Server Manager for VSCode


What's new in this version

  • Add support for server-side projects (#131).

2.0.8 (28-Mar-2022)

  • Update vulnerable dependencies.

2.0.7 (02-Feb-2022)

  • Also import user-specific connections from Windows registry (#107).
  • Update vulnerable dependencies.

2.0.6 (28-Sep-2021)

  • Apply pathPrefix correctly (#95, #99).
  • Update vulnerable dependencies.

InterSystems Server Manager

Note: The best way to install and use this extension is by installing the InterSystems ObjectScript Extension Pack and following the documentation here.

InterSystems Server Manager is a Visual Studio Code extension for defining connections to InterSystems servers. These definitions can used by other VS Code extensions when they make connections. One example is the ObjectScript extension for code editing.

See the CHANGELOG for changes in each release.

New in 2.0 - April 2021

We are pleased to publish version 2.0 of this extension, adding a tree-style user interface. This significant new release won the April 2021 InterSystems Programming Contest for Developer Tools.

Thanks to George James Software for backing this development effort.

The Server Tree

Server Manager displays connection definitions as a tree on an InterSystems Tools view:

Server Manager tree

In this tree you can:

  • Launch the InterSystems Management Portal, either in a VS Code tab or in your default browser.
  • List namespaces.
  • Add namespaces to your VS Code workspace for viewing or editing source code on the server, including web application (formerly CSP) files, with the ObjectScript extension.
  • Tag favorite servers.
  • Set icon colors.
  • Focus on recently used connections.
  • Manage stored passwords.
  • Add new servers, and edit existing ones.

In common with the rest of VS Code, Server Manager stores your connection settings in JSON files. VS Code settings are arranged in a hierarchy that you can learn more about here.

Server Manager can store connection passwords in the native keystore of your workstation's operating system. This is a more secure alternative to you putting them as plaintext in your JSON files.

On Windows, Server Manager can create connection entries for all connections you previously defined with the original Windows app called InterSystems Server Manager. This action is available from the '...' menu at the top right corner of Server Manager's tree.

Defining a New Server

  1. Click the '+' button on Server Manager's title bar.
  2. Complete the sequence of prompts.
  3. Expand All Servers to see your new entry in the tree.

The server definition is added to your user-level settings.json file and also appears at the top of the 'Recent' folder.

Optionally use its context menu to store the password for the username you entered when defining the server. You can also set the color of the server icon.

The 'star' button that appears when you hover over the row lets you add the server to the Favorites list at the top of the tree.

Viewing and Editing Source Code

  1. Expand the target server, then expand its 'Namespaces' folder.
  2. Hover over the target namespace to reveal its command buttons.
  3. Click the 'edit pencil' icon to add an isfs://server:namespace/ folder to your VS Code workspace, or use the 'viewing eye' icon to add an isfs-readonly://server:namespace/ one.
  4. To add a folder that gives you access to server-side web application files (for example, CSP files), hold the Alt / Option key down as you click the button for the type of access you want.

Learn more about isfs and isfs-readonly folders in the InterSystems ObjectScript for VS Code documentation.

If you are already doing client-side editing of your code (for example, managing it with Git), be sure you understand the consequences of also doing server-side editing using isfs. The ObjectScript extension's README outlines the differences between client-side and server-side editing. If in doubt, limit yourself to isfs-readonly by only using the eye icon.

The 'Current' Folder

When you have a folder or a workspace (including a multi-root one) open in VS Code, the Server Manager displays a 'Current' node at the start of its tree if your workspace references any server defined in Server Manager. The linking happens automatically if you added workspace folders from Server Manager as described above. If you are using the client-side mode of working, your objectscript.conn setting needs to use the server property.

Launching Management Portal

When you hover over a server entry in the tree, two command buttons let you launch InterSystems Management Portal.

The first button uses VS Code's Simple Browser feature, which creates a tab alongside any documents you may have open. The second button opens Portal in your workstation's default web browser.

Notes About Simple Browser

  • There is only ever a single Simple Browser tab. Launching another server's Management Portal in it will replace the previous one.
  • If the server version is InterSystems IRIS 2020.1.1 or later you will need to change a setting on the suite of web applications that implement Management Portal. This is a consequence of change SGM031 - Support SameSite for CSP session and user cookies. Simple Browser will not be permitted to store Portal's session management cookies, so Portal must be willing to fall back to using the CSPCHD query parameter mechanism.
    • Locate the five web applications whose path begins with /csp/sys Portal web app list

    • Alter the Use Cookie for Session setting on each of them so it is Autodetect instead of Always. Portal web app detail Remember to save the change. The change is not thought to have any adverse effects on the usage of Portal from ordinary browsers, which will continue to use session cookies.

