Microsoft Upgrades Java Project View in VS Code

Microsoft's popular open-source, cross-platform code editor, Visual Studio Code (VS Code), has received an update of its new "project view," better known as the Java Projects Explorer.

The enhancements include a single view to help developers more easily see their projects and their dependencies, while displaying entry points for project management tasks, such as organizing and configuring assets and setting up environments. This feature also allows developers to switch between a hierarchy view and flat view.

Java Projects was introduced in August of last year as part of an effort to improve the "getting started" experience with Java on VS Code.

"Our goal is to allow you access to all project management related functions through the single view," Microsoft said at the time. "The view is realized through the Project Manager for Java extension. Because the extension is an update from the previous Java Dependency Viewer extension, if you have already [that extension] installed… you just need to update it to the latest version."

The Project Manager for Java extension's listing on the VS Code Marketplace shows it has been installed nearly 5.9 million times.

In announcing the December 2020 update to Java on VS Code, Yaojin Yang, senior program manager in the Developer Division at Microsoft, said work to improve the project manager was a focal point for the new iteration.

Here is how he described several enhancements:

  • Run: Now, you can run your application directly from JAVA PROJECT explorer. Before trying, please make sure you install the latest version of Debugger for Java extension.
  • Update project: 'Update Project' is a function you may use, when Maven or Gradle dependencies are modified or you want to simply keep your project updated. Previously, to invoke the function, you have to use VS Code file explorer. Now, the function is also available through JAVA PROJECTS explorer by right-clicking project node.
  • Navigate to dependency's POM file: Right-clicking a dependency on POM file and then selecting Go to Definition open dependency's POM file.
  • Key bindings: New bindings are added for you to interact with files more easily from JAVA PROJECT explorer.

Support for Java in Visual Studio Code is provided through a wide range of extensions, many of which are bundled in the Java Extension Pack.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.