Two Visual Studio Code Plugins that Improve Code Functionality

CodeMash 2020

I love seeing how developers use their tools on a daily basis, which is why I tend to pay attention to how people do what they do and what tools they use to accomplish their tasks. While attending CodeMash in January 2020 in Sandusky, Ohio, there were two Visual Studio Code plugins that stood out to me. I wanted to take a couple of minutes to do a brief video demo of some of the basic functionality they offer. 

The first Visual Studio Code plugin is Quokka.js, a live scratchpad/playground for JavaScript and TypeScript. This tool can be used to prove out ideas and work with known data sets and provides live results while working. For example, a user can console.log() the current state of variables to get a sense of how certain functions/methods can be applied.

For me, Quokka.js has been a great tool for playing around with known data sets. In most cases, it is easier to drop the data in a Quokka.js file and get live results than to try something, upload it, go back through a testing scenario, and debug the results. Quokka.js gives me a way to see what works best from both a results and performance standpoint before testing the full feature in a live environment. 

The second Visual Studio Code plugin is REST Client, an HTTP Request, GraphQL Query, and cURL Command tool. REST Client provides a quick, easy way to make API calls and queries from within the VS Code interface. After submitting a request, the results are visually displayed in a new tab next to the original request.

Traditionally, I’d use Postman for testing API calls. However, for simple tests or just trying to spin up to new endpoints and confirm they’re working, the REST Client extension is great. Based on the documentation, this tool looks like it can handle some pretty complex scenarios and I look forward to trying them out. 

Since being introduced to these developer tools at CodeMash, I’ve been using them rather frequently and really enjoy the functionality and capabilities offered by both tools.

Watch the video demo below:

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