How I Write My Code

When I first started writing HTML in 1995, there weren’t any code editors that I knew about or had access to. So, I wrote my code in a plain text editor like Notepad. Since I was creating small websites with only a few pages, and there were not external resources like CSS or JavaScript, everything that appeared on a page was contained in a single file – anyone else remember designing layouts with tables? (R.I.P. Geocities)

In school, I learned (to hate) Dreamweaver. It amazes me that it continues to be used to teach web design & development, even though it’s never used to build real websites or applications. I guess it’s not the worst way to learn now, because you can instantly preview the code you are typing.

But, to me, that feature alone doesn’t make it worth the space it takes up on my hard drive, especially when I can just use my code editor and keep a browser open in a split screen view (then use Node.js to automatically update the browser when I save my work).

What About Now

Over the years I have tinkered with various code editors, like Sublime Text and Atom. But finally, like many others, I have settled on Visual Studio Code. It’s free, open-source, and runs on all platforms. It also has some really cool extensions that makes it really convenient for what I’m doing.


I have a few customizations, but I try to keep things relatively simple and as minimalist as possible. I can’t really handle full dark mode (I’ve heard having an astigmatism could be part of the problem for me), so I am using a modified version by Wes Bos called Cobalt2 Theme Official. It’s still a type of dark mode, but a little easier on my eyes.

I’m also using ESLint and Prettier to debug JavaScript.

Lastly, I recently saw this tip on Twitter to move the sidebar from the left to the right side, which feels more ergonomic to me. Also, when you hide/unhide the sidebar, it’s doesn’t shift your code, which is a small detail but can when I’m trying to adjust my eyes as little as possible, every little bit helps.