Visual Studio Code update emphasises audio cues, Activity Bar

Visual Studio Code update emphasises audio cues, Activity Bar

The upgrade also cites Python coding via extension and says goodbye to Windows 32 support.

The latest release of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor features more audio cues, customisable Activity Bar positioning, and coding improvements to the Python extension.

VS Code 1.84, also known as the October 2023 release, was published November 1. It can be downloaded for Windows, Linux, or Mac at the Visual Studio Code website. Highlighted in this release are more audio cues for accessibility. When audioCues.clear is enabled, a sound indicates that the terminal, a notification, or the chat responses have been cleared. For files and notebooks, and audioCues.format can be set to play on user gestures or always for each event. When disabled, an ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Application) alert is used instead and can be customised with accessibility.alert.format and

Also in Version 1.84, Activity Bar customisability means developers now can move the bar to the top of the Side Bar. When the Activity Bar is placed on the top, buttons for Accounts and Manage are moved to the Title Bar to the far right. This is supported only when the custom Title Bar is enabled. Users also now are able to hide editor Tabs by setting workbench.editor.showTabs to none. Other showTabs options are multiple (default) and single to show a single editor Tab for the active editor. A new View. Toggle Maximise Editor Group (Ctrl+K Ctrl+M) command maximises an editor group. All other groups will be hidden and a button is added to the Tab bar, letting the user restore the previous layout. If the setting workbench.editor.doubleClickTabToToggleEditorGroupSise is set to maximise, users can double-click an editor Tab to maximise and unmaximise the editor group.

VS Code 1.84 follows last month’s VS Code 1.83 release, which emphasised command discovery. Also in VS Code 1.84 :

  • The Python extension has improved the behaviour of sending lines to the Python REPL (Shift-Enter) when no code has been selected to run. Previously, when developers placed the cursor on a line of Python code and pressed Shift-Enter, the extension would send the exact line content to the REPL, even if it failed. A new experimental Smart Send feature has the extension send the smallest block of runnable code surrounding the cursor position to the REPL for execution. This ensures that only complete and executable sections of code are sent to the REPL. The cursor will be moved to the next executable line to offer a smooth experience when executing multiple chunks iteratively. Currently, this behaviour is behind an experiment but is expected to be the default in the future. To try it, developers can add the following User settings: “python.experiments.Optinto:.
  • Windows 32-bit support has ended. Developers should update to the 64-bit version of VS Code.
  • The Gradle for Java extension has been improved, with a prerelease version offering better support for building Gradle projects thanks to the adoption of the Build Server Protocol (BSP), which provides an abstraction layer between development environments and build tools such as Gradle. The Extension Pack for Java also is needed to try out Gradle support.
  • A preview of the GitHub Copilot Chat extension’s inline chat now can make progressive text edits and “type” at the rate at which a response is being received.

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