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As if you needed another reason not to use Visual Studio, C++ extension for Visual Studio Code is live


Microsoft has shunted the C++ extension for Visual Studio Code to general availability.

The Reg took it for the compulsory “Hello World!” spin in Windows 10 to see how it worked and found it quite delightful (if C++ is your thing). IntelliSense and code formatting is present and correct, as is semantic colouring to show when a variable is being used outside of scope. Code formatting and navigation also works as expected.

The C++ formatting settings familiar to Visual Studio users has been brought over and support for EditorConfig is built into the extension, permitting the creation of some truly grotesque combinations by the adventurous.

The version 1.0 release has been a while coming, and although it has been possible to type in C++ source using VS Code as an editor, the experience has not always been the best. Therefore this extension is a bit of a milestone for Microsoft, even though it continues to be a little sniffy about Windows on Arm.

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Linux on Arm and Arm64? No problem: “Version 1.0 of the C++ extension brings a first-class development experience for Linux on Arm and Arm64,” exclaimed the company. Windows on Arm, on the other hand, will have to wait until October’s update.

Still, that Linux-on-Arm support means it is now possible to develop C++ apps on the Raspberry Pi using VS Code.

The extension can be found lurking in the marketplace, as can an extension pack that adds the likes of CMake, LiveShare, and the soon-to-be-axed Visual Studio Codespaces.

Available on Windows, macOS and Linux, the extension is due for some relatively quick-fire updates, having tipped over into General Availability. Version 1.1 might hit by the end of next month, with Windows on Arm64 to delight users of Microsoft’s Surface Pro X flagship. (We must say that after our “Hello World!” experiment, we’d be happier to see a speed bump for syntax checking.) Version 1.2 could well arrive by the end of the year.

Overall, the extension is a good addition to the VS Code toolbox and one that will be welcomed by those coding in C++. It also adds to the list of excuses not to pop into its venerable stablemate, Visual Studio. ®



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