How To Install an External Editor and Code Smarter

BEGIN CODING WITH AN EXTERNAL EDITOR

  • ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME: 30-40 minutes
  • CORE VERSION: 1.0.219
  • SUGGESTED PREREQUISITES: None, but it helps to have basic PC navigation and basic internet browsing knowledge

What will you learn ?

In this tutorial we will install an External Editor ( Visual Studio Code ), the useful plugins, a Source Control Software ( Git with Github Desktop ) and we will make sure that everything's working properly, so that you can begin coding right away !

Tutorial:

Hey there, I'm Gabriele AKA PiousLachance and I will guide you through the steps of this tutorial.


The Downloads

First of all we have a bit of downloading, so open your browser and search the names I'm going to write or just click the link I'll give you ( way easier ) :

  • We need an External Editor to write in Lua , such as Visual Studio Code ( or VS-Code shortened ), which you can download from this page ( https://code.visualstudio.com/ )

(An external editor is something where you can write in programming language with a better graphical UI and with plugins that will help you checking your grammar and even showing you definitions.)

  • We need a source control software to write safer code, because, with this, you can save whenever you want and rollback after making mistakes; the most popular one is Git, of which there are also guides on the Core Documentation, and you can download it from here ( https://git-scm.com/ ).

(A source control software basically will create a “starting state” in a repository ( more on this after ) and will give you the power to commit whenever you want a new “intermediate state” of the script(s) you're writing or let you take one of these states and branch it outwards, making you modify only this branch without touching the others, thus providing a more safer coding, because you'll be able to “roll back” if you make mistakes)

  • We need a place where to store all of our work that isn't just our computer, because sometimes many person will work on the same project, or just because it's safer storing your scripts into a cloud; the solution is GitHub, where you're gonna make your own account and your own first repository ( https://github.com/ ).

  • A really useful tool that will help you understand the source control software and will make everything smoother is GitHub Desktop, which is basically a more advanced graphical UI for Git, that will help a lot, particularly in the beginning, when nothing is making sense yet: you can download it from here ( https://desktop.github.com/ ) or, if you want to search it, remember to click only on the GitHub URL, because there are ADS on the first positions.

  • Lastly we've to check if the Java software you have on your machine is the latest ( or if you downloaded it at all ), so head to the download pages of the Java Jre ( Java Runtime Environment : https://www.java.com/it/ ) and Java Jdk ( Java Development Kit : Java Downloads | Oracle ) and download them.

(To check your Operating System (OS Shortened ) follow these simple instructions (for windows 10):
click on the Windows button on the left down angle -> Settings ( the cog wheel, second from the bottom side tabs )-> System -> Info ( last tab ); here you'll find all the infos on your PC.)


The Installations

  • First of all we will install VS Code, which is pretty straightforward, because the only things you are in need of reviewing are the destination folder and the options on the last page of installation. Nevertheless if you have any problems check the following images ( they're in Italian, but you can still guess what's what )

  • Our next step is installing Git, and that could be a bit more intimidating, but in reality there are next to none things to change from the default ones if you're not someone with Git background already.
    After the first two windows, where there is the agreement to check and the file to use by default with Git, there are almost a dozen windows where you have to check what you want: here you can safely let everything by default if you don't really know what are you doing; here onward there are all the choices

git editor 1 Git Branching 2 Git PATH 3 Git ssh 4 https transport backend 5 line ending conversion 6 terminal emulator 7 Git pull 8 git credential 9 extra options 10 experimental options 11

  • Now install the Jre and Jdk, then the Github Desktop App ( these installations shoudn't give you any problems )

The First Time

  • Before anything else we have to do something that will be needed for the EmmyLua Plugin of VS Code: Set JAVA_HOME; so follow closely:
  1. Locate your Java installation directory; If you didn't change the path during installation, it'll be something like C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_65
    You can also type where java at the command prompt.

  2. Do one of the following:
    Windows 7 – Right click My Computer and select Properties > Advanced
    Windows 8 – Go to Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings
    Windows 10 – Search for Environment Variables then select Edit the system environment variables

  3. Click the Environment Variables button.

  4. Under System Variables, click New.

  5. In the Variable Name field, enter: JAVA_HOME

  6. In the Variable Value field, enter your JDK or JRE installation path .
    If the path contains spaces, use the shortened path name. For example, C:\Progra~1\Java\jdk1.8.0_65
    For Windows users on 64-bit systems
    -Progra~1 = Program Files
    -Progra~2 = Program Files(x86)

  7. Click OK and Apply Changes as prompted

  • You'll need to close and re-open any command windows that were open before you made these changes, as there's no way to reload environment variables from an active command prompt. If the changes don't take effect after reopening the command window, restart Windows.

