I'm Burke. Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft, creator of the site vscodecandothat.com and co-host of the YouTube show "Five Things". Ask me anything!

Hi there, Hashnode! My name is Burke Holland and I just shoved the entirety of my life's work into the title of this AMA. Maybe they can put it on my tombstone. Minus the "Ask me anything".

So what do you want to talk about? VS Code? The not-so-glamorous life of a Developer Advocate? The time I ate Goo Goo Clusters with Jessie Frazelle? I am here to answer any and all of your questions, so ask me some tough ones. You know, the ones you want to ask, but never do. Ask THOSE questions. What could go wrong?

Comments (20)

Jos Fabre's photo

Hi, great thing doing this AMA.

Now that I've switched from Atom to Code a couple of months ago, I have the idea that Code is getting a lot of attention and (justly) praise lately.

Is that just me in my new shiny Code bubble (seeing red VW's everywhere now that I drive one myself)? Or is there an eleborate Code campaign running?

Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

Hey! My first question. Hi Jos!

I think the question is "why is Code so popular? Is MSFT running a big Code campaign"?

I would say that Code is popular for two reasons...

1) Out of the box support for TypeScript 2) It's gorgeous extensibility model

TypeScript has now matched React in terms of downloads on npm and 46% of npm users are using TypeScript (source: twitter.com/lisaychuang/status/110296313926..)

The ease of extension creation means that there are just so many and for virtually anything that you might want. Even ordering pizza. What other editor has a pizza ordering extension?

marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Ipseeta Priyadarshini's photo

Hey Burke! Thanks for doing the AMA.

What are the must have VSCode plugins you can't live without? ☺️

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Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

Hi Ipseeta!

I should probably put together a list of all the extensions I have installed, but here are my faves...

C# marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Copy Markdown as HTML marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Debugger for Chrome marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Docker marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Encode/Decode marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

ESLint marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Prettier marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Gist marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

GitLens marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Hop Light (light editor theme - you knew it was coming) marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Image Preview marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Material Icons marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Quokka marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Toggle Format On Save marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

VS Live Share marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Vue Power Pack (this one contains a bunch of other neat extensions and I'm doing a lot of Vue these days) marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

I also work on Azure a LOT, so I find the Azure extensions to be just the best thing in the whole world.

App Service marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Cosmos DB marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Azure Storage marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Azure Functions marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName..

Whew! That was a lot of links. But.....hopefully there are a few in there you didn't know about. I left out all the ones I have installed, but don't use. That list is the stuff I use on the daily.

Thanks for the question!

Milica Maksimović's photo

Hey Burke, thanks for the AMA!

What does your average day at work look like?

Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

Hi Milica! Great question, let me see if I can answer it without rambling myself into a ditch.

I work remotely (from home), so I generally start at around 7:00 and go to around 5:00. I find that I am most productive first thing in the morning and then after 3:00 PM. In between is a lot of meetings and other interruptions that make it hard to stay focused.

First thing in the morning is a time for working on whatever I really want to get done - blog post, demo, talk I'm working on - ect. I work on that until around 10 AM when everyone starts to come online and then a lot of my time gets sucked up with meetings and communication. Since a lot of us are remote, we tend to overcommunicate with each other to stay connected.

I eat lunch at my desk and then go for a jog around 2 in the afternoon. From 3 to 5 I'm back focused again and I've shut all my chat programs down.

That's pretty much it, unless I'm traveling and speaking at conferences. In that case, I sleep until the last possible moment and then wallow in anxiety in my room about my talk.

Jill Castro's photo

Hi Burke,

Thanks for doing this AMA. I have seen most of your videos on YouTube. How are you so confident and energetic in all of them? What do you eat at breakfast?

I am serious! 😀

Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

Hi Jill!

I did notice that your question was first yesterday. I don't have a prize for you, but you can tell everyone you know that you were first and I will verify that you WERE.

My energy comes from Goo Goo Clusters. Lots and lots of Goo Goo Clusters.

