Extension Manifest

Every Visual Studio Code extension needs a manifest file package.json at the root of the extension directory structure.


Name Required Type Details
name Y string The name of the extension - should be all lowercase with no spaces.
version Y string SemVer compatible version.
publisher Y string The publisher name
engines Y object An object containing at least the vscode key matching the versions of VS Code that the extension is compatible with. Cannot be *. For example: ^0.10.5 indicates compatibility with a minimum VS Code version of 0.10.5.
license string Refer to npm's documentation. If you do have a LICENSE file in the root of your extension, the value for license should be "SEE LICENSE IN <filename>".
displayName string The display name for the extension used in the Marketplace.
description string A short description of what your extension is and does.
categories string[] the categories you want to use for the extensions allowed values: [Programming Languages, Snippets, Linters, Themes, Debuggers, Formatters, Keymaps, SCM Providers, Other, Extension Packs, Language Packs]
keywords array An array of keywords to make it easier to find the extension. These are included with other extension Tags on the Marketplace. This list is currently limited to 5 keywords.
galleryBanner object Helps format the Marketplace header to match your icon. See details below.
preview boolean Sets the extension to be flagged as a Preview in the Marketplace.
main string The entry point to your extension.
contributes object An object describing the extension's contributions.
activationEvents array An array of the activation events for this extension.
badges array Array of approved badges to display in the sidebar of the Marketplace's extension page. Each badge is an object containing 3 properties: url for the badge's image URL, href for the link users will follow when clicking the badge and description.
markdown string Controls the Markdown rendering engine used in the Marketplace. Either github (default) or standard.
qna marketplace (default), string, false Controls the Q & A link in the Marketplace. Set to marketplace to enable the default Marketplace Q & A site. Set to a string to provide the URL of a custom Q & A site. Set to false to disable Q & A altogether.
dependencies object Any runtime Node.js dependencies your extensions needs. Exactly the same as npm's dependencies.
devDependencies object Any development Node.js dependencies your extension needs. Exactly the same as npm's devDependencies.
extensionPack array An array with the ids of extensions bundled with this extension. These other extensions will be installed when the primary extension is installed. The id of an extension is always ${publisher}.${name}. For example: vscode.csharp.
extensionDependencies array An array with the ids of extensions that this extension depends on. These other extensions will be installed when the primary extension is installed. The id of an extension is always ${publisher}.${name}. For example: vscode.csharp.
scripts object Exactly the same as npm's scripts but with extra VS Code specific fields such as vscode:prepublish or vscode:uninstall.
icon string The path to the icon of at least 128x128 pixels (256x256 for Retina screens).

Also check npm's package.json reference.


Here is a complete package.json

{ "name": "wordcount", "displayName": "Word Count", "version": "0.1.0", "publisher": "ms-vscode", "description": "Markdown Word Count Example - reports out the number of words in a Markdown file.", "author": { "name": "seanmcbreen" }, "categories": ["Other"], "icon": "images/icon.png", "galleryBanner": { "color": "#C80000", "theme": "dark" }, "activationEvents": ["onLanguage:markdown"], "engines": { "vscode": "^1.0.0" }, "main": "./out/extension", "scripts": { "vscode:prepublish": "node ./node_modules/vscode/bin/compile", "compile": "node ./node_modules/vscode/bin/compile -watch -p ./" }, "devDependencies": { "vscode": "0.10.x", "typescript": "^1.6.2" }, "license": "SEE LICENSE IN LICENSE.txt", "bugs": { "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-wordcount/issues", "email": "smcbreen@microsoft.com" }, "repository": { "type": "git", "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-wordcount.git" }, "homepage": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-wordcount/blob/master/README.md" }

Marketplace Presentation Tips

Here are some tips and recommendations to make your extension look great when displayed on the VS Code Marketplace.

Always use the latest vsce so npm install -g vsce to make sure you have it.

Have a README.md Markdown file in your extension's root folder and we will include the contents in the body of the extension details (on the Marketplace). You can provide relative path image links in the README.md.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Word Count
  2. MD Tools

Provide a good display name and description. This is important for the Marketplace and in product displays. These strings are also used for text search in VS Code and having relevant keywords will help a lot.

"displayName": "Word Count", "description": "Markdown Word Count Example - reports out the number of words in a Markdown file.",

An Icon and a contrasting banner color looks great on the Marketplace page header. The theme attribute refers to the font to be used in the banner - dark or light.

{ "icon": "images/icon.png", "galleryBanner": { "color": "#C80000", "theme": "dark" } }

There are several optional links (bugs, homepage, repository) you can set and these are displayed under the Resources section of the Marketplace.

