Adventures in Machine Learning

Mastering Visual Studio Code for Productive Python Development

Mastering the Visual Studio Code User Interface

Visual Studio Code is a popular integrated development environment (IDE) for coding, debugging, and testing software. It is an open-source platform that provides developers with a rich set of features that can enhance their workflow.

In this article, we will be discussing how to master the Visual Studio Code User Interface.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are a critical part of mastering Visual Studio Code. They allow developers to perform tasks quickly and efficiently.

Visual Studio Code comes with several default shortcuts, but users can also configure their own keyboard shortcuts using the

Keyboard Shortcuts editor. To open the

Keyboard Shortcuts editor, use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + K” followed by “Ctrl + S”.

Customizing the User Interface

The Visual Studio Code interface can be customized to suit individual preferences. The Activity Bar, located on the left-hand side of the screen, contains various icons that provide access to different features, such as Explorer, Search, and Source Control.

Users can also configure their screen to have split screens and activate Zen Mode, which hides all menus, toolbars, and Activity Bar. The Visual Studio Code interface can also be themed.

Users can choose from several pre-installed themes, or they can install and use custom third-party ones. Additionally, the platform offers programming fonts that can make code easier to read and understand.

Some of the popular programming fonts for Visual Studio Code are Menlo, Fira Code, and Consolas.

Setting Up Your Terminal

The terminal is a critical feature in Visual Studio Code as it allows developers to interact with their code and run scripts and other commands. The platform comes with a default shell provider, but users can also configure their terminal profiles and choose a different shell provider.

They can also set up virtual environment activation, which allows a specific virtual environment to be activated whenever a project is opened.

Linting and Formatting

Linting and formatting are two critical features in Visual Studio Code that help developers maintain high-quality code. Linting checks for code errors, while formatting ensures that code adheres to a specific style.

The following are the steps involved in setting up Pylance, formatting, and linting on save, and testing your Python code in Visual Studio Code.

Setting Up Pylance

Pylance is the Python Language Server used in Visual Studio Code for linting and formatting. To set up Pylance, users need to install the Python extension for Visual Studio Code and then install the Pylance extension.

Once installed, users will be able to see any errors and warnings in their Python code.

Setting Format and Lint on Save

To set up formatting and linting on save, users need to open the settings UI and search for “Format On Save” and “Lint On Save.” These options will automatically format and lint your code whenever you save your file, saving you time and ensuring that errors are caught early in the development process.

Testing Your Python Code in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code allows users to test their Python code within the same environment in which they develop it. Users can set breakpoints, debug their code, and step through it line by line to ensure that their code is working as intended.

Additionally, Visual Studio Code includes a test runner that supports pytest, unittest, and doctest.


Visual Studio Code is a powerful IDE that can help developers improve their workflow and improve their code’s quality. Mastering its user interface, keyboard shortcuts, and features like

Linting and Formatting can significantly enhance productivity.

By utilizing the tips and tricks discussed in this article, developers can gain mastery over Visual Studio Code, streamline their coding process, and produce high-quality software.

Configuring Test Integration

Testing is an integral part of software development, and configuring test integration is essential to ensure that code is working as it should. In this article, we will discuss how to execute tests, use the Visual Studio Code tasks system, create tasks, compile wheels, debug Django projects, chain tasks, and run Tox using the tasks system.

Executing Tests

Running tests in Visual Studio Code is straightforward. You can execute tests in several ways – using the command palette, the editor context menu, or keyboard shortcuts.

The most efficient way is to use keyboard shortcuts. By default, the keyboard shortcuts for running tests are “Ctrl + Shift + R” on Windows and “Cmd + Shift + R” on macOS.

These shortcuts will execute the currently selected test file.

Using the Visual Studio Code Tasks System

Visual Studio Code’s Task system can help automate many tasks, including running tests, compiling wheels, and using tox. It allows developers to define tasks that execute scripts, compile code, and run tests without leaving the IDE.

The task system is flexible and can be used for any programming language.

Creating Tasks

To create tasks, go to the “Tasks” menu and select “Configure Tasks.” From there, select “Create tasks.json file from template.” This will provide a list of templates from which you can create a new task. Once you have selected a template, you can customize the task to suit your needs.

Using Tasks to Compile Wheels

You can use the task system in Visual Studio Code to automatically compile wheels. To do this, you will need to create a new task that executes the script that compiles the wheel.

You can then configure the task to run automatically every time you save your code or manually by executing the task from the task list.

Using Tasks for Django

Visual Studio Code’s task system can be used for debugging Django projects. You can use it to run development servers, run migrations, and execute management commands.

To do this, you will need to create a new task that executes the Django management command.

Chaining Tasks

Chaining tasks in Visual Studio Code allows you to specify dependencies between tasks. This ensures that a dependent task is executed before the task that requires it.

You can chain tasks by adding the “dependsOn” property to a task.

Using Tasks to Run Tox

Tox is a popular tool for running tests and managing virtual environments. You can use Visual Studio Code’s task system to run Tox and activate your virtual environment.

To do this, you will need to create a new task that executes the Tox command and activates the virtual environment.

Debugging Your Python Scripts in Visual Studio Code

Debugging is an essential part of software development. Visual Studio Code provides excellent debugging support for Python scripts.

In this section, we will discuss how to set watches, configure a launch file, and use the debugger effectively.

Setting Watches

Setting watches allows you to inspect variables and expressions at runtime. To set a watch, you can right-click on a variable in the code editor and select “Add to watches.” Alternatively, you can navigate to the debug console and enter the variable or expression you want to watch.

Configuring a Launch File

A launch file is a configuration file that specifies how to start debugging a particular script. To create a new launch file, go to the debug view, click on the gear icon, and select “Add Configuration.” From there, you can select the type of configuration you want to create.

Once you have created a launch file, you can modify it to suit your needs.

Using the Debugger Effectively

The Visual Studio Code debugger provides several features to help you debug your code efficiently. You can set breakpoints, step through code, and view call stacks.

It also includes several extensions that provide additional functionality, such as debugging Jupyter notebooks, Django templates, and remote code.


Configuring test integration and debugging are essential parts of software development. In this article, we have discussed how to use Visual Studio Code’s task system to automate tasks, compile wheels, and debug Django projects.

We also discussed how to set watches, configure a launch file, and use the debugger effectively. By mastering these features, developers can enhance their workflow, save time, and improve the quality of their code.

Mastering Remote Development

Remote development is an incredibly useful feature provided by Visual Studio Code that lets developers work on remote machines as if they are working locally. The platform supports several remote development options, including containers, SSH, and WSL.

In this article, we will discuss how to use these methods efficiently.

Remote Development With Containers

Containers are becoming increasingly popular as a way to package and distribute applications. Visual Studio Code supports developing in a containerized environment and provides extension support for


To develop remotely using containers, you need to have

Docker installed on your machine. You can then use the platform to develop, build, and debug your code.

Remote Development With SSH

Developers can also use SSH to connect to remote machines and work on code. The Visual Studio Code remote development extension for SSH allows easy remote development using SSH.

Users can effectively use SSH to connect remote servers and work on code as if they are working locally. Using Visual Studio Code with SSH eliminates the need to have a locally installed development environment, saving disk space.

Remote Development With WSL

Windows Subsystem for Linux or WSL is an efficient method for remote development in Visual Studio Code. It provides a native Linux environment on Windows machines, which developers can use to work on code.

WSL is integrated with Visual Studio Code, and users can use the platform to debug in VS Code as if it is a native Windows application.

Working With Data Science Tools

Visual Studio Code has become increasingly popular with data scientists who use it to work on data science projects. The platform supports several features that make working with data science tools, including Jupyter Notebooks, pandas, and CSV files, more efficient.

