What's New for Java Developers in Visual Studio Code

Microsoft's regular monthly update to Java on Visual Studio Code (May 2023) brings new features around performance improvement, the user experience and Spring Boot integration, among many others.

One of the highlights of the update is the support for profiles, a feature that allows users to quickly switch their editor extensions, settings and UI layout based on their current project or task. Microsoft has provided two built-in Java profile templates: Java General and Spring Boot. Users can easily switch to these profiles and customize them further according to their needs. More information can be found in documentation.

Another notable feature is the new Java Project Explorer UI, recently introduced and now improved with a filter button, a file hiding mechanism and different, context-specific right-click actions.

[Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] New Project Explorer Features in Animated Action (source: Microsoft).

The update also introduces a debugging feature that allows users to specify a whitelist of exception types, so devs can break on them without setting breakpoints. "This is a useful feature when you are expecting some kind of exception types or catching unexpected bugs," Microsoft said in its May 30 announcement.

Moreover, the update marks performance improvements gained by the recent introduction of parallel (instead of serial) downloading for Maven dependencies. This reduces the project import time significantly, especially for large projects with many dependencies. Microsoft internal testing found the project import time decreased markedly, with the average time cost of one operation decreasing from 178 seconds to 101 seconds with parallel downloading enabled.

Finally, the update adds a new feature for Spring Boot developers: the ability to start a Spring Boot application with a selected Spring profile from the Spring Boot dashboard. As opposed to the VS Code profiles discussed above, Spring profiles enable devs to map their "beans" (core building blocks or classes) to different profiles.

Microsoft's Java experience in VS Code is delivered by the Extension Pack for Java (19.7 million installs) in the editor's marketplace, where the Spring Boot Extension Pack (1.6 million installs) for specialized Spring experience can also be found.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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