Working with scriptcs in Atom on Windows

Atom is a text editor from the folks at GitHub. I’ve been intrigued, but up until now it has only been available on the OS X platform. And since I currently don’t have a Mac I haven’t yet taken it for a spin. But all that has changed … Atom is now available for Windows.

Atom - text editor

Installing Atom

Installing Atom on Windows is really easy. It is available as a Chocolatey package. If you don’t have Chocolatey on your Windows machine, install it as per the instructions on the Chocolatey website.

Then simply run the following command from the command line to install Atom.

 cinst atom 

And you’ll be greeted by your shiny new text editor when launching Atom.

Atom - welcome

Add C# language support

Support for the C# language is not provided out the box with Atom, but this is quickly solved with an Atom package.

Atom comes with the Atom Package Manager which is easily launched by issuing the following command at the command line:


apm - Atom package manager

The Atom package manager allows you to install Atom packages that can be used to extend the functionality of Atom. You use the apm install command to install packages. You can get help for any command by using apm help <command> as shown below.

apm help install

We are interested in the language-csharp Atom package. This adds syntax highlighting and snippets for both C# and scriptcs specific grammars.


Install the package by issuing the following command at the command line:

 apm install language-csharp 

apm install language-csharp

Add support for running scriptcs

So now we have C# language support in Atom, but cannot yet run our C# script files using scriptcs. To enable this we require another Atom package – atom-runner. This package allows you to run code or scripts from within Atom.


Install the package by issuing the following command at the command line:

 apm install atom-runner 

apm install atom-runner

We then need to configure atom-runner and associate csx files with scriptcs. This will allow us to execute our csx files from within Atom. We need to add this configuration information to Atom’s config.cson configuration settings file.

The easiest way to open this file is to use Atom’s command palette. Press ctrl-shift-p to bring up the command palette and then type config. Hit enter to open the config.cson file for your user profile.

command palette

Add the following lines to the end of the file.

    'csx': 'scriptcs' 


See scriptcs in action

Atom has now been configured to provide syntax highlighting and snippets for C# and scriptcs. It is also now capable of executing csx files from within Atom. So let’s see this in action.

Create a csx file and write a simple Console.WriteLine statement. I’ve created a file hello.csx in the C:\Labs folder and added the message “Hello from atom & scriptcs!” to the Console.WriteLine statement. Ensure that the file is saved.


Next bring up the command palette again (ctrl-shift-p) and type runner. Select the Runner: Run item and hit enter. This will invoke the Atom Runner and provide it with the path to the hello.csx file which is the active tab in the editor.

Runner: Run

The csx file will be run by scriptcs and the output captured in the Atom Runner window.

Run scriptcs csx file

Now you can write your scriptcs csx files in Atom with C# syntax highlighting and snippets. You can even execute your csx files from within Atom.

Add keybinding for Atom Runner

Starting the Atom Runner via the command palette just felt like too many keystrokes for me. So I decided to have a look at the keymap functionality within Atom in order to bind a set of keys to the run event of the Atom Runner.

Bring up the command palette again (ctrl-shift-p) and type keymap. Hit enter to open the keymap.cson file for your user profile.


Add the following lines to the end of the file.

'.platform-win32 .workspace .editor': 
  'ctrl-shift-r': 'runner:run' 

keymap configuration

This will map ctrl-shift-r to the Run event of the Atom Runner on the Windows platform. So this is all you need to use now to execute your csx files.

The Atom Runner has it’s own keymap file (%UserProfile%\.atom\packages\atom-runner\keymaps\atom-runner.cson) that is used by Atom but this is currently OS X specific.

Atom Runner - keymap


I’d like to thank Adam Ralph for doing the hard yards and documenting the steps on the scriptcs wiki for how to get this up and running quickly.

If you are interested in how to do the same with PowerShell and obtaining syntax highlighting, snippets and script execution within Atom then have a look at Doug Finke‘s blog post – PowerShell and The Github Atom Editor.

Troubleshooting adventures with scriptcs and Edge

What was the issue ?

