There are countless ways to install a programming language on your system. Beginners are struggling to find the best solution, but oftentimes, all they need is one clear tutorial.

Beginners should not be struggling with these questions:

  • Do I need to use nvm or node-v12.18.1-x64.msi to install Node.js?
  • Do I need to install Python 2 or Python 3? Should I use Anaconda?
  • What's the difference between OpenJDK and Oracle Java? Do I need Java 8 or 11?

I wanted to provide a curated list of opinionated installation tutorials for beginners, so they can focus on learning and not wasting time on their setups.

What it does

Polyglot Hello World provides a simple interface for beginners to find simple installation guide for a programming language of their choice.

How I built it

VSCode API allows extensions to create persistent status bar items. Polyglot Hello World extension provides a clickable button in the status bar which provides links to each programming language's installation guide & hello world tutorial.

Challenges I ran into

There are support for only three languages: Python, Javascript and Rust. I would love to provide information about other popular languages like Java and C, but I don't know any beginner friendly way to setup VSCode for those languages. I usually depend on VSCode dev containers for those situations, but I thought beginners would have hard time understanding how to manage Docker containers in their systems.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

My initial plan was to build a Heroku integration for VSCode. After having conversation with fellow hackers, I acknowledged that Heroku integration is probably not an extension a beginner would want to install. The community was really helpful during the initial idea pitching process, and getting feedback from people outside of my team was a great experience. I think the discussion I had with MLH hackers is more satisfying than actual implementation process this time.

What I learned

Although VSCode is my code editor of choice, this was my first time learning & using VSCode API. I am glad that I now know how flexible the editor is, and it is exciting how I can easily add functionalities to my tools. VSCode extensions API reminds me of emacs experience, but with typescript. I have tried to use emacs as my daily text editor few years ago, and I loved the flexibility & customizability of the program. However, emacs was extremely difficult to configure it just the way I wanted it to be, so I switched over to VSCode for the developer experience where everything "just works". It is funny how I am amused by VSCode's customizability again.

What's next for Polyglot Hello World

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