Extension Manifest File - package.json

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

Fields

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: [Languages, Snippets, Linters, Themes, Debuggers, Formatters, Keymaps, Other, Extension Packs]
keywords array An array of keywords or tags to make it easier to find the extension.
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 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.
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.
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.
icon string The path to a 128x128 pixel icon.

Also check npm's package.json reference.

Example

Here is a complete package.json

{
    "name": "spell",
    "displayName": "Spelling and Grammar Checker",
    "description": "Detect mistakes as you type and suggest fixes - great for Markdown.",
    "icon": "images/spellIcon.svg",
    "version": "0.0.19",
    "publisher": "seanmcbreen",
    "galleryBanner": {
        "color": "#0000FF",
        "theme": "dark"
    },
    "license": "SEE LICENSE IN LICENSE.md",
    "bugs": {
        "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check/issues",
        "email": "smcbreen@microsoft.com"
    },
    "homepage": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check/blob/master/README.md",
    "repository": {
        "type": "git",
        "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check.git"
    },
    "categories": [
        "Linters", "Languages", "Other"
    ],
    "engines": {
        "vscode": "^1.0.0"
    },
    "main": "./out/extension",
    "activationEvents": [
        "onLanguage:markdown"
    ],
    "contributes": {
        "commands": [
            {
                "command": "Spell.suggestFix",
                "title": "Spell Checker Suggestions"
            }
        ],
        "keybindings": [
            {
                "command": "Spell.suggestFix",
                "key": "Alt+."
            }
        ]
    },
    "badges": [
        {
            "url": "https://david-dm.org/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check.svg",
            "href": "https://david-dm.org/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check",
            "description": "Dependency Status"
        }
    ],
    "scripts": {
        "vscode:prepublish": "tsc -p ./",
        "compile": "tsc -watch -p ./"
    },
    "dependencies": {
        "teacher": "^0.0.1"
    },
    "devDependencies": {
        "vscode": "^1.0.0"
    }
}

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 REAMDE.md.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Spell-Checker
  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": "Spelling and Grammar Checker",
    "description": "Detect mistakes as you type and suggest fixes - great for Markdown.",

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/spellIcon.svg",
    "galleryBanner": {
        "color": "#5c2d91",
        "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.md",
    "bugs": {
        "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check/issues"
    },
    "homepage": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check/blob/master/README.md",
    "repository": {
        "type": "git",
        "url": "https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode-spell-check.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 [Languages, Snippets, Linters, Themes, Debuggers, Formatters, Keymaps, Other, Extension Packs]

    "categories": [
        "Linters", "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.

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": [
        "Languages",
        "Snippets"
    ],
    "contributes": {
        "languages": [{
            "id": "latex",
            "aliases": ["LaTeX", "latex"],
            "extensions": [".tex"]
        }],
        "grammars": [{
            "language": "latex",
            "scopeName": "text.tex.latex",
            "path": "./syntaxes/latex.tmLanguage"
        }],
        "snippets": [{
            "language": "latex",
            "path": "./snippets/snippets.json"
        }]
    }
}

Notice that the extension manifest categories attribute now includes both 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 also bundle separate extensions together in 'Extension Packs'. An Extension Pack is a set of extensions that can 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 can include other contributions or be a bundling extension that lists other extensions. This dependency is expressed using the extensionDependencies attribute inside the package.json file.

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

  "extensionDependencies": [
      "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. Optionally, it can also 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.

Useful Node modules

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

Next Steps

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