VS Code - A Developer`s Penknife

development tools vs code extensions

I’ve recently started working in a financial organisation, and as a result, I’m working in a very locked down environment. Which means no NotePad++, no Git Extensions, or any of my favourite utilities. But what I do have is VS Code. So how can I use VS Code to replace NotePad++ and my other go-to tools?


Generally, I use NotePad++ for occasional text editing, and in the past for any serious regex work. VS Code can easily deal with text editing (though the way it seems to associate random text files with your open workspace is annoying).

For regular expressions, VS Code uses the simpler JavaScript regex flavour, while NotePad++ uses the Boost C++ regex library. However, you can configure VS Code to use the PCRE regex library, which gives it regex capabilities almost at a par with NotePad++.

I rarely do much serious regex work thees days, and then mainly using PowerShell scripts (written in VS Code), so the lack or regex parity isn’t as important as it used to be.

Git Extensions

In the past I mainly used Git Extensions to manage my Git repositories, as I liked it visualisation features, and the fact that I could use it both for projects in Visual Studio and VS Code. However, after trying a few different Git extensions for VS Code, (Git Blame, Git History), I am now all in on GitLens, as it offers me all the features I require in one extension (file history, line by line blame).

For projects in Visual Studio, I would use the built-in Git client for check-ins, etc, but for more advanced features (comparing branches or commits, viewing a branch or file history), I would tend to open the project in a new VS Code instance as well as in Visual Studio.


I love the PureText utility, as it allows me to copy text between windows without any extra formatting. To copy text from VS Code without the rich formatting it includes by default, we can set the editor.copyWithSyntaxHighlighting setting to false, as described in this GitHub issue.

Addendum [18/03/2023]

Forgot to mention, this is all great… until the powers that be decide to lockdown VS Code extensions in the same way that browser extensions are now being locked in corporate environments. At the minute, I can’t see a way of enforcing this in VS Code (other than possibly asking developers to install a company specific extension pack?), but it will eventually appear, as far too many extensions are little more than wrappers around third party web services that can leak corporate data.

Visual Studio Extensions

development tools visual studio

VS Code Extensions

development tools vs code