are links in your code:

Actionable - You can click on the link and something happens. Contextual - The links are close to the code they are representing. Interspersed - The links located throughout your source code.

animation showing CodeLens

VS Code comes with CodeLens for TypeScript. You can enable it in User Settings with "typescript.referencesCodeLens.enabled": true.

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Natalie Rusk's Scratch Coding Cards (No Starch Press)

The phrase "Learn to Program One Card at a Time" plays the role of subtitle and friendly invitation from Scratch Coding Cards, a colorful collection of activities that introduce children to creative coding.

Developed by Natalie Rusk, research scientist in the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, the resource consists of illustrated activity cards that provide a playful entry point into Scratch, the graphical programming language used by millions of children around the world. The cards make it easy for kids to learn how to create a variety of interactive projects, such as a racing game, an animated interactive story, a virtual pet and much more.

Each card features step-by-step instructions for beginners to start coding. The front of the card shows an activity kids can do with Scratch, such as animating a character or keeping score in a game. The back shows how to snap together blocks of code to make the projects come to life. Along the way, kids learn key coding concepts, such as sequencing, conditionals and variables. Publisher No Starch Press recommends the coding activity cards for sharing among small groups in homes, schools and after-school programs.

Original author: James Gray
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Own Your DNS Data

I honestly think most people simply are unaware of how much personal data they leak on a daily basis as they use their computers. Even if they have some inkling along those lines, I still imagine many think of the data they leak only in terms of individual facts, such as their name or where they ate lunch. What many people don't realize is how revealing all of those individual, innocent facts are when they are combined, filtered and analyzed.

Cell-phone metadata (who you called, who called you, the length of the call and what time the call happened) falls under this category, as do all of the search queries you enter on the Internet.

For this article, I discuss a common but often overlooked source of data that is far too revealing: your DNS data. You see, although you may give an awful lot of personal marketing data to Google with every search query you type, that still doesn't capture all of the sites you visit outside Google searches either directly, via RSS readers or via links your friends send you. That's why the implementation of Google's free DNS service on and is so genius—search queries are revealing, but when you capture all of someone's DNS traffic, you get the complete picture of every site they visit on the Internet and beyond that, even every non-Web service (e-mail, FTP, P2P traffic and VoIP), provided that the service uses hostnames instead of IP addresses.

Let me back up a bit. DNS is one of the core services that runs on the Internet, and its job is to convert a hostname, like, into an IP address, such as Without DNS, the Internet as we know it today would cease to function, because basically every site we visit in a Web browser, and indeed, just about every service we use on the Internet, we get to via its hostname and not its IP. That said, the only way we actually can reach a host on the Internet is via its IP address, so when you decide to visit a site, its hostname is converted into an IP address to which your browser then opens up a connection. Note that via DNS caching and TTL (Time To Live) settings, you may not have to send out a DNS query every time you visit a site. All the same, these days TTLs are short enough (often ranging between one minute to an hour or two—'s TTL is 30 minutes) that if I captured all your DNS traffic for a day, I'd be able to tell you every Web site you visited along with the first time that day you visited it. If the TTL is short enough, I probably could tell you every time you went there.

Most people tend to use whatever DNS servers they have been provided. On a corporate network, you are likely to get a set of DNS servers over DHCP when you connect to the network. This is important because many corporate networks have internal resources and internal hostnames that you would be able to resolve only if you talked to an internal name server.

Original author: Kyle Rankin
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Debug information
Total SQL queries executed by: 213
Before application load usage: 2MB
After application load usage: 6MB



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