Installing the Jupyter Notebook Extension

Jupyter Notebooks are an open-source web application that enables users to create and share documents containing live code, equations, visualizations, and narrative text. Installing the Jupyter Notebook extension in Visual Studio Code provides developers with a variety of Jupyter-related functionalities, allowing them to create Jupyter notebooks, execute cells, and access kernel environments.

Getting Started with Jupyter Notebooks in VS Code

After installing the Jupyter Notebook extension, developers can create a new Jupyter Notebook in Visual Studio Code. They can use the code editor to write code in cells and add Markdown text to document the code.

Once the notebook is ready, developers can execute the code cells and view the outputs inside the notebook.

Using the Data Viewer

Pandas is a popular data analysis library, and Visual Studio Code provides integration with it. Developers can view data frames in the Visual Studio Code data viewer, which provides features like filtering, sorting, and grouping.

The data viewer also allows users to quickly visualize data frames using plots.

Using the Rainbow CSV Extension

The Rainbow CSV extension for Visual Studio Code makes working with CSV files more manageable by colorizing columns based on their content. It enables developers to view data better, making it easy to spot inconsistencies and outliers.

The extension also supports faster loading times for large CSV files, making it more convenient to work with CSV files in Visual Studio Code.


Remote development is an excellent feature that makes working with remote servers more efficient. In addition to that, Visual Studio Code provides developers with data science tools, including Jupyter Notebooks, Pandas, and CSV files, that make working with data more comfortable and efficient.

By mastering the functionality of Visual Studio Code, data scientists and developers can enhance their workflow and improve the efficiency of their projects.

Adding Bonus Extensions to Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a popular and versatile code editor that has a wide range of extensions that can improve productivity and make coding more comfortable. In addition to the essential extensions for Python development, like Pylance and Python, developers can also use a range of other extensions to make their coding experience more enjoyable.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best bonus extensions that developers can add to Visual Studio Code.

Code Spell Checker

Coding involves a lot of writing, and it is essential to ensure that the code and comments are free from spelling mistakes. The

Code Spell Checker extension provides developers with a real-time spell-checking feature for their code.

It can detect spelling errors in English, German, and many other languages.


Docker is a containerization platform that enables developers to deploy applications quickly and efficiently. The

Docker extension for Visual Studio Code allows developers to manage

Dockerfiles, containers, and images without leaving the IDE.

The extension provides commands for common

Docker tasks and enables developers to build, run, and debug containers inside Visual Studio Code.

Thunder Client

Developers have to test and debug REST-based APIs regularly. The

Thunder Client extension provides developers with an efficient way to test REST-based APIs. It has an intuitive UI that enables developers to send HTTP requests, set headers, parameters, and preview responses.

VS Code Pets

Working on complicated coding assignments for extended periods can be stressful and overwhelming. The

VS Code Pets extension brings some humor and fun to programming.

The extension displays a small animated pet in the lower-left corner of Visual Studio Code and responds to user interaction with a variety of fun animations.


In conclusion, developers can improve their productivity and add some fun to their coding experience by using bonus extensions in Visual Studio Code. The

Code Spell Checker extension can help developers produce error-free and professional-looking code, the

Docker extension can simplify container management, and the

Thunder Client extension can help with testing and debugging REST-based APIs. Lastly, the

VS Code Pets extension can bring some humor and relief to programming.

By incorporating these bonus extensions, developers can enhance their coding experience and continue to work on their projects productively. Visual Studio Code is a powerful and versatile platform for Python development that offers a range of features and extensions to streamline coding workflows.

This article discussed how to master the Visual Studio Code user interface, configure test integration and remote development, work with data science tools, and add bonus extensions to enhance productivity. By mastering these tools and extensions, developers can more effectively produce code that is free of errors, test REST-based APIs, containerize applications, and connect to remote servers.

Visual Studio Code is an invaluable resource for any Python developer, and its features and extensions make it a must-have tool for productivity.

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