Should I enable Auto Save in VSCode?
I worked on another developer’s machine yesterday and they were using the auto-save feature in their editor. This threw me off completely, and had me questioning a fundamental truth I’ve had of needing to save files while developing software. 😱
I learned of the auto save feature in VSCode and I'm surprisingly hesitant of enabling it.— Pavneet Singh Saund 🙌 (@pavsaund) October 11, 2019
I’ve decided to experiment with the auto save feature on, but first I wanted to dissect WHY I’m so skeptical, and what I could potentially gain. Here’s a brain-dump.
Why am I skeptical of auto save while coding? 🤨
- What are the consequences of triggering the watchers with every change?
- Memory / cpu battery life?
- I tend to leave things in a mess when refactoring sometimes, and I wonder if that will lead to more noise vs signal?
- more distracted by things failing
- I want to be explicit about when I’m ready to “commit” a change to disk with the save-feature.
- I tend to have WIP as unsaved files as a very convenient feature
- Sometimes I do changes before committing the previous ones - it’s good then to be able to go bac, commit the saved changes, then save the new changes (more control)
- Old habits die hard
- Introducing a new source of friction (by removing friction) 🤷🏾♂️
What I could potentially gain:
- I instinctively press CMD + S WAY too often during a work day
- Saving keystrokes is a bonus
- Knowing I’m always working on the latest bits while developing
- It’s how I expect document editors to work by default (but they tend to commit on every save as well, leaving a changelog to navigate)
- Avoid Errors while working where a file isn’t saved - Oh, the number of times this has happened
- Remove an entire layer of doubt and cognitive load from my day-to-day workflow
- Am I really working on the latest bits?
- Encourage smaller changes because it saves and triggers build / errors at faster
- Remove edge-cases when I typo and press CMD + Q/W (Quit, Close Window)
To be Continued
Am I over-analyzing this? Perhaps. But it’s because I had this strong reaction I want to understand, experiment, and learn.
So, I’m now turning on auto save in VSCode. Let’s see how this goes.