{ "license": "SEE LICENSE IN LICENSE.txt", "homepage": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-wordcount/blob/master/README.md", "bugs": { "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-wordcount/issues", "email": "smcbreen@microsoft.com" }, "repository": { "type": "git", "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-wordcount.git" } }
Marketplace Resources link package.json attribute
Issues bugs:url
Repository repository:url
Homepage homepage
License license

Set a category for your extension. Extensions in the same category are grouped together on the Marketplace which improves filtering and discovery.

Note: Only use the values that make sense for your extension. Allowed values are [Programming Languages, Snippets, Linters, Themes, Debuggers, Formatters, Keymaps, SCM Providers, Other, Extension Packs, Language Packs]. Use Programming Languages for general language features like syntax highlighting and code completions. The category Language Packs is reserved for display language extensions (for example, localized Bulgarian).

{ "categories": ["Linters", "Programming Languages", "Other"] }

Tip: The Extension Manifest Editor extension lets you preview how your extension README.md and package.json metadata will look when published to the Marketplace.

Approved Badges

Due to security concerns, we only allow badges from trusted services.

We allow badges from the following URL prefixes:

If you have other badges you would like to use, please open a Github issue and we're happy to take a look.

Combining Extension Contributions

The yo code generator lets you easily package TextMate themes, colorizers and snippets and create new extensions. When the generator is run, it creates a complete standalone extension package for each option. However, it is often more convenient to have a single extension which combines multiple contributions. For example, if you are adding support for a new language, you'd like to provide users with both the language definition with colorization and also snippets and perhaps even debugging support.

To combine extension contributions, edit an existing extension manifest package.json and add the new contributions and associated files.

Below is an extension manifest which includes a LaTex language definition (language identifier and file extensions), colorization (grammar), and snippets.

{ "name": "language-latex", "description": "LaTex Language Support", "version": "0.0.1", "publisher": "someone", "engines": { "vscode": "0.10.x" }, "categories": ["Programming Languages", "Snippets"], "contributes": { "languages": [ { "id": "latex", "aliases": ["LaTeX", "latex"], "extensions": [".tex"] } ], "grammars": [ { "language": "latex", "scopeName": "text.tex.latex", "path": "./syntaxes/latex.tmLanguage.json" } ], "snippets": [ { "language": "latex", "path": "./snippets/snippets.json" } ] } }

Notice that the extension manifest categories attribute now includes both Programming Languages and Snippets for easy discovery and filtering on the Marketplace.

Tip: Make sure your merged contributions are using the same identifiers. In the example above, all three contributions are using "latex" as the language identifier. This lets VS Code know that the colorizer (grammar) and snippets are for the LaTeX language and will be active when editing LaTeX files.

Extension Packs

You can bundle separate extensions together in Extension Packs. An Extension Pack is a set of extensions that will be installed together. This enables easily sharing your favorite extensions with other users or creating a set of extensions for a particular scenario like PHP development to help a PHP developer get started with VS Code quickly.

An Extension Pack bundles other extensions using the extensionPack attribute inside the package.json file.

For example, here is an Extension Pack for PHP that includes a debugger, language service, and formatter:

{ "extensionPack": [ "felixfbecker.php-debug", "felixfbecker.php-intellisense", "Kasik96.format-php" ] }

When installing an Extension Pack, VS Code will now also install its extension dependencies.

Extension packs should be categorized in the Extension Packs Marketplace category:

{ "categories": ["Extension Packs"] }

To create an extension pack, you can use the yo code Yeoman generator and choose the New Extension Pack option. There is an option to seed the pack with the set of extensions you have currently installed in your VS Code instance. In this way, you can easily create an Extension Pack with your favorite extensions, publish it to the Marketplace, and share it with others.

An Extension Pack should not have any functional dependencies with its bundled extensions and the bundled extensions should be manageable independent of the pack. If an extension has a dependency on another extension, that dependency should be declared with the extensionDependencies attribute.

Extension uninstall hook

If your extension has some clean up to be done when it is uninstalled from VS Code, you can register a node script to the uninstall hook vscode:uninstall under scripts section in extension's package.json.

{ "scripts": { "vscode:uninstall": "node ./out/src/lifecycle" } }

This script gets executed when the extension is completely uninstalled from VS Code which is when VS Code is restarted (shutdown and start) after the extension is uninstalled.

Note: Only Node.js scripts are supported.

Useful Node modules

There are several Node.js modules available on npmjs to help with writing VS Code extensions. You can include these in your extension's dependencies section.

Next steps

To learn more about VS Code extensibility model, try these topic: