Some of you may have been wondering what has happened to Mike and even Chris, why such a long hiatus? There is no single reason or easy explanation other than life. Let’s just say various life challenges converged.
As part of tackling life’s challenges, I’ve been looking at ways to be more productive with my daily work routine. One tool which I use daily, and I do mean daily is VSCode. VSCode is Microsoft’s free open-source integrated development environment (IDE). What makes the tool so addictive and useful is the community around extensions. Extensions are nifty ways for the developer to add and customise the VSCode experience with things like themes, icons to new services opening up limitless customisation possibilities for the developer and Salesforce for that matter!
Salesforce a few years back announced they would no longer be supporting Eclipse and the force.com IDE, and started the migration to VSCode. Steadily this shift has evolved and matured. Hence the title of this blog post!
Here we go – starting with the most obvious extension of the pack
1.) Salesforce Extensions for Visual Studio Code
What does it do? – It makes interacting with our beloved Salesforce Platform a breeze. It allows you to work with all the programmatic metadata types like Apex Class, Apex Triggers, Aura and Lightning Web Components. Diving into the Developer Console to run tests was and a pain in the you know what. Salesforce Extensions allows you to quickly run all test and debug from right within VSCode! How cool is that?
Lastly, it’s always and still is difficult to get at all of your metadata which is where “Org Browser” comes in handy for interacting with all the different types of metadata.
Hey, nothing speaks productivity more than elegant code comments reminding your peers and you what the hell this class was designed to do… This extension adds a layer of consistency which only a computer can provide – this will inject perfect comments for you into Class and methods, leaving you only to fill in WHAT!
3.) Apex PMD
What’s worse than no comments in code? Trying to debug code which is overly complex and fall of anti-patterns.
Apex PMD is like your own personal Code Guru, analysing your code as you type. Important to note though it cannot write the code for you nor a substitute for learning, it can indicate when you start to veer off the happy path towards spaghetti hell.
32K Salesforce developers think this extension can help, nobody can argue with that.
4.) Apex Code Coverage Visualiser
Sometimes when you spend a lot of time coding, nothing jumps out more than some bright visuals confirming something as dry as Apex Code Coverage.
This is the last Salesforce centric extension before we head into non-Salesforce extensions. Rounding out our Salesforce productivity-boosting extensions, this one is a recent addition to my VSCode setup. When I start a new project, after setting my password and logging in, the next thing I do is authenticate that org with the Salesforce cli. I do this so I can leverage sfdx cli open org command which opens that Org in the currently focused Chrome Window. Nothing is more frustrating than fumbling about trying to remember your user name and password.
The extension really shines with it’s Org Info panel when you open an authenticate Org you get a wealth of information about the connected Org.
We promised 10, so the next 5 extensions are general VSCode Extensions.
Other than your programme language of choice, the most other popular language (syntax) in the developer world is markdown. All code can benefit from a well written README – this extension smooths out the process of creating and maintaining markdown!
7.) Live Server
Spinning up a local Web Server can be difficult, this gives you an instant local Web Server with a single click. If you have an HTML page or similar in focus within VSCode – hit Go Live and it will pop open a browser session for you.
Salesforce TIP – Live Server can help you easily test and build external Embedded Chat Widget solutions
8.) Edit CSV
Like it says on the tin “Edit CSV”, these days it’s easy to interact with Salesforce data using a suite of cli commands, perform queries and dumping the results out to CSV. For all the those quick data edits, now it’s easy to edit directly within VSCode!
9.) Bash Beautify
One of the significant benefits of VSCode is it has Terminal baked right into the IDE, it’s easy to pop open Terminal and execute commands. Once you move past novice level with the cli, you start thinking along these lines… I keep running these same commands how can I run these all at once – Hello BASH scripting, yep more code, but opens the door to some serious automation and huge productivity gains for developer. Now what If VSCode just took you script bashing and made it look beautiful – of course it still may not work, but it sure would look pretty!
Rounding out the post; and sticking with our consistent theme here – which is all about being productivity while looking good!!!
And Peacock is no exception to that, bringing a warm rainbow of colours to your different VSCode workspaces. Peacock adds just about the right amount of colour to the common beloved dark theme and making these dark times for all of us, seem well a lot less dark!
Hopefully this post brights up your day and boosts your VSCode productivity – have a great week!
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