With Microsoft’s release of Visual Studio Code 1.54, the open source code editor now runs natively on Apple Silicon computers.

Published March 4 and dubbed the February 2021 release, Visual Studio Code 1.54 features stable Apple Silicon builds. Apple Silicon was introduced by Apple last year as an ARM-based CPU to replace Intel CPUs in Mac computers.

Developers on Macs with M1 chips now can use Visual Studio Code without needing emulation via the Rosetta translation environment. Users will notice improved performance and longer battery life, Microsoft noted. The default download of Visual Studio Code for MacOS now is a universal build running natively on all Macs. 

Visual Studio Code is Microsoft’s streamlined code editor supporting operations such as debugging, task running, and version control. It is based on the Electron framework for developing cross-platform desktop applications in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. 

Visual Studio Code can be downloaded from visualstudio.com. Other capabilities in Visual Studio Code 1.54, which follows last month’s Visual Studio Code 1.53 release, include:

  • Better performance on Windows, thanks to a new terminal process layout expected to benefit Windows the most. Also, word navigation on Windows has been improved, aligning to what screen readers on Windows expect from an Electron-based application. When using word navigation, each word will be properly read out by the screen reader.
  • Improving accessibility, all toolbars in the workbench now follow standard navigation behavior. The toolbar now occupies only a single position in the tab order and can be navigated with arrow keys.
  • Local processes now are restored on window reload, such as when an extension install needs reloading.
  • Changes can be compared across Git history timeline entries.
  • Content in HTML and CSS can be fined-tuned to not show documentation from MDN and not show the link to the MDN page.
  • Notebooks now automatically reload when their file changes on disk and when there are no unsaved changes. This is expected to make it simpler to work with notebooks under version control.
  • The editor is now built using the nightly build of TypeScript 4.3.
  • An update to Visual Studio Code 1.54, dubbed version 1.54.1, was released to address an issue with extension dependency pertaining into the Jupyter extension.

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