Glenn Block released a new scriptcs script pack – ScriptCs.Edge. There was a call on twitter for people to test and I was happy to help out. It worked first time for me. Awesome to combine Tomasz Janczuk‘s work on Edge with scriptcs !


But Morten Christensen was having an issue.


And it seemed like it had something to do with having Visual Studio 2013 installed on the machine. Which I had but Morten didn’t.


Tomasz confirmed that Edge required that msvcr120.dll was available on the machine. This assembly is the Microsoft C Runtime library and is installed via Visual Studio 2013. Mystery solved 🙂


But I wondered how we may have solved this issue if we hadn’t got a quick reply from Tomasz …

Replicate the issue

First I needed an environment to replicate the issue. I really didn’t feel like uninstalling Visual Studio 2013 from my machine so I created a Windows 8.1 VM on Microsoft Azure. A Windows 8.1 image is now available to MSDN subscribers. It does not have Visual Studio 2013 installed so was perfect.

Windows 8.1 VM image

After installing scriptcs and the ScriptCs.Edge script pack I found that I was getting the same error as Morten. This was expected. So now the question was – how could I figure out what was going wrong?

ScriptCs.Edge failure

From the error one could deduce that something is not being loaded and given the evidence that this works on a machine with Visual Studio 2013 but not on one without Visual Studio 2013 it seems likely we are looking for a file that is missing.

When you are looking at low level tasks in Windows you can almost guarantee that Mark Russinovich has written some SysInternals tool to help you. And there it was … Process Monitor.

Running Process Monitor on the machine while testing the script pack showed that a specific file could not be found (msvcr120.dll) just after the edge.node module had been successfully loaded. This matched what we were seeing in the error message. So we had found the culprit.

SysInternals - Process Monitor

There is a firehose of information that Process Monitor will display. I restricted this information via filters. I only displayed file activities via the Show File System Activity button the the menu. I further filtered the entries to only those produced by the scriptcs process by applying a filter as shown below.

Process Monitor - filter

Resolve the issue

To test that having the msvcr120.dll assembly would resolve the issue I copied it from my local machine (that had Visual Studio 2013 installed) and placed it in the same folder as the edge.node module on the Windows 8.1 VM in Azure. This was one of the folders searched so I assumed the assembly would be picked up from here.

Missing assembly

Success !

You can see the Node js v0.10.28 welcomes .NET message in the console below. The msvcr120.dll assembly is also clearly loaded as can be seen in the Process Monitor screen.


It was great to see if I could resolve this issue by troubleshooting the process. I now have another tool that I can add to my troubleshooting belt.

And soon Tomasz will be including this assembly in the Edge NuGet package. So no need to copy around assemblies.

My first Pluralsight course is live !

The last few months have been an incredible journey for me. And that journey has resulted in my first Pluralsight course, Introduction to scriptcs, being published on 2 May 2014.

Introduction to scriptcs

Twitter - @Pluralsight

The scriptcs project was started by Glenn Block and was heavily inspired by node.js. It aims to introduce a low friction experience to the world of C# and even better bring that experience to you across Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. If you haven’t looked at it yet, download it and start playing.

I am also extremely grateful for the support from the scriptcs team.

Twitter - @gblock

Twitter - @scriptcsnet

Twitter - @filip_woj

Twitter - @khellang

And for the awesome feedback from Filip and Glenn !

Twitter - @filip_woj

Twitter - @gblock

Twitter - @gblock

Love at first site – scriptcs and WAML at Brisbane Azure User Group

I gave a talk at the Brisbane Azure User Group on the 13th November 2013 titled Love at first site – scriptcs and WAML. Here is my slide deck.

scriptcs is putting C# on a diet and decoupling your favourite language from Visual Studio. The Windows Azure Management Library (WAML) is a C# library that wraps the Windows Azure Management REST APIs. These two belong together !

In this talk I introduced scriptcs and the Windows Azure Management Library, before showing how to combine these two awesome resources to script the management of your Windows Azure assets with the full power of C#.