Java on Visual Studio Code Goes Cloud Native — Visual Studio Magazine


Java on Visual Studio Code becomes cloud native

Cloud-native development features prominently in a new roadmap released by the Java development team on Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code.

The company, which says “we use more Java than you can imagine” and champions the development language in its Azure cloud computing platform, released the roadmap in a 20 January.

As part of its duties, the Java Development Team manages extensions, including the Extension Pack for Java, which is a collection of six individual extensions that deliver the Java VS Code experience.

Java Roadmap on VS Code 2022
[Click on image for larger view.] Java Roadmap on VS Code 2022 (source: Microsoft).

The roadmap shows that one of the main areas of investment planned for Java on Visual Studio Code for 2022 is cloud-native development.

But what is cloud-native development?

Well, according to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the definition is:

Cloud-native technologies enable organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.

These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to frequently and predictably make high-impact changes with minimal effort.

“Cloud native has been one of the hottest topics in the software development industry recently,” said Nick Zhu, senior program manager, Developer Division. “With the cloud-native development approach, developers have to deal with microservices, cloud platforms, Kubernetes, etc.”

He cited VS Code’s remote development extensions and GitHub Codespaces as built-in tools to improve the Java experience in the popular code editor. GitHub Codespaces was created from the former Visual Studio Online project which provided “cloud-hosted development environments accessible from anywhere”.

“To meet the needs of developers in this area, we plan to explore deeper integration with Kubernetes in general and interaction with different cloud services (such as Azure Spring Cloud),” Zhu said.

Speaking of Azure Spring Cloud, Zhu also noted the emphasis on end-to-end Spring Boot support.

“Spring Boot Framework is one of the most popular Java frameworks and it makes it easy for developers to create a microservice or a web application,” Zhu said, referring to the Spring Boot extension pack that optimizes the experience of Spring development in VS Code. “But we’ve heard the requests from the Spring developer community and believe we can do more. We’ll be making improvements to Core Java Extensions and Spring Extensions in conjunction with VMWare.” Areas for improvement include:

  • Simplified Workflow for Creating Spring Projects, Controllers, and Beans
  • Better visualization of basic Spring concepts (such as beans and API mappings)
  • Generating boilerplate code for Spring controllers and classes
  • Improved Spring Application Lifecycle Management in Spring Boot Dashboard
  • More intuitive experience for adding Spring libraries when managing dependencies

Other main areas of investment include:

  • Fundamental experience in inner loop development: The team will improve the “smartness” of code completion suggestions, provide more relevant snippet generation, and offer shortcuts based on user preferences, including “syso” and “sout”.
  • Performance and reliability: Java Language Server reliability will be improved and unresponsiveness will be reduced.
  • Creation tools: The team will add new features to the Gradle extension for Java and improve the Maven extension to improve build and dependency management, which is especially important for large multi-module projects.
  • User experience: Last year, many developers complained that they ended up asking for a feature to be implemented only to find out that such a feature already existed but they weren’t aware of it. “Therefore, making features easier to use and easier to discover will be our focus in this area.”

Zhu also noted significant user growth in the number of Java developers using VS Code last year, bringing the total to over 1.5 million. As for the popularity of Java on VS Code, the aforementioned extension pack for Java – still in preview phase – has been installed over 11 million times.

He also detailed a few new feature updates in the team’s first 2022 post, including integrating Java Runtime Environments (JREs) into extensions and changes to how developers can modify formatter settings and preview effects.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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