Code Quality Per Language Settings in Visual Studio Code

In previous posts, I’ve talked a bit about Visual Studio Code, and though I’ve tried a variety of other editors, I keep coming back to this particular IDE.

An IDE For WordPresss Development: Visual Studio Code

Over time, it’s matured quite a bit, continues to do so, and allows plenty of customization especially for those of us working in PHP, Sass, JavaScript, and, more generally speaking, WordPress.

If you use any linters, though, you’ll find that one of the things each will talk about is the amount of whitespace that should exist before a given line of code.

So if you’re using Visual Studio Code, these are the extensions and the settings I recommend for making sure your code is up to par with whatever code quality tools you’re using.

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How To Set Up JavaScript linting in Visual Studio Code

I’m obviously a big fan of using coding standards whenever you’re writing server-side code (regardless of it being WordPress, PSR2, or whatever else – as long as you’re using something, I think it’s a good thing).

But when it comes to writing client-side code, namely JavaScript for this post, we don’t see it discussed as much though I think of it as being as equally important. Same goes for CSS, Sass, or LESS, but that’s content for another post.

For recent projects, we’ve been using Airbnb JavaScript Style guide for our projects. I’m a fan and think it helps to write clean, readable JavaScript (that looks as if it’s been written by the same person – the ultimate goal of coding standards, right?).

JavaScript linting in Visual Studio Code: Airbnb Styleguide

In this post, I’ll walk through the process of getting it setup in Visual Studio Code.

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Installing PHPUnit in Visual Studio Code

Once you’ve got the PHP Coding Standards set up in Visual Studio Code, I think it’s also important to make sure that you have PHPUnit installed so that you get in the practice of writing testable code.

If you wait to start doing this until after you’ve started a project, you’re far less likely to start doing it. I’m saying this both from experience and from working with other developers.

So before I start covering how to handle front-end linting and things like that, I want to walk through the process of setting up PHPUnit. If you’ve not yet read how we’re managing packages or how we’re using Visual Studio Code, I recommend catching up by reading the following articles:

  1. A WordPress Development Environment (Using a Package Manager)
  2. An IDE for WordPress Development
  3. Working with User Settings in Visual Studio Code

Once you’re caught up, head back to this post.

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Using PHP Coding Standards in Visual Studio Code

So we’ve got the basics set up in Visual Studio Code set up, but we don’t have any practical tools installed to help us with more of the professional side of writing code.

Of course, “professional” can be defined based on the company, team, or environment in which you’re working. For this series, I’ve opted to go with WordPress as the foundation. But that still leaves things such as:

  • coding standards,
  • JavaScript linting,
  • package management,
  • And so on.

And throughout the series, I’m going to cover everything listed above. But to do so, I’m going to cover each component one-by-one.

Today’s post is going to focus on the PHP coding standards. I’ve written plenty of material regarding the WordPress Coding Standards, but in the last year or more, I’ve begun to work more with PSR, and so that’s what will be covered in this post.

As a side note, know that much of what is covered can be translated to the WordPress Coding Standards should you so choose, and it’s going to be clear as to where you’d make the changes.

With that said, let’s get started.

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Working with User Settings in Visual Studio Code

If you’ve not read last weeks post (and you’re a member of the site), then I urge you to do so now as this one picks up exactly where the previous one left off.

In short, we’re going to start talking about configuring Visual Studio Code for professional WordPress development. Of course, that raises a question: What is professional WordPress development?

If you ask ten different people, you’ll probably get 8-10 different answers; however, I’d define it as using professional software development practices within the context of WordPress.

Naturally, right? But what does this entail?

Off the top of my head, I think of:

  • Using proper dependency management tools such as Composer, NPM or Yarn,
  • Debugging using breakpoints (over var_dump and echo),
  • Knowing how to format code using a given standard (PSR in the case that I’ll be using),
  • File organizational structure,
  • Using things like Sass, JavaScript linting, and so on to ease development

But before getting into all of that, I think it’s important to get the IDE set up in such a way that looks good, plays well with the way that we want, and that we understand how it works so we can further tweak it as the need arises.

So in today’s post, we’re going to look at exactly that: Understanding how Visual Studio Code manages settings and a proposed list of configuration options that will help make your experience as solid as possible.

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