Java on Visual Studio Code Update – September 2021

Nick Zhu

Hi everyone, welcome to the September edition of the Visual Studio Code Java update! In this post, we are going cover the new release of Gradle extension, more convenient Code Actions and recent 1.0 language server release.

Language Server for Java™ 1.0 Release

The 1.0 release of the Language Server for Java™ was officially released recently!  We believe this is an important milestone and result of a multi-year collaboration between Microsoft and Red Hat. Please visit this special blog post to see the release highlights as well as future plans in detail.

Gradle for Java Extension Release

Better Gradle support has been one of the top asks in the community. To better address the Gradle needs for developers, we are excited to announce that we have now released the “Gradle for Java” extension (previously called “Gradle Tasks” extension). This extension was originally started by @badsyntax and is now maintained by Microsoft. Please note that this extension is not yet part of Extension Pack for Java and you may need to download it separately.

Let’s take a look at some highlights of this new version:

Local Gradle installation support  

In previous version, Gradle wrapper in the project folder is the requirement for the extension. There was a feature request (Issue #1004) to support Gradle projects without wrapper, this feature was added to the recent release. Developers can now use the following settings to control the activation behavior. 

  • java.import.gradle.wrapper.enabled 
  • java.import.gradle.version 
  • java.import.gradle.home 

More details about these settings can be found at 

Dependency Management and Project View

Another exciting new feature is the project dependency view. Developers can now easily view the dependencies in a project from the extension.

To view the dependencies of a project, simply click on the “Dependencies” item and all dependencies of a project is shown below. These dependencies are grouped by Gradle configurations and you can expand each configuration to see the dependencies in detail. For omitted dependency (marked with a (*)), you can click on the inline button on the right to reveal the previously listed dependency.

Gradle dependency

Gradle Authoring Experience (Groovy)

Gradle file authoring experience in Groovy is also greatly improved! There are a few new features we want to highlight:

Auto completion 

The Gradle language server supports basic auto completions for a Gradle file, when you’re trying to type a Gradle closures or properties in a Gradle script, the extension will automatically suggest available Gradle closures for you. 

Gradle auto completion

When you’re typing a dependency in “dependencies” closure, the extension will automatically search in the Maven central and suggest result for you.

Gradle auto suggest dependency

Syntax Highlighting 

When opening a Groovy Gradle file, the Gradle language server will start and provide language features for you. Basically, we offer Groovy syntax highlighting (using VS Code default style) in Gradle files. After language server starts, it will analyze the opened Gradle file and provide semantic tokens information, providing more precise highlighting results.

Syntax highlighting

Document outline 

The Gradle language server will provide the document outline for the current Gradle file. This type of view will help you to navigate to any part of the Gradle file easily

Gradle document outline

Error reporting 

The Gradle language server will use Groovy compile engine to analyze the Gradle build file and report syntax errors if exist. It will also get script classpaths from Gradle Build so that it can report compilation errors. The Gradle default imports are supported. 

Gradle error reporting

There are many more features in this extension. Please visit the GitHub documentation to see the full list of features! You can follow this link to get this Gradle extension.

More Convenient Code Actions 

We have been constantly receiving feedback that the current code actions are sometimes hard to find. Previously, developer has to right click, select “Source Action” and then find all the Java code actions in the menu.

Now, developers can simply use the lightbulb icon (Quick Fix) to generate common Java functions. Here is a list of scenarios we support

  • Generate Getters and Setters 
  • Generate hashCode() and equals() 
  • Generate toString()

Here is a quick demo:

Code Actions

Feedback and Suggestions

Please don’t hesitate to try our product! Your feedback and suggestions are very important to us and will help shape our product in future. There are several ways to leave us feedback

  • Leave your comment on this blog post
  • Open an issue on our GitHub Issues page


Here is a list of links that are helpful to learn Java on Visual Studio Code.



Discussion is closed. Login to edit/delete existing comments.

  • CrazyJannis44 0

    I’m an IntelliJ user and I don’t have much experience with VSC. It’s on a good way but I think VSC is more comparable to Atom than to IntelliJ when it comes to Java

    • Nick ZhuMicrosoft employee 0

      Agree that VSC and Atom is similar in terms of their code editor nature. However, we do see that more Java developers are comparing VSC to traditional Java IDEs now.

  • Pascal Odermatt 0

    Would be great to have auto generate cunstructors too

  • html öğren 0

    thanks for the helpful artcile ..

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