Rajendra Gupta
first column as row label

Develop your extensions for Azure Data Studio

October 20, 2020 by

Azure Data Studio (ADS) is a popular cross-platform (Windows, Linux) tool for database professionals. It provides various useful features such as T-SQL editor, Visualizations, insights, Peek definitions, Notebooks, Git integration, extensions and more. Extensions add new functionality in the ADS. Microsoft provides several useful extensions. We have already covered few useful extensions in the Azure Data Studio category on SQLShack.

ADS also supports custom extensions. You can develop your extension and publish it in the community so that others can take benefit from it.

In this article, we will create a custom extension and deploy it in the Azure Data Studio.

Develop a custom extension in Azure Data Studio

ADS supports the dashboard at the server and database levels. To launch the server dashboard, connect to a SQL instance in ADS and Click on Manage. It shows the default server dashboard, as shown below.

Develop a custom extension

Similarly, if you launch the dashboard from a specific database, it launches the database dashboard.

database dashboard

You can refer to the article Server and Database dashboards in Azure Data Studio for detailed knowledge. In this article, we will create a new database extension to execute a SQL query and return output in a chart format.


For this article, we will require the following tools to develop an extension for ADS:

  • Azure Data Studio: Install the latest version of the ADS. Currently, the latest version is 1.21.0

    Azure Data Studio latest version

  • Node.js

    We require JavaScript runtime Node.js as an extension generator and VSIX package creator. To install Node.js, browse the URL and download the latest stable version.

    Node.js download

    Launch the setup and in the feature, make sure all features are enabled as shown below. The set up also adds the installation path in the Windows environment variables

    Custom setup for Node.js

  • Visual Studio Code: Download and install the open-source editor that acts as a script editor for various such as Node.js, Python, SQL, PHP, PowerShell, AWS and Azure CLI

    You can also browse existing articles on the Visual Studio Code in SQLShack

    Visual Studio Code

  • Azure Studio Debug extension in Visual Studio Code

    Launch the VS Code and in the extension, look for the Azure Data Studio Debug extension as shown below. We will use this extension to debug the extension after configuring it

    Debug extension

Steps to create an extension for Azure Data Studio

  • Install Yeoman extension generator

Launch the ADS and navigate to View-> Terminal. It launches the integrated terminal in the ADS. In this terminal, run the following command to install the yeoman extension generator.

>npm install -g yo generator-azuredatastudio

Install Yeoman extension generator

Create the extension

Once we have installed the Yeoman extension generator, we can create the extension for ADS. Run the following command to create an extension.

> yo azuredatastudio

It launches the following ADS Extension Generator. This extension generator asks you various questions:

Create the extension

  • Extension type?

    We can create the TypeScript, JavaScript, New database dashboard, New color theme, New Language support, New Code snippets, New Keymap

  • Add homepage actions?

    Enter yes to create an ADS homepage action

  • Add a full dashboard tab?

    Specify yes to create a full dashboard tab for the extension

  • Add the database tab on the database?

    Specify Yes to create a database tab on the database in ADS

  • What’s the display name of your extension?

    Specify any proper name for the extension

  • What’s the publisher’s name for your extension?

    Specify the publisher’s name as Microsoft

  • What’s the unique identifier for your extension?

    You can specify a unique identifier for your extension. If you want to publish the extension in the marketplace, it should have a unique identification

  • What’s the description of your extension?

    Describe your extension so that extension uses can be familiar with it

  • What package manager to use?

    In this article, we use the npm package manager for the extension

Extension details

Once we answer all questions, ADS starts building the extension. In the end, you get a message that the extension has been created.

building the extension

Before we move forward, we need insight on JSON for our visualization.

Build an insight JSON visualization in ADS

Connect to your SQL instance in ADS and execute your SQL query that we want to execute in the backend of a visual. In this article, I use the [AdventureWorks2019] database for the demonstration purpose.

Build an insight JSON visualization in ADS

First, save the SQL query in the extension directory, as shown below. You can browse the directory in the current logged-in user and save the script in the SQL folder.

SQL query in the extension directory

Execute the query in ADS, and In the query output, we get an option to view the result as a chart. It immediately creates a chart from our data set.

Execute the query in ADS

Put a tick on the Use first column as row label to show the chart in the below format with the series names.

first column as row label

Now, click on Create Insight. Click on it, it opens a new query window and gives you JSON code for the insight. I use the JSON formatter to show it in a proper format. In the below JSON, copy the highlighted portion.

Create Insight

Modify extension code in the Visual Studio Code

Now, go back to your ADS terminal and run the following commands.

Modify extension code in the Visual Studio Code

It opens the extension files in the VS Code, as shown below.

extension files

Click in the Package.json file and search for the dashboard.insights keyword. In the dashboard.insights, you see JSON code for the existing database dashboard and the newly created my-test-extension.insight.

dashboard. Insights

Replace the type section from the JSON code we copied earlier in ADS. Also, modify the SQL script location, as shown below.

the JSON code

Save this package.JSON file.

Debug the extension in VS Code

Now, we have done all configuration for an extension in the ADS. To test the extension, we can debug it using Run -> Start Debugging.

Debug the extension in VS Code

It opens a new console of ADS, and you can see the extension ( My Test Extension) in the general tab.

View new extension

Click on your extension name, and you can see that extension with the default and your custom visualization.

extension with the default and custom visualization.

In the VS Code, go to Run -> Stop debugging.

Create a VSIX file to deploy the extension

To this point, we have created a custom extension and debug it to see if it is working fine or not. Now, we need to create a VSIX file for the extension deployment. You might have used the VSIX file to deploy earlier extensions available in the ADS.

To build the VSIX file, we use the vsce package in ADS. Execute the following command in the ADS terminal to install it.

>npm install -g vsce

vsce package

Execute the vsce package command to build a VSIX package file for your extension. Here, it gives an error message. It asks us to edit the Read.md file before publishing the extension.

Error message

In the VS code file, open the README.md and modify its content. It uses the markdown language. If you are not aware of the markdown language, refer to the article – Learn Markdown language for SQL Notebooks in Azure Data Studio.

READ file

After modifying the Readme.md file, rerun the vsce package file. Here, you get a warning message about the missing repository field in the package.json. We can store the extension files in the GitHub repository. In this article, we do not want any GitHub repository for our extension scripts. Therefore, press Y to ignore the message and continue building the extension.

GitHub repository

The extension build is completed. In the output, you can see the VSