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Introducing the IBM Developer Extension for Visual Studio Code

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We’re delighted to introduce to you the IBM Developer Extension for Visual Studio code.  This extension provides access to capabilities from the IBM developer CLI directly within the Visual Studio Code editor’s command palette.  It enables you to quickly access a subset of bx dev commands for both Docker and CloudFoundry workflows, including app deployment, starting/stoping/restarting apps on Bluemix, viewing remote app logs, and more – all without the need to leave the editor’s context.

IBM Developer Tools for Visual Studio Code

IBM Developer Tools for Visual Studio Code

This gives you a great developer experience for building cloud native applicationss, with Bluemix integration directly at your fingertips, and without the need to switch to a terminal or separate application. To get started, just open the command palette and type ‘bx' to see a list of all available commands.

The IBM Developer Extension for VS Code wraps features from the Bluemix/IBM Developer CLI, so it is 100% functionally equivalent to running CLI commands in a terminal – just with the added convenience of being directly inside of the code editing environment.


The fastest way to install the IBM Developers Tools extension is to open VS Code’s command palette and run the `ext install ibm-developer` command.  (You can open the VS Code command palette by using the F1 or Cmd+Shift+P keys.)

You can also install the IBM Developer Tools extension by opening the “Extensions” sidebar inside of the VS Code editor, and search for “IBM Developer Tools”.  From there, click on the “Install” button.

You’ll also need the Bluemix CLI and IBM Developer CLI plugin installed on your system.


Just open up Visual Studio Code’s command palette(F1 or CMD+Shift+P) and type ‘bx’ to see the list of all available commands.

You’ll need to log in to interact with Bluemix – If you’re already logged in using the CLI in a terminal window, you won’t have to log in again.  The IBM Developer Extension wraps the Bluemix CLI, so authentication credentials are shared.

Using the IBM Developer Extension for Docker workflows (Docker containers)

For users targeting Docker-based applications on Bluemix, below is a brief demonstration how to use the IBM Developer Extension in development using the bx dev workflow:

You can get started with bx dev workflows in just a few steps:

  • Create a project using one of the two methods below:
  • Open the project’s folder locally in the VS Code editor
  • Use the bx dev build command to build the app into a Docker image
  • Use the bx dev debug command to run the app in local Docker for development
  • Use the bx dev run command to run the app in local Docker in release mode
  • Use the bx dev deploy command to deploy the Docker-ized app to CloudFoundry, with IBM Container Support coming soon


Using the IBM Developer Extension for CloudFoundry workflows

For users that are currently deploying apps to CloudFoundry, we are also providing support for the “cf” set of actions.  “Here’s a quick demonstration how you can use the IBM Developer Extension in development using CloudFoundry workflows:

You can get started with CloudFoundry workflows in just a few steps:

  • Create a new CloudFoundry application
    • Use the web console and download the starter code
    • Create a new CloudFoundry app manually
  • Open the project folder locally in the VS Code editor
  • Use bx cf apps to list all of your apps
  • Use bx cf push to push a build of your app
  • Use bx cf <start/stop/restage/restart> to change the status of your app
  • Use bx cf logs to view the live log stream for your app
    • Use bx cf logs to stop the log stream

What next?

Now, it’s time for you to fire up your editor and build amazing things on the IBM Cloud.  If you find a bug or have a feature request, then let us know.  For additional support, you can also find us on Slack or Stack Overflow.

Also, don’t forget the IBM Output Colorizer extension for Visual Studio Code, which makes any content in the editor’s “Output” panel easier to read by colorizing numbers, quotes, URLs, and more… it pairs well with the IBM Developer Extension.


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