  • When a 2020.1.1+ Portal has resorted to using CSPCHD (see above) a few inter-page links fail because they don't add the CSPCHD queryparam. One specific case is the breadcrumb links. Pending the arrival of an InterSystems correction (JIRA DP-404817) these links will take you to the login page. Either enter your credentials to proceed, or launch Simple Browser again from the Server Manager tree.

Amending and Removing Servers

To manage your server definitions, including changing the username it connects with, edit the relevant JSON file.

  1. From a server's context menu, or from Server Manager's top-right '...' menu, choose Edit Settings. This opens VS Code's Settings Editor and filters its contents.

Edit Settings

  1. Click the Edit in settings.json link.

In this example two connections have been defined:

"intersystems.servers": {
	"dev": {
		"webServer": {
			"scheme": "https",
			"host": "webhost.local",
			"port": 443,
			"pathPrefix": "/iris/dev"
		"username": "alice",
		"description": "Development server serviced by central web host over HTTPS"
	"my-local": {
		"webServer": {
			"scheme": "http",
			"host": "",
			"port": 52773
		"description": "My local IRIS instance"
	"/default": "my-local",
	"/hideEmbeddedEntries": true

The JSON editor offers the usual IntelliSense as you work in this structure.

Notice how you can add a description property to each connection. This will be shown in the hover in Server Manager's tree, and alongside the entry if a server quickpick is used.

Servers are displayed in the quickpick in the order they are defined in the JSON file. The exception is that if a server name is set as the value of the /default property (see example above) it will be shown first in the list.

A set of embedded servers with names beginning default~ will appear at the end of the lists unless you add the property "/hideEmbeddedEntries": true to your intersystems.server object to hide them (see above).

Removing a Stored Password

Use the server's context menu. Alternatively, run InterSystems Server Manager: Clear Password from Keychain from Command Palette.

Technical Notes

Colors, Favorites and Recents

These features use VS Code's extension-private global state storage. Data is not present in your settings.json file.

The 'All Servers' Folder

The All Servers tree respects the optional /default and /hideEmbeddedEntries settings in the intersystems.servers JSON.

If a server has been named in /default it is promoted to the top of the list, which is otherwise presented in alphabetical order.

Embedded entries (built-in default ones) are demoted to the end of the list, or omitted completely if /hideEmbeddedEntries is true.

Information for VS Code Extension Developers - How To Leverage Server Manager

An extension XYZ needing to connect to InterSystems servers can define Server Manager as a dependency in its package.json like this:

  "extensionDependencies": [

Alternatively the activate method of XYZ can detect whether the extension is already available, then offer to install it if necessary:

  const extId = "intersystems-community.servermanager";
  let extension = vscode.extensions.getExtension(extId);
  if (!extension) {
	// Optionally ask user for permission
	// ...
<span class="pl-k">await</span> <span class="pl-s1">vscode</span><span class="pl-kos">.</span><span class="pl-c1">commands</span><span class="pl-kos">.</span><span class="pl-en">executeCommand</span><span class="pl-kos">(</span><span class="pl-s">"workbench.extensions.installExtension"</span><span class="pl-kos">,</span> <span class="pl-s1">extId</span><span class="pl-kos">)</span><span class="pl-kos">;</span>
<span class="pl-s1">extension</span> <span class="pl-c1">=</span> <span class="pl-s1">vscode</span><span class="pl-kos">.</span><span class="pl-c1">extensions</span><span class="pl-kos">.</span><span class="pl-en">getExtension</span><span class="pl-kos">(</span><span class="pl-s1">extId</span><span class="pl-kos">)</span><span class="pl-kos">;</span>

if (!extension.isActive) {
await extension.activate();

XYZ can then use the extension's API to obtain the properties of a named server definition, including the password from the keychain if present:

  const serverManagerApi = extension.exports;
  if (serverManagerApi && serverManagerApi.getServerSpec) { // defensive coding
	const serverSpec = await serverManagerApi.getServerSpec(serverName);

If the username property is absent it will be prompted for. If no password is stored in the keychain or in the JSON definition the user will be asked to provide this the first time in any session that getServerSpec is called for a given server.

To offer the user a quickpick of servers:

  const serverName = await serverManagerApi.pickServer();

To obtain an array of server names:

  const allServerNames = await serverManagerApi.getServerNames();

For details of the API, including result types and available parameters, review the source code of the extension's activate method here.

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