Open a file in your locally running Visual Studio Code instance from arbitrary terminal connections.
VS Code supports opening files with the terminal using
code /path/to/file. While this is possible in WSL sessions and remote SSH sessions if the integrated terminal is used, it is currently not possible for arbitrary terminal sessions.
Say, you have just SSH’d into a remote server using your favorite terminal and would like to open a webserver config file in your local VS Code instance. So you type
code nginx.conf, which doesn’t work in this terminal. If you try to run
code nginx.conf in the integrated terminal however, VS Code opens it the file just fine.
The aim of this project is to make the
code cli available to any terminal, not only to VS Code’s integrated terminal.
Linux – we make assumptions on where VS Code stores it data based on Linux
Macs could also support everything out of the box, confirmation needed. Please don’t hesitate to come into contact if you have any information to share.
Python 3 – tested under Python 3.8, but slightly older versions should work fine
socat – used for pinging UNIX sockets
apt-get install socat
VS Code Server
You need to set up VS Code Server before using this utility. For this, connect to your target in a remote SSH session.
Afterwards, you should have a folder
.vscode-server in your home directory.
fisher install chvolkmann/code-connect
source <(curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/chvolkmann/code-connect/main/install.sh)
To uninstall, delete the alias from you
~/.bashrc and remove
Set up an alias for
code, pointing to
code_connect.py by placing the following line in your shell’s rcfile (bash:
code like you normally would!
Usage: code [options][paths...] To read from stdin, append '-' (e.g. 'ps aux | grep code | code -') Options -d --diff Compare two files with each other. -a --add Add folder(s) to the last active window. -g --goto Open a file at the path on the specified line and character position. -n --new-window Force to open a new window. -r --reuse-window Force to open a file or folder in an already opened window. -w --wait Wait for the files to be closed before returning. -h --help Print usage. Troubleshooting -v --version Print version. -s --status Print process usage and diagnostics information.
How it works
VS Code uses datagram sockets to communicate between a terminal and the rendering window.
The integrated terminal as well as the WSL terminal spawn an IPC socket. You also create one when manually attaching a remote SSH session. These sockets can be found in the folder VS Code Server.
Each time you connect remotely, the VS Code client instructs the server to fetch the newest version of itself. All versions are stored by commit id in
code-connect uses the version that has been most recently accessed. The corresponding binary can be found in
A similar method is used to list all of VS Code’s IPC sockets, which are located under
is the current user’s UID and
is a unique ID. VS Code does not seem to clean up all stale connections, so some of these sockets are active, some are not.
So the socket that is listening and that was accessed within a timeframe of 4 hours by default is chosen.
VS Code communicates the presence of an active IPC connection with the environment variable
VSCODE_IPC_HOOK_CLI which stores the path to the socket.
You can verify this by opening a connection to your remote machine. In one case, you use VS Code’s integrated terminal. In the other case, you use any other terminal.
which displays an output in the integrated terminal, but not on the other one.
In order, every socket is checked to see if it is listening. For this, the following snippet based on this answer on StackOverflow was used.
socat -u OPEN:/dev/null UNIX-CONNECT:/path/to/socket
0 if and only if there’s something listening.
code_connect.py performs all of the above steps and runs the VS Code
code executable as a child process with
VSCODE_IPC_HOOK_CLI set properly.
- Fork this repository
- Commit changes to your repo
- Optional: Apply code styling
- Create a pull request
Please make sure that edits to your pull request are permitted.