You’ve probably heard of them. They’re the text editors that real programmers use. The powerful tools that will boost your productivity into outer space if you can ever master them.
I’m talking about Emacs and Vim.
Perhaps that isn’t the way you’ve seen these two text editors presented, but when I first heard about them, I had this perception that I absolutely had to use them if I wanted to be a cool and competent programmer. They were said to have a huge learning curve yet to offer equivalently incredible editing power. I had to learn how to use at least one of them!
So are these editors worth the learning investment they present?
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The new version of Visual Studio Code from September’s development cycle is out now. The ample list of improvements, which includes macOS touchbar integration, regular expression highlighting, and a smarter process for extracting methods, also includes a behind-the-scenes overhaul of the integrated terminal renderer. The update claims to improve performance of the integrated terminal by 5 to 45 times over the previous version and abolishes forced frame skipping. Admittedly, I hadn’t noticed any issues or slowdown myself. But, as the update states, the newer renderer will at the very least be lighter on your laptop’s battery.
The VS Code team accomplished the performance improvements by migrating away from a memory-intensive DOM design to a single HTML Canvas element. Apparently, the old design invoked a sizable amount of garbage collection due to the number of elements being managed by the layout engine, while the new approach allows for more direct drawing via the one canvas element. Additionally, instead of re-drawing the terminal in its entirety after every change, the new renderer only draws the areas that have changed between frames.
More details can be found in the official update.