  • Now let's run Visual Studio Code: here you'll be greeted with a simple tutorial on various commands of this editor, that you can follow if you have the need to learn the basic skills ( remember that you've already downloaded and installed Git, because it'll be one of the last points of this editor tutorial ).
    After the tutorial or after you've skipped it you'll find yourself in front of something like this ( the GitHub Repositories Opened is from a plugin we'll install, so don't worry ).

  • Let's head to the Plugins Tab, the middle one on the left side because here we have to search the marketplace for multiple Plugins:
  1. Lua ; autor sumneko ( if not already installed ). This is the basic lua coding plugin, needed to let the editor know what we are writing.
    This is everything you need to have to code, but it would be pretty hard, because you wouldn't have enything that helps you code faster and smarter.

  2. vscode-lua ; autor trixnz. This is an Intellisense and Linting plugin for Lua: intellisense is a code completion feature that speeds up the process of coding by reducing typos and other common mistakes, using auto-completion popups while typing, querying parameters of functions, query hints related to syntax errors, etc.

Synthax and AutoCompletion_Gif
An example of Auto Completion and Synthax Highlighting ( to auto complete you can scroll the side tab that shows up writing using the mouse wheel, and selecting the completion you want to use or, if you want to use the first one you can simply press Tab on your keyboard )

  • Linting is similar, but different, because is the process of running a program that will analyse code for potential errors, so it will help you find possible mistakes you're making during the coding process.

Linter_Gif
An example of Linting

Togheter and with a Synthax Highlighting feature they will help you a ton finding what's wrong inside your program and help you correct the most common mistakes without any headaches.

  1. EmmyLua ; autor Tangzx. This is actually one of the most useful Plugins, because it helps with almost any aspect of coding by giving you a ton of different options: from finding the definitions to make findable comments, from Synthax Highlighting to the implementation of in-editor Documentation. This is also a needed plugin for the Manticore Core Lua API we will use.
    For a full view of this plugin go read his page ( https://github.com/EmmyLua/IntelliJ-EmmyLua ) , because there is really a lot of commands and things it adds to the basic lua coding experience.

  2. Core Lua API ; autor Manticore Games. Plugin that adds the documentation and API of Core Lua Coding, because what you will use to program is not the basic Lua, but a modified version. Clicking on this plugin and scrolling down until the Related Repositories title will make you able to open the Core Lua API documentation website by opening the platform-documentation link.

Definitions and Documentation_Gif
An example of Definitions and Documentations showing In-Editor

  1. GitHub Repositories; autor GitHub. Plugin used in combination with the Source control softwares you've downloaded.


Wrap Up

With this we are almost done, because now you have just to close and reopen Visual Studio to be ready to code; what we'll se as the last Point of Interest is how to use the Source ( or Version ) Control.
You have three different methods: the easy one, the natural one and the hard one, which I strongly advise you against;

  1. The easy one is to open GitHub Desktop and use it to link VS Code to your GitHub Repositories, then, branching, merging, pulling etc from this useful app ( there are multiple guides about it, an helpful tutorial on the GitHub Desktop App, and a post which talks about aspects of it by CommanderFoo on the Core Forum: How to Handle Publish Data in Group Projects using Git )

  2. The ( in my opinion ) more natural one is to use the VS Code internal Source Control tab, where you can do every action you want on the repository and, utilising the GitHub repository Plugin we installed, we can get from out GitHub every piece of code we created. It's a bit more difficult to use, because here every command and button is a bit more cramped up than in the GitHub App, but it's still pretty straightforward and being in the same editor you use to code it's pretty easy to fit in the flow of coding.

  3. The hard one is to use the Git Editor, which you choose installing it, but it's pretty much the worse option to use, because there are more commands to learn than the other two methods and it's more obscure; this said is also the more complete mean and, coupled with a good knowledge of the OS commands you can do whatever you want with it. Still I strongly suggest you to begin with one of the other two options and in the future decide, if you want, to learn it.

We've now completed this tutorial, and we should now have everything we need to start coding right away.

Last tips: start with easy scripts and build confidence into using Lua, then, with small steps, add into each new script some new ideas, try more advanced algorithms and don't back up from challenges, because if you make mistakes you'll be able to come back in a couple minutes, using the Source Control. Try also to understand how each Object can dialogue with your World and with other Objects; lastly search and begin to learn from online guides and questions on Lua and remember always to check the Core API / Core Documentation ( https://docs.coregames.com/ ) because maybe there are already implemented more easy ways to do what you want.

I hope that this tutorial will be useful and that I'll be seeing you coding in Core soon and, as always, feel free to ask about anything you need on Discord.
See ya !

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