Visual Studio Code Java: What's New in April 2023?

Visual Studio Code's latest update for Java developers brings several improvements and new features for Maven, debugging, project explorer and Spring Boot.

Here are some of the highlights of this update as announced by the dev team:

  • Maven profile support: Maven profiles allow developers to configure and execute specific build configurations and phases for different environments or goals, obviating the need to manually manage Project Object Model (POM) files. The Maven extension, part of the Extension Pack for Java managed by the dev team, now supports visualizing and switching between Maven profiles directly from VS Code.
    [Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] Maven Profile Support in Animated Action (source: Microsoft).
  • Lazy variables in debugging mode: Lazy variables defer the evaluation of an expensive variable until the user expands it in the debugger. This improves the performance of debugging, but also requires extra clicks to see the values of some basic type variables. To address this inconvenient side effect, VS Code has added a context menu item called "Auto Expand Lazy Variables" that automatically expands all lazy variables in the current scope. Users can also revert this behavior by choosing "Manual Expand Lazy Variables" from the same menu.
  • New Java Project Explorer user experience: The Java Project Explorer is a view that shows the structure and dependencies of a Java project. The team redesigned this view to include additional file resources, such as build tool files (for example, POM.xml) and resource files. This makes it easier to access these files directly from the Java Project Explorer. The new design is still in an early stage, and users are encouraged to provide feedback.
  • Live Spring app properties in Spring Boot Dashboard: Spring Boot is a framework that simplifies the development of Spring applications. VS Code has a Spring Boot Dashboard that shows the status and details of running Spring apps. The latest update adds the support of visualizing live properties of running Spring apps in the dashboard. Properties are key to configure and customize the behavior of Spring apps, but they can be hard to track and visualize when the app is running. The new feature allows users to see the values of properties in real time, as well as filter and search them by name or value.

The Extension Pack for Java (preview) has been installed more than 19.3 million times, earning an average 3.9 rating (scale 0-5) from 58 developers who reviewed it. The Spring Boot Extension Pack has been installed more than 1.5 million times, earning an average 4.9 rating from 14 reviewers.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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