There isn’t much support for Python in Microsoft new code editor Visual Studio Code (VSCode), but there is a neat way to run your Python code right inside VSCode. It’s a feature called tasks and while the examples give are for compiling code, you can pretty much just run any program against the code you are editing in VSCode.

Tasks

So let’s dive in and set-up a task that runs the traditional "Hello World!" program within VSCode. In Python this is print "Hello World!".

First go and open up VSCode on an empty folder via the menu steps File -> Open Folder. The do Ctrl+Shift+P, then Configure Task and press Enter. This will create a folder called .settings and a file called tasks.json where you will configure your task. Comment out the first example task and put the following Python task at the top of the file and save it.

// Run the current file through Python
{
	"version": "0.1.0",
	
	// The Python command
	"command": "python",
	
	// Windows Python command
	"windows": {
		"command": "python.exe"
	},
	
	// Show the output window only if unrecognized errors occur. 
	"showOutput": "always",
	
	// args is the HelloWorld program to compile.
	"args": ["${file}"]
}

To run the task you can simply do Ctrl+Shift+B, as you’ve only defined one task for this folder. If you put another task at the top of the settings file then that task will be run. If you need to select a task do Ctrl+Shift+P, type Run Tasks, select python and press Enter.

You can find out more about tasks in VSCode here.

Result

The result of all this is that you now can run a python script and have the output displayed next to the code, as shown below.

Running Python within VSCode

I’ve only played with VSCode for a little while, but it seems solid and friendly. Hopefully support for more languages will be coming soon, but at least you can run any compiler or interpreter against your code using tasks.