VS Code in colleges and universities

Pros and Cons of using VS Code in teaching C and C++ courses in colleges and universities

Posted on Posted in Blogs, Technology

Recently I came across a question on Quora on why turboC is still used in colleges and universities across India. To be honest, it is ridiculous to still use turboC in 2018. We have so many new dev tools which offers improved coding experience and is uniform among different operating systems. The solution is to replace turboC in windows and other editors in linux(for uniformity across operating system in the learning process) by using VS Code in colleges and universities.

Pros of using VS Code in colleges and universities:

The main reason of using Turbo C was that it was convenient. Actually the most convenient. People already use windows OS and everybody joins college with a basic idea of doing things in windows. In windows you just click buttons and softwares are set up according to your best convenience. Turbo C is no different.

But its 2018. Things have changed. Now we have editors that behave like IDEs. Softwares that work uniformly in all major operating systems. I think college/university administration should take initiative in modernizing their courses/labs.

The major pros of using VS Code in colleges and universities are:

  1. Its uniform throughout operating systems. You’ll have the same setup for windows, mac or linux. Students won’t find any difficulty learning if lab uses linux and they have windows machines at home.
  2. Windows user can still double click and install without any inconvenience. Download GCC from ‘minGW’ and VS Code from microsoft site. Double click and install.
  3. VS Code has integrated terminal from where you can compile and run the programs (same for all OSs). If students find it difficult to use cmd prompt commands, they can download gitbash which will give them the same bash terminal as on linux machines.
  4. VS code almost behaves like an IDE. You have intellisense and code highlighting and overall better coding experience than outdated IDEs like Turbo C.
  5. It is free and open sourced. It is easily available for download and has frequents updates to make it better. It is backed by microsoft and used by a huge community of open source developers who provides a lot of extensions for extended functionality.



Cons of using VS Code in colleges and universities:

Every piece of software has some disadvantages depending on the user and use cases. Some disadvantages of using VS Code at a very basic beginner level may be:

  1. It is a relatively new code editor. The teachers in colleges and universities don’t often engage in software development. So they might not be familiar with latest softwares in the market. This may hinder their teaching process.
  2. Intellisense offers too much help while coding. Learning process is often aided by confronting mistakes. But by using VS Code, most of the syntax errors will be bypassed.
  3. The vast range of features might be overwhelming for beginners. A simple C program might not need version control or debugging.

But these disadvantages can be easily rectified. VS Code is very simple for teachers to learn how to use. Syntax errors are anyway corrected in all industry-used code editors or IDEs. And you don’t have to use debugger or version control if you don’t want to.



Moreover you can write most of the programming languages in VS Code, be it java or html/css or any other. So you need not change your tools while transitioning from course to course throughout your education, or the transition from a student to a professional.



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