MS Open Sources Java Debugger For VS Code
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 02 November 2017

Microsoft has open sourced the Java debugger from the Visual Studio Code editor, along with the Java Debug Server that it uses on the back end. 

 Visual Studio Code is Microsoft's open source code editor that shares part of a name, but not much else, with full Visual Studio. It is open source under a MIT license and development is ongoing on GitHub.

The Java Debugger extension was only released at the end of September, and became the most trending extension of the month on the Visual Studio Marketplace. Microsoft has followed this up by open sourcing the debugger and the backend Java Debug Server, along with publishing a few feature improvements and bug fixes.

Visual Studio Code doesn't offer native support for Java, but developers using the editor have popularized third-party tools such as Red Hat's Language Support for Java. The debugger has the following features: 

  • Launch/Attach
  • Breakpoints
  • Exceptions
  • Pause & Continue
  • Step In/Out/Over
  • Variables
  • Callstacks
  • Threads
  • Debug console

The Java Debug Server is the bridge between VSCode and JVM. The implementation is based on JDI (Java Debug Interface). It works with Eclipse JDT Language Server as an add-on to provide debug features.

The main improvements to the new version of the debugger are the automatic resolving of the main class of a project so you no longer need to specify it manually; and full support for external source files. This means you can now debug with third-party classes, when the source code is inside a JAR or a source attachment. You can also set breakpoints in those classes ahead of debugging.

Alongside these changes, other improvements include the adoption of the new Visual Studio Code Debug protocol. The protocol is an abstract wire protocol that is used by Visual Studio code to communicate with debug adapters. 

This latest release also displays stackframe name with format ClassName.MethodName(ParameterList); and there are  improvements in the call stack display info for files without sources.

 javadebug

More Information

Java Debug Server On GitHub 

Java Debugger Extension on GitHub

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 November 2017 )