Java Web Apps with Visual Studio Code

This tutorial shows you how to create a Java web application with Visual Studio Code. You'll learn how to run, debug, and edit the Java web app locally and eventually on the cloud.

Scenario

A simple Spring Boot Getting Started web app

Greeting from Java

Before you begin

Before running and deploying this sample, you must have the Java SE Development Kit (JDK) and Apache Maven build tools on your local development environment. If you don't have, please install them.

Download and install the Java SE Development Kit (JDK), version 8:

Download JDK

Note: The JAVA_HOME environment variable must be set to the install location of the JDK to complete this tutorial.

Download Apache Maven version 3 or greater:

Download Apache Maven

Install Apache Maven for your local development environment:

Install Apache Maven

Download and test the Spring Boot app

Clone the Spring Boot Getting Started sample project to your local machine. You can clone a Git repository with the Git: Clone command in the Command Palette (⇧⌘P (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+P)). Paste https://github.com/spring-guides/gs-spring-boot.git as the URL of the remote repository and then decide the parent directory under which to put the local repository. After that, open the cloned repository in VS Code by navigating to the repository folder and typing code ..

Note: You can install Visual Studio Code from https://code.visualstudio.com and Git from https://git-scm.com.

Clone Spring Repository

From within VS Code, navigate to the complete folder that contains the project which is ready to run. Open any of the Java files in the repository (for example complete\src\main\java\hello\Application.java). If you don't have the Java language extensions installed for VS Code, you will be prompted to install the Microsoft Java Extension Pack. Follow the instructions and reload VS Code after the installation.

Install Java Extensions

Once you have the Java Extension Pack installed, it will automatically build the project for you (this may take several minutes). You can run the application within VS Code by pressing F5 and selecting the Java environment. The Java Debug extension will generate a debugging configuration file launch.json for you under a .vscode folder in your project. You can see build progress in the VS Code Status Bar and when everything is finished, the final active debug configuration is displayed.

debug configuration in the Status Bar

You can learn more about how VS Code launches your application in Debugging Launch Configurations. Press F5 again to launch the debugger.

Run Spring Boot

Test the web app by browsing to http://localhost:8080 using a web browser. You should see the following message displayed: "Greetings from Spring Boot!".

Greeting from Spring

Make a change

Let's now edit HelloController.java to change "Greetings from Spring Boot!" to something else like "Hello World". VS Code provides a great editing experience for Java, check out Editing and Navigating Code to learn about VS Code's editing and code navigation features.

Click the Restart button on the top of the editor to relaunch the app and see result by reloading the browser.

Restart Application

Debug the application

Set a breakpoint (F9) in the application source code, and reload your browser to hit the breakpoint.

Debug Application

If you would like to learn more about debugging Java with VS Code, you can read Java Debugging.

Congratulations, you have your first Spring Boot web app running locally! Read on to learn how to host it in the cloud.

Deploy Web Apps to the cloud

We just built a Java web application and ran it locally. Now you will learn how to deploy from Visual Studio Code and run it on Azure in the cloud.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, you can sign up for a free Azure account. Create your free Azure account

Install the Azure App Service extension

The Azure App Service extension is used to create, manage, and deploy to Azure App Service with key features including:

  • Create new Azure Web App/Deployment Slot
  • Deploy to Azure Web App/Deployment Slot
  • Start, stop, and restart the Azure Web App/Deployment Slot
  • View a Web App's log files
  • Swap Deployment Slots

To install the Azure App Service extension, open the Extensions view (⇧⌘X (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+X)) and search for azure app service to filter the results. Select the Microsoft Azure App Service extension. For a more command-line Maven-centric experience, you can also check out the Maven plugin for Azure App Service Linux tutorial.

Create a new Web App

Once the extension is installed, you can take the following steps to create a new Web App.

  1. Click Create New Project button on the APP SERVICE Explorer view.
  2. Select a subscription.
  3. Enter a unique name for the new Web App.
  4. Select a location for the new Web App.
  5. Select the OS as Linux.
  6. Select the runtime of the Web App, for example Tomcat 8.5 (JRE8).

Create a Web App

Build and deploy to a Web App

The deploy process leverages the Azure Account extension (installed along with the Azure Functions extension as a dependency) and you need to sign in with your Azure subscription. If you do not have an Azure subscription, sign up today for a free 30 day account and get $200 in Azure Credits to try out any combination of Azure services.

To sign in to Azure, run Azure: Sign In from the Command Palette (⇧⌘P (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+P)). You can then sign in to your account using the Device Login flow. Select Copy & Open to open your default browser.

Azure sign in code

Paste in the access code and continue the sign in process.

Azure Device Login

Once you have signed in, you can open the command prompt or terminal window and build the project using Maven commands. This will generate a new name.war or name.jar file in the target directory.

mvn clean package

After building the project, open the target directory in VS Code Explorer. Right-click on the name.war or name.jar file and choose Deploy to Web App, and follow the prompts to choose the Web App for your deployment.

Deploy to Web App

Open the Output window in VS Code to view the deployment logs. Once the deployment is completed, it will print out the URL for your Web App. Click the link to open it in a browser, you can see the web app running on Azure!

Greeting from Spring Boot

Note: For more advanced features of App Service, you can check out the Azure App Service extension.

Next steps