When we are filming, I am "on". Meaning it is a performance to a degree. I am not that chipper in real life all the time. And being on like that for extended periods is exhausting. We film 4 - 6 of these things in one day. The last time we filmed, I was in bed by 5 PM. That might have been a Goo Goo Cluster overdose though.

I do get quite intimidated when I talk to certain people - especially if they are extremely high profile. But the camera is sort of an equalizer. People are uncomfortable when the camera is on. They aren't sure how to act, where to put there hands, where to look - ect. So the awkwardness of being together on camera is sort of a bonding thing that helps me be less afraid that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Nanda Nugraha's photo

Hi Burke! Have you ever experienced switching back and forth between vs code dark mode to an app / website that uses light background?

If so, how can you minigate eye strain while jumping between them? For me it's really painful when I already focus on dark background searching for bugs and writing code and suddenly F5 and my eye blinded with a white background of browsers

Using white background in vs code doesn't go well with me because white background usually goes with black text, not colorful text

Anant Kumar's photo

Since developers are calling GraphQL a Rest Killer? Do you think everyone should use it? If not, why?

Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

Ooh! This is a great question!

I think that GraphQL is not a REST killer. It is a REST saver. It shouldn't be the things that replaces your REST API, but rather the thing that sits in front of it and keeps you from having to change it all the time just to get the right data in the right format to your front end. In other words - it's the thing that is going to keep you out of technical debt.

I wrote about this just this week along with some video tutorials for anyone out there who is new to GraphQL like I was and wants to understand how it fits into the applications they have today.

medium.freecodecamp.org/why-graphql-is-the-..

jalpesh vadgama's photo

Hello Burke,

Great to see you on Hashnode. My question is pretty simple. What kind of technology or language you use in your day to day life.

Craig Shoemaker's photo

You have a fun and engaging writing style. What can you share about your writing process?

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Craig Shoemaker's photo

Thanks! I love that Simona asked for more jokes ;)

Milica Maksimović's photo

What does your hardware/software setup look like?

Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

I work on a Mac. That always strikes people as funny since I work at MSFT, but it's not uncommon to see Macs around.

Hardware

  • Macbook Pro i7, 16 gigs
  • Apple Bluetooth Keyboard
  • Magic Mouse
  • 27 inch cinema display
  • Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones (They are the best headphones and I will defend this with my dying breath)
  • Yeti Stereo Microphone
  • Rode Mic Arm
  • M&M dispenser. Late 90's model. Peanut M&M's only.

I have a Uplift Desk standing desk that my wife bought and had a top custom made for me. I don't use the standing feature, but other than that, it's great.

My chair was like 99$ on Amazon. I'm probably going to regret that someday when my back goes out. I'll let you know.

Here's a pic of my desk my work area. I don't know if these comments support Markdown images, but let's give it a go.

desk

Software Probably the usual, but here is what I use most often...

  • VS Code (not Insiders. I'm not a risk taker.)
  • Chrome (i can't quit the devtools)
  • Sketch (best image editing program for Mac. Period.)
  • Slack / Teams (We use both)
  • Outlook for Mac (I love it. Some people don't. They are wrong)
  • Snagit (Buy this. It's worth it. You can easily grab any part of the screen as pic or video and convert to GIF.)
  • Sizeup Window Manager (This tool lets you set a custom window size and I record the screen a lot so I need windows that are EXACTLY 1280 x 720 or what have you)
  • CopyClip (Clipboard manager. Just lets me access my clipboard history, like, indefinitely)
  • Azure Data Studio (for connecting to things like SQL Server, Postgres, what have you)

Sorry I didn't provide links to all of those. I got lazy. I think I need a cheeseburger.

Simon Jaffey's photo

Hey Burke 👋 Apart from VSCode, what other editors are installed in your system? What are the 5 things you hate about VSCode? 😉

Burke Holland's photo

Pretty fly for a bald guy

Hi Simon!

Other editors? What is "other editors"?

I keed.

Uh - let me check and see...

The only other editor I have installed is Visual Studio for Mac and I don't believe I have ever used it.

5 things I hate about VS Code? Do I have to? This is like saying "What are 5 things you hate about your spouse"? Well, there may be some things, but I'm not gonna admit it! 😉