Whether you’re learning your first steps in programming or you’re an experienced developer, you’ll be learning a lot of code. A good code editor is a must, but the options for the Raspberry Pi are limited.
Visual Studio Code is a free integrated development environment (IDE) for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This is not available for Raspberry Pi. However, since it’s open source, anyone can compile a version.
Below you will learn how to install Code-OSS, a community compiled version of VS Code, on your Raspberry Pi.
Why do I need an IDE?
The Raspbian Stretch Operating System (OS) comes with several code editors already installed. You may be wondering why install another one?
Code-OSS is based on VS Code and is more than just a code editor. Most IDEs have built-in explorers for managing entire project folders rather than individual scripts. Many support code completion and have built-in terminals for code testing. Some also support version control and dependency management for packages.
In short, IDEs make your life easier. Exactly what you choose is a personal preference.
Why install Code-OSS?
All these reasons why IDEs are great? Code-OSS can make them. Because it’s essentially a fully functional version of VS Code under a different name, it probably has the most features of any coding tool currently available on the Pi.
This doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The Pi suffers from its success, and older Pi models may experience performance issues when using Code-OSS. This tutorial uses a Raspberry Pi 3B+ that runs the program without any problems.
Why not install VS Code?
Given the fact that Code-OSS is the same as VS Code maintained by Microsoft, why not just install VS Code?
There is currently no official release of VS Code for ARM devices such as the Raspberry Pi. While this may change in the future, Code-OSS is your best bet for now!
How to get an OSS code
Code-OSS created by Jay Rogers is available on his popular GitHub page.
It also maintains a website with installation instructions. To continue, you will need to open both of these sites in a browser along with a terminal window.
Installing a GPG key
Installing Code-OSS for Pi currently requires additional steps that are not listed on the website. Scroll down to the Linux section and look under » Manual installation» .
Here you will find a link to GPG public key . Use this key in the terminal with the following command:
wget -o - https://packagecloud.io/headmelted/codebuilds/gpgkey| sudo apt-key add -
Pay attention to the distance as it needs to be done right! This command downloads the key that is part of the Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG) and adds it to your system. This does not install Code-OSS, it just ensures that when you download the program, it will install correctly.