Microsoft drops official support for Python 3.7 in Visual Studio Code

Should still work for the foreseeable future, but rely on it at your own risk

Still using Python 3.7? Even Microsoft thinks it is time to move on after the Windows behemoth finally deprecated support for the language in the October 2023 release of its extension for Visual Studio Code.

Python 3.7 reached its end of life in June but remains popular. According to some statistics, many sites use version 3.7 – 17.2 percent of those using Python 3.x by some estimates. Python 3.6, which reached the end of life in 2021, accounts for 28.9 percent and is still the most popular. Python 3.8 sits between the two, accounting for 23.3 percent.

Doubtless mindful of its popularity, Microsoft confirmed there were no plans to strip the code from the Visual Studio Code extension deliberately, saying: "We expect the extension will continue to work unofficially with Python 3.7 for the foreseeable future."

However, there are no guarantees that something won't go wrong without official support.

Python has moved to an annual cadence for end of life. Python 3.8 is due to reach end of life in October 2024, meaning that official support in Microsoft's Visual Studio Code extension will end with the first release of 2025, and so on.

According to Microsoft, the Python extension for Visual Studio works with all actively supported versions of Python. 3.12 is the latest version and, unsurprisingly, has yet to influence the statistics too much. 3.13 is penciled in for release next year.

Python has long been a popular language with developers. TIOBE listed it at the top of its list of languages for October 2023, ahead of C and C++, while the Stack Overflow developer survey placed the language third, behind HTML and JavaScript, but higher than SQL.

In its 2023 survey, Stack Overflow noted that Python placed first for respondents who were either not professional developers or were learning to code.

As well as dropping official support for Python 3.7, Microsoft also pushed out an update to the debugger extension – now renamed to "Python Debugger" – to include a setting to allow users to only step through their own code or hop into system or third-party library code without having to fiddle with the launch.json settings.

Other improvements include a Lint on change option for the Pylint extension, permitting errors and warnings to be displayed as a user types, and new settings around the Mypy Type Checker to allow a user to specify the reporting scope and whether to use mypy's daemon. ®

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