VS Code Docs View

The Docs View extension for VS Code displays documentation for the symbol at your current cursor position in the sidebar or panel.


Docs in a view

Docs in a view

The extension was inspired by my recent quality time with Xcode. While learning new iOS APIs, I enjoyed always having their documentation displayed in a large pane to the right of my editor. And since I have now exhausted my supply of nice things to say about Xcode, we shall leave the subject at that (although it should be noted that both Eclipse and VS have had similar documentation style views for years).

The extension uses the new Webview View API that I recently added to VS Code. This API allows extensions to show arbitrary html content in the sidebar and panel. Besides Docs View, the API is also already being used for real time profiling and pull request reviews. Neat!

Docs View supports any language that offers IntelliSense and hovers. It can either augment or change your workflow. I personally still mostly use hovers while coding, only breaking out the Docs View for reading longer documentation or browsing complex type signatures. I also sometimes use the Docs View’s “pin” command to pin documentation for a particular API that I know I will keep coming back to reference.

If you find that you prefer always using the Docs View though, you can even disable VS Code’s hovers by setting "editor.hover.enabled": false. Try dragging the Docs View down into the panel too, which I find requires less eye movement on large displays. Or hey, why not even move the panel to the right for some proper Xcode vibes?

VS Code with a side of docs (thanks to the 'View: Move Panel Right' command).

VS Code with a side of docs (thanks to the ‘View: Move Panel Right’ command).

So try out Docs View extension and see if it’s for you. Even if you don’t use it all the time, it can still be a handy tool to have around.