TIL: Running Tests in VS Code

Since I’ve started using Visual Studio Code (still seems weird to say that…) I’ve been looking for a way to easily run tests. Today I learned how you can easily run tasks in Code in the integrated terminal.

Configure Task

First, choose the TasksConfigure Tasks menu. Code has a bunch of pre-built ones, but we just want to run a shell command so choose Others.

Use a configuration task like the following:

  // See https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=733558
  // for the documentation about the tasks.json format
  "version": "2.0.0",
  "tasks": [
      "taskName": "Run tests",
      "type": "shell",
      "command": "rails",
      "args": [
      "group": "test",
      "presentation": {
        "reveal": "always",
        "panel": "new"

See that ${relativeFile} bit? There’s a bunch of variables you can put there:

  • ${workspaceRoot} the path of the folder opened in VS Code
  • ${workspaceRootFolderName} the name of the folder opened in VS Code without any slashes (/)
  • ${file} the current opened file
  • ${relativeFile} the current opened file relative to workspaceRoot
  • ${fileBasename} the current opened file’s basename
  • ${fileBasenameNoExtension} the current opened file’s basename without the extension
  • ${fileDirname} the current opened file’s dirname
  • ${fileExtname} the current opened file’s extension
  • ${cwd} the task runner’s current working directory on startup
  • ${lineNumber} the current selected line number in the active file

Imagine setting up tasks to run your entire suite (e.g. rails test), the current file (rails test ${relativeFile}), the current line (rails test ${relativeFile}:${lineNumber}), etc.

Now running this task (with ⌘R and selecting the task) will popup the integrated terminal and run the task.

Bonus tip: ⌘-Click files and files with line numbers to jump directly to that file and line in Code. Super handy.

Keyboard Shortcut

Now that we have our task, we can setup a keyboard shortcut to run it easily. I setup ⌘R to run tests like so:

  "key": "cmd+r",
  "command": "workbench.action.tasks.runTask",
  "args": "Run tests",