Text conversion power tool for Visual Studio Code – Inception

Last week I finally wrote a tool that I had been meaning to write for some time. Inception is an extension for Visual Studio Code that helps developers extract information contained in text with simple keystrokes and few clicks.
Get it here: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=davidni.inception
Source code: https://github.com/davidni/vscode-inception

What does it do?

Inception contributes a new command to VS Code which examines selected text and tries to guess what it is, then provides useful outputs for common things you may want to do with it.

For example:

  • Select a base64-encoded string, press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on Mac) and see the decoded data
  • Select a URL-encoded string, press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on Mac) and see the decoded data
  • Select a URL, press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on Mac) and see its query and hash parameters nicely decoded
  • Select a JSON string, press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on Mac) and see the prettified data
  • Select a UNIX timestamp, press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on Mac) and see the decoded date/time in your time-zone as well as in UTC.
  • Select a JWT token, press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on Mac) and see its base64 parts nicely separated and identified.
  • etc.

No more copying / pasting text around into separate converters and tools. No more learning how to use different tools for simple conversion operations. No more risking using online tools that could be stealing your data.

This has proven to be useful for my own workflows and perhaps others can benefit from it or contribute support for more encodings. It is fully open source and contributions are very welcome.

Comments (2)

  1. EnCey says:

    Is there something similar for regular old Visual Studio?

    1. Not that I know of. Regardless, I find VS Code much more convenient for things like this since it opens up so much faster than the full VS and is therefore more efficient for ad-hoc investigations. Also, keep in mind that VS Code is cross-platform, so you could use this on Mac and Linux too, plus it’s very light-weight and installs in few minutes. Get it here if you haven’t already: https://code.visualstudio.com/ 🙂

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