Software Engineer · Published Author · Developer Advocate at MariaDB Corporation
I recently shifted from IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate to Visual Studio Code (VS Code) and I have no regrets! VS Code is highly customizable and fast. It stores your settings in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about configurations when you move to a different machine.
As expected, it has support for Java, Git, SQL, Spring Boot, and many other languages, frameworks, and tools.
In this article, I’ll show you the extensions and configurations that I use with my new favorite IDE.
VS Code has tons of extensions that add support for programming languages, frameworks, and tools. An extension pack groups related extensions that work well together. So the first thing to do is install the
There are extensions for
To create a new Java project, in the Explorer tab on the sidebar, click Create Java Project:
You can select from a variety of frameworks depending on the extensions you installed. Here are some of the ones that I see in my IDE:
Each option will prompt further information to generate the new project.
The Java Extension Pack includes the
Although you don’t have to, you can also use the command line to open projects. VS Code makes it extremely easy to enable this. Press F1 and type shell to include the
code command in your
PATH environment variable:
After this, make sure to restart the terminal (if you have any opened), and type code to launch VS Code. You can specify a directory to open:
To open the current directory, specify a dot:
Once you have a new or an existing project opened in VS Code, you can run it by pressing F5. Select Java and the class that contains the standard Java entry point
main method that you want to run:
Most applications connect to databases like MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc. The best extension for this is
VS Code includes Git support out-of-the-box. However, I suggest installing the
In my case, I disabled the current line blame annotations since I find it a bit intrusive, but try it out and decide for yourself.
If there’s one shortcut you should learn, that is the sequence Ctrl K, Ctrl S (or Cmd K, Cmd S). It shows all the keyboard shortcuts with the option to search and edit the key combinations as you wish:
Here are a few keyboard shortcuts that I use frequently:
Ctrl B / Cmd B - Toggle sidebar
Ctrl Shift E / Cmd Shift E - Show/focus explorer
Ctrl J / Cmd J - Toggle panel (terminal, output, debug console, etc.)
Ctrl ` / Ctrl Shift ` - Toggle terminal
F5 - Run the application
Ctrl ; / Cmd ; - Settings
Ctrl Shift P / Cmd Shift P / F1 - Show all available commands
Ctrl P / Cmd P - Open a project file
Ctrl Shift O / Cmd Shift O - Outline (to show for example class members)
I recommend going through the Get Started guide inside VS Code (available in the Help menu) especially the Learn the Fundamentals walkthrough which teaches you how to edit code with a bunch of shortcuts that will improve your productivity.
If you are presenting your code to an audience, it’s always useful to increase the font size of the code. Most IDEs allow you to do this, but the size of all other things in the UI remains the same, which is not ideal in my opinion. VS Code is the best at this since you can simply hit Ctrl + (or Cmd + on macOS) and the whole UI is zoomed in, just like in a web browser. Use Ctrl - (or Cmd - on macOS) to zoom out.
You might want to go full screen (F1 and search for Toggle Full Screen) or even better activate the Zen mode (F1 and Toggle Zen Mode). I do this in presentations and videos like this:
Like almost always the official