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Popular Python Data Science Platform Anaconda Now Shipping with Microsoft VS Code

| by Tim Hodkinson Follow 12 Followers on Mar 04, 2018. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Release 5.1 of Anaconda, the data science and machine learning platform, now includes Visual Studio Code as an IDE. This is part of a wider collaborative effort between Anaconda Inc. and Microsoft.

Anaconda is a distribution of the R and Python languages aimed at data scientists. It bundles language runtimes, utilities and tools in one distribution managed by its own package management system, called conda. The Anaconda distribution is open source, although Anaconda Inc., the company behind the distribution, also offers a commercial Enterprise product. According to their website, Anaconda has over 6 million users.

Since its first release in 2015, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code (better known as VS Code) has continued to evolve from a code editor that supports a handful of core programming languages to one for editing literally hundreds. Late in 2017 Microsoft displayed an intent in increase its investment in Python support by hiring Don Jayamanne, the developer who created the most popular Python extension for VS Code. They also took over the extension project and hired more Python developers to work on it. The Python extension has become the most popular extension in the VS Code marketplace with almost 7 million downloads to date.

The Python language itself has seen a remarkable rise in popularity as a programming language, particularly for those working in the area of data science. Anaconda has now announced that it will include VS Code as an IDE, alongside the existing options of Spyder, Jupyter Notebook and others.

This is just one move in a much closer collaboration which will see further sharing of products. Anaconda, Inc. and Microsoft announced in September that the two companies are partnering to create a subset of the Anaconda distribution that is available on Windows, MacOS and Linux which they are calling "Anaconda for Microsoft". This product will initially be included in Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Machine Learning Server, Visual Studio and SQL Server. A key capability it will introduce for SQL Server is the ability to run Python code inside the database meaning the data no longer needs to be exported before processing with Python.

For data scientists who use R rather than Python, Anaconda will make the Microsoft R Open packages available by default to users of Anaconda’s R Essentials package. Visual Studio Code, R Client and R Tools for Visual Studio Code will be added to the Anaconda Navigator, a component used to negotiate the Anaconda ecosystem. Anaconda Inc. will also offer a range of support options for Anaconda for Microsoft.

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