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Cover image for Building a VSCode Extension: Part One

Building a VSCode Extension: Part One

Corey O'Donnell
Husband | Father | Always Learning | Love for Plants
Originally published at codebycorey.com ・Updated on ・2 min read

I have been looking for a fun side project to work on in my free time. Building projects is the best way to actually improve your skills as a developer. I decided that I will try to document my journey publicly to help share my thoughts and decisions.

What am I going to build?

I have been spending a good amount of time working on my time management. Managing my daily tasks has been something I needed to improve. I currently write down what I plan to do for the day in a notebook. Notebooks are nice but it makes it difficult to organize the tasks besides by date and order. How can I dynamically group them by project, adjust priority as my day changes, roll them over to the next day without having to rewrite them? I decided to create a task manager built into VSCode.

I am sure there are other extensions that already do this but that is not the point. The plan is to use this as a learning experience and build something specifically for me. I get to determine what features are important and how they tie into my workflow.

Problems I am solving

  • I spend most of my day with VSCode open on my computer as a Programmer. It would be nice to have all my tasks for my projects in one place.
  • I want to have a board similar to Trello where I could easily click and drag to move tasks between statuses and adjust priorities.
  • Most of my daily notes are Markdown in a repository. Having the ability to link my notes through wiki links using something like Foam would be a plus.

Thinking through the Tech Stack

The tech stack I plan on using:

  • TypeScript
    • Vscode's API already uses it.
  • ReactJS
    • It might be a little overkill but why not.
  • Tailwind CSS
    • I want to easily be able to style the webview and I love using utility classes for styles.
  • Markdown
    • I already take my notes in Markdown and it would make it easier integrating with foam.
    • GitHub Markdown has a task like syntax I could utilize and then you are not forced to use the extension to manage your tasks.

Resources I will be using

Discussion (19)

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mjgs profile image
Mark Smith

Hi Corey - nice idea, I built something similar a few days ago, curious to see how your Vscode version turns out.

Here’s mine:

dev.to/mjgs/eleventy-blog-template...

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Awesome, I'll check it out.

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CodingCoop

Looking forward to following this! I been wanting to make an extension to show KintoHub related services running in the cloud within VSCode.

ZERO experience on VSCode extensions, so definitely looking forward to this series!

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Corey O'Donnell Author

I have zero experience with it also.

It's a learning experience for me. I hope that I help someone else by learning in public.

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Nepali Lab

Looks like a fun project. I've never seen someone build a VS Code extension. This is great.

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Yeah, I am pretty excited. I am hoping that sharing this journey might help someone else.

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kulu123z profile image
KULDIP MOCHI

yeah, you are saying right, It helps us

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Michael • Edited

Hi I recently wrote my first extension as well and so put together resources around what I learnt.

Here are some links to docs and sample repos. I also cover some more exporting and publishing

michaelcurrin.github.io/dev-cheats...

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Jens Genberg

I just had an idea to write my first VS Code extension based on my Github hackathon idea, so this is very good timing! :)

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Nice, hopefully everything I share can help you with your journey.

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justlearner505 profile image
omaro grant

This sounds awesome cant wait to see it. I never made an extension before so i'm pumped about this project.

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Awesome. I hope everything I share will help you!

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Jorawar Singh Nijjar

Looks like nice plan! Good Luck.

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Thank you!

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deveshlashkari profile image
Devesh Lashkari

Great! Best of luck.

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Thank you! Will be a fun experience.

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TheOnlyBeardedBeast

Add beautifuld dnd from atlassian and you have it done in one day

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Corey O'Donnell Author

Thanks, I just looked into it and that package looks like a good fit.

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Harshana Serasinghe

Amazing. Looking forward for the next part of the tutorial. Good Luck :)