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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Open Sources Java Debugger for VS Code

Microsoft Open Sources Java Debugger for VS Code

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Visual Studio Code (better known as VS Code), the free, cross platform code editor from Microsoft, has made the code for the Java Debugger it released in September open source. VS Code comes with native support for JavaScript, TypeScript and Node.js and has extensions that provide support for an extensive range of other languages as well (such as C++, C#, Java, Python, PHP, Go), however the one exception to the list in terms of the most widely used programming languages, was Java.

This hole was filled by Red Hat last year, who released an extension for VS Code that provided Java language support. In September of this year, Red Hat announced that over a million people had downloaded the extension, a figure that has since risen to 1.6 million in just over a month. Red Hat thanked users and contributors, and told people to expect "a debugger from our friends".

The "friends" in question turned out to be Microsoft, who followed the Red Hat post with an announcement that they were releasing a Java Debugger as well as a Java Extension pack that bundles all these Java supporting extensions into one download.

One month on, Xiaokai He, program manager, Java Tools and Services at Microsoft, posted that the debugger had become the “most trending extension of the month”, having seen over 125,000 downloads and that they would be open sourcing both the Java Debugger Extension and the backend Java Debug Server. Both projects are now available on Github.

Xiaokai He told InfoQ that the aim of the VS Code team was to make it a tool both for the new, occasional or polyglot Java developer and the more professional full time Java developers who like the other features the code editor provides. For this reason we can expect further Java extensions for VS Code, for example one supporting JUnit.

He said that open sourcing the Java extensions made sense as VS Code itself is open source and the Java debugger depends on another open source project (the Eclipse JDT Language Server). He added that the Open Source process had also helped the team a lot in engaging with the Java community  and collaborating with Red Hat in the creation of the extensions.

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