I’ve mentioned before that Visual Studio Code has been my tool of choice lately for writing Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates.

I’d like to mention some reasons I’ve found this a great combination:

  • VSCode is far more lightweight than the full Visual Studio.
  • I’ve always found the deployment experience for ARM templates in Visual Studio to be a bit clunky
  • Deploying ARM templates from the command line using the Azure CLI provides a great experience, and it is now my option of choice when testing.

There are some specific extensions that I’ve found useful for editing ARM templates:

  • Of course, the Azure Resource Manager Tools is mandatory, as it provides all the base editing experience.
  • The Azure Resource Manager Snippets extension by Sam Cogan is pretty good, and provides tons of useful snippets for a lot of common resource types.
  • The Azure ARM Template Helper extension by Ed Elliot, which I just very recently discovered, provides functionality close to the bit I miss the most from Visual Studio: The JSON tree view of the template. Only Ed’s version goes beyond resources, and provides more extensive navigation:

    ARM Template Outline

    My only comment on this excellent extension, is that it would be useful if you didn’t need to explicitly run the ARM: Start Outliner command to enable it.

And of course, JSON is unreadable without some nice Rainbow Braces support. I’m currently using the Bracket Pair Colorizer extension for this.


Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.