The prerequisites for contributing to code-server are almost the same as those for VS Code. Here is what is needed:
gitv2.x or greater
build-essential(Linux only - used by VS Code)
apt-get install -y build-essential
Please create a GitHub Issue that includes context for issues that you see. You can skip this if the proposed fix is minor.
In your pull requests (PR), link to the issue that the PR solves.
Please ensure that the base of your PR is the main branch.
We prefer a clean commit history. This means you should squash all fixups and fixup-type commits before asking for a review (e.g., clean up, squash, then force push). If you need help with this, feel free to leave a comment in your PR, and we'll guide you.
yarn yarn watch Visit http://localhost:8080 once the build is completed.
yarn watch will live reload changes to the source.
Updating VS Code requires
git subtree. On some RPM-based Linux distros,
git subtree is not included by default and needs to be installed separately. To
dnf install git-subtree or
yum install git-subtree.
To update VS Code:
Watch for updates to
lib/vscode/src/vs/code/browser/workbench/workbench.html. You may need to make changes to
You can build as follows:
yarn build yarn build:vscode yarn release
Run your build:
Build the release packages (make sure that you run
yarn release first):
yarn release:standalone yarn test:standalone-release yarn package
On Linux, the currently running distro will become the minimum supported version. In our GitHub Actions CI, we use CentOS 7 for maximum compatibility. If you need your builds to support older distros, run the build commands inside a Docker container with all the build requirements installed.
There are three kinds of tests in code-server:
Our unit tests are written in TypeScript and run using Jest, the testing framework].
These live under test/unit.
We use unit tests for functions and things that can be tested in isolation. The file structure is modeled closely after
/src so it's easy for people to know where test files should live.
These are a work in progress. We build code-server and run a script called test-standalone-release.sh, which ensures that code-server's CLI is working.
Our integration tests look at components that rely on one another. For example, testing the CLI requires us to build and package code-server.
The end-to-end (e2e) tests are written in TypeScript and run using Playwright.
These live under test/e2e.
Before the e2e tests run, we run
globalSetup, which eliminates the need to log
in before each test by preserving the authentication state.
Take a look at
codeServer.test.ts to see how you would use it (see
We also have a model where you can create helpers to use within tests. See models/CodeServer.ts for an example.
Generally speaking, e2e means testing code-server while running in the browser
and interacting with it in a way that's similar to how a user would interact
with it. When running these tests with
yarn test:e2e, you must have
code-server running locally. In CI, this is taken care of for you.
code-server script serves as an HTTP API for login and starting a remote VS
Most of the meaty parts are in the VS Code portion of the codebase under lib/vscode, which we describe next.
In v1 of code-server, we had a patch of VS Code that split the codebase into a front-end and a server. The front-end consisted of the UI code, while the server ran the extensions and exposed an API to the front-end for file access and all UI needs.
Over time, Microsoft added support to VS Code to run it on the web. They have made the front-end open source, but not the server. As such, code-server v2 (and later) uses the VS Code front-end and implements the server. We do this by using a Git subtree to fork and modify VS Code. This code lives under lib/vscode.
Some noteworthy changes in our version of VS Code include:
lib/vscode/coder.js, which includes build steps specific to code-server
native-keymapto avoid pulling in desktop dependencies during build on Linux
gulp-tar(unsued in our build process, may pull in outdated dependencies)
proxy-from-env(for proxying) and
rimraf(used during build/install steps)
.gitignoreto allow us to add files to
.eslintignoreto ignore lint on the shared files below (we use different formatter settings than VS Code).
src/vs/workbench/browser/client.tsto hold some server customizations.
initializefrom the main web file,
src/vs/workbench/common/resources.tsto get context menu actions working for the Git integration.
CODE_SERVER*variables to the sanitization list in
src/vs/workbench/services/extensionManagement/browser/extensionEnablementService.ts(Needed for vscode-icons)
yarn global addusers in
As the web portion of VS Code matures, we'll be able to shrink and possibly eliminate our modifications. In the meantime, upgrading the VS Code version requires us to ensure that our changes are still applied and work as intended. In the future, we'd like to run VS Code unit tests against our builds to ensure that features work as expected.
We have extension docs on the CI and build system.
If the functionality you're working on does NOT depend on code from VS Code, please move it out and into code-server.