Language Support For Java (TM) By Red Hat

November 02, 2020
red hat


Software development has undergone several changes since the early years of hi-tech. Open-source being one of the very significant changes in this time. Many new:

  • Programming languages
  • Operating systems and
  • Services

Were introduced. And top developers from all around the world started contributing in a variety of ways. The top software engineers behind Java also realized the potential of open-source development. And that is how much of Java Virtual Machine (JVM) came to be released as free and open-source software.

Compatibility Issues

IDEs designed to be used with many programming languages became more practical and useful. Especially for developers who were working on many languages at a time. Soon, enterprises began feeling the pressure to compete in the digital world. This encouraged developers to produce more micro-services and cloud-native applications, using fewer resources.

To fulfil this demand, developers needed a customized set of tools and extensions that suited them best. The biggest constraint here was the incompatibility between languages and IDEs.

The options of IDEs, for instance, especially for a Java Developer, were very limited. Java Coders realized that the old IDEs were slower. They also offered fewer features than the new and upcoming IDEs.

During this time, many new IDEs and code editors entered the market. One of these was Microsoft’s Visual Studio (VS) Code IDE. This gained a lot of popularity in a very short period of time. Primarily because it was lightweight. And because it provided a wide variety of features via extension. Study respondents’ also ranked it as the most popular development environment. Unfortunately, Java Coders were not able to use it.

Enter Red Hat Software

Top developers from Red Hat identified this issue.

Red Hat is one of the world’s leading providers of open-source solutions to enterprises. Supported by a diverse community of elite software developers, they have delivered high-performing:

  • Linux
  • Cloud
  • Container, and
  • Kubernetes technologies

To various companies.

They worked with a community-powered approach. And released a set of extensions for VS Code to support Java Development.

Java is one of the most popular programming languages, as we know. Combining it with Visual Studio Code, would bring the simplicity of a source code editor together with powerful developer tooling, like:

  • IntelliSense code completion and
  • Debugging

Coding in Java with a lightning-fast source code editor would be the biggest dream come true for every Java Developer at the time.

These Red Hat extensions took advantage of VS Code’s extensibility model. They further enabled Java Coders to improve efficiency and productivity using VS Code.

Two of Red Hat’s extensions have a combined value of 3.8 million installations. These two Red Hat extensions for Microsoft’s VS Code are listed among the most popular in the marketplace. One of the primary extensions was Language Support For Java.

Language Support For Java Extension

This extension is built on the Language Server Protocol.

It provides language support for Java through the Eclipse JDT Language Server. It makes Java™ application development (using VS Code) easier and enjoyable. In no small measure.

For Java coders, using Eclipse JDT offers an experience very similar to VS Code (as what one can get with Eclipse). The extension is completely open-source. So it will keep evolving with new features according to developers’ needs.

The following is a list of some basic features provided by the extension:

  • It fully supports code from Java 1.5 to Java 14
  • Maven pom.xml Project Support
  • Basic Gradle Java Project Support (but Android support is not included)
  • Standalone Java files’ support
  • As-you-type reporting of parsing and compilation errors
  • Code completion
  • Code refactoring
  • Code outline
  • Code folding
  • Code navigation
  • Code lens
  • Code formatting
  • Code snippets
  • Annotation processing support, (automatic for Maven Projects)
  • Semantic selection
  • Diagnostic tags
  • Javadoc hovers
  • Organizes imports
    • triggered manually or when saved
    • When pasting code into a Java file by pressing Ctrl+Shift+V
  • Type search
  • Highlights

Microsoft Extension Pack

Microsoft also invited Java Developers to use its tools and frameworks.

Microsoft created a Java Extension Pack which gave developers all relevant extensions. In one place. This helped the Java community set up the environment to start development in VS Code.

These extensions offered many exciting features. For instance great micro-services support including:

  • Popular framework
  • Container tooling and
  • Cloud integration

Features like these improve productivity through collaboration, etc.

The Red Hat extension, Language Support For Java was the highlight of this extension pack. Together with several other extensions for debugging, testing and managing Maven commands.

Initial Setup

Once you install language support, you can read and edit Java source code straight away. For example, start by creating a file. Open this on VS Cod. Or create the file within and then save it.

See Also: All Things New In Java 15

Once done, you can open the terminal and then type javac to compile the file. This will generate a project01.class file. Run it with java project01.

There are many other capabilities that will help you:

  • Navigate
  • Write
  • Refactor and
  • Read

Java source code so quickly that, you may decide to leave an IDE and shift to this lightweight text editor.


Developments like these prove that the Java community is alive and thriving. The future is unpredictable. But open-source Java communities can predict a world that benefits from their expertise.



Shaharyar Lalani is a developer with a strong interest in business analysis, project management, and UX design. He writes and teaches extensively on themes current in the world of web and app development, especially in Java technology.

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