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C# Dev Kit for Visual Studio Code

Microsoft has introduced the C# Dev Kit, a new extension to Visual Studio Code, offering an enhanced C# development environment for Linux, macOS and Windows. This kit, combined with the C# extension, uses an open-source Language Server Protocol (LSP) host to provide an efficient and configurable environment. The source repository for the extension is currently being migrated and will be available later this week.

The C# Dev Kit brings familiar concepts from Visual Studio to make VS Code programming in C# more productive and reliable. It includes a collection of VS Code extensions that work together to provide a comprehensive C# editing environment that includes artificial intelligence-based programming, solution management and integrated testing. The C# extension provides language services, while the C# Dev Kit extension builds on the Visual Studio foundation for solution management, templates and debugging testing. Moreover, the optional IntelliCode for C# Dev Kit extension provides the editor with programming capabilities based on artificial intelligence.


This tool streamlines project management in C# programming by adding a Solution Explorer view that integrates with the VS Code workspace. It allows developers to effortlessly add projects and files to their solutions using templates. The extension simplifies the organisation of tests for XUnit, NUnit, MSTest and bUnit, displaying them in the Test Explorer panel. The C# Dev Kit, based on the open source C# extension with LSP (Language Server Protocol) host, provides exceptional performance and integrates with Roslyn and Razor for advanced features such as IntelliSense, navigation and code formatting.

In addition, the IntelliCode for C# Dev Kit extension, which is installed automatically, provides AI-assisted support beyond the basic IntelliSense technology. It offers advanced IntelliCode features such as whole-line completion and starred suggestions, prioritising frequently used options in the IntelliSense completion list based on the personal codebase. With the C# Dev Kit, users can experience increased performance and reliability not only when programming, but also when managing solutions, debugging and testing.

By installing the C# Dev Kit extension, users of the VS Code C# extension (supported by OmniSharp) can upgrade to the latest pre-release version compatible with the C# Dev Kit, as explained in the documentation.

The following question was raised under this post on Microsoft's website: 

Does this enable creating solutions from scratch as well, or does it still require an initial dotnet new console and open folder? It is been a while since I last checked VS Code out, but that has been bugging me every time to create a new solution. 

Tim Hueuer, a principal product manager at Microsoft, answered: 

If you have no folder open (blank workspace) you’ll see the ability to create a project from there. I can’t paste a picture here in the comments but there is a button on a workspace with no folder open that says “Create .NET Project” that will launch the template picker with additional questions of where to create it.

Additionally, Leslie Richardson, a product manager at Microsoft, added that further information about the solution explorer experience in VS Code can be found here

As the C# Dev Kit follows the same basic principles as Visual Studio for some features, it adopts an identical approach to licensing. It is therefore available free of charge to individuals, academia, and open-source developers under the same terms and conditions that apply to the Visual Studio community. For organisations, the C# Dev Kit is included with Visual Studio Professional and Enterprise subscriptions, as well as GitHub Codespaces.

Overall, the tool gets positive feedback from the community. Users see a significant improvement in using Visual Studio Code to code in C#.

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