Quickly get going with Kotlin on Windows–using VS Code as IDE

Lucas Jellema

Kotlin has been on my mind. The back of my mind, but still. And apart from a very short workshop last year at Devoxx I have not really tried it out. VS Code is my preferred IDE nowadays. So I wanted to get going with Kotlin in VS Code. Of course, plenty of resources are available to help me out. And in just under 20 minutes, I was good to go and already going. Now I need to learn a little bit more about Kotlin, to do meaningful things. But the environment is there.

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By the way: that little Code Runner extension for VS Code is very nice. It can easily run snippets of code in many languages.

Install VS Code and install Java (JDK) – follow for example the steps in this article: https://technology.amis.nl/2020/09/20/my-steps-for-getting-started-with-java-development-on-windows/

Install Kotlin – download kotlin compiler zip for your platform from https://github.com/JetBrains/kotlin/releases/latest ; unzip the archive to any directory, for example c:\program files. Add the full path to kotlinc/bin to the PATH environment variable:

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Restart your terminal program (to let the change to PATH take effect), and check that you can start the Kotlin CLI by saying kotlinc.

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Try some simple interactive Kotlin statements, such as

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As per the instruction in this article , let’s add two plugins to VS Code:

Code Runner – which can run almost any type of code snippet, including Kotlin. That is to say: Code Runner does not build the executable itself, but runs a command to compile it with the Kotlin compiler and runs it on the Java Virtual Machine)

Kotlin Language – this plugin provides syntax support for the Kotlin programming language and other basic features to help make writing Kotlin much more pleasant in VS Code

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I have created a new file (main.kt) in a new folder (c:\research\kotlin-lab).

After pasting the following code to the file:

fun main() {

    println(“Hello World!”)

}

I have selected the code, right clicked to bring up the context menu

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and selected the option Run Code.

The code is compiled and executed, the result is showing on the command line:image

Next, I create a new file called args.kts. This file is to contain a Kotlin script, with the following contents:

println(“Your arguments are:”)

for (i in 0 until args.size) {

  println(“$i: ${args[i]}”)

}

This script can be executed on the command line using the following command:

kotlinc -script .\args.kts hello boo world

with the last three arguments non sensical values that you can replace with your own non sensical values.

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Note: the code can also be executed using Code Runner – but then no arguments are passed to it and the result is even more lame:

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Resources

Article on Kotlin extensions in VS Code: https://medium.com/@thunderz99/debugging-kotlin-program-using-vscode-318ed43fe2f0 

Visual Studio Setup for Kotlin development: https://kotlin-code.com/ide/visual-studio-code/setup/


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