Full-featured Swift in Visual Studio Code

October 20, 2021


Swift server side work group now have an official plugin published as a VSCode extension. No need to build it yourself.


I’m starting a server-side Swift project, so I wanted to see how Swift works without Xcode.

This guide is written for Mac users. It will also work on Linux but you need to get SourceKit-lsp separately first (https://swift.org/download). I will be writing an article on that soon!


Sourcekit LSP is the language server that runs in the background. Check that it’s installed by running sourcekit-lsp. There should be no output meaning it works. ctrl+c to exit.

Building the plugin

  1. git clone https://github.com/apple/sourcekit-lsp.git
  2. cd sourcekit-lsp/Editors/vscode/
  3. npm install
  4. npm run dev-package

This builds the vsix plugin for VScode.

If you encounter an error here, make sure all the prerequisites are installed and that you ran npm install.

Installing the plugin

  1. code --install-extension sourcekit-lsp-development.vsix

Installs the plugin.

Possible errors here

“zsh: command not found: code”:

  • Open VScode
  • command+shift+p
  • Type “shell”
  • Select “Install ‘code’ command in PATH

Try it out!

Open up a new Swift file in vscode and notice how autocompletion is available, as well as syntax highlighting!

Check back later for a full tutorial with running the program, package management etc.

👋 I'm Atulya, a full-stack hobby programmer. I'm 15. Here I write about interesting stuff I come across. Find me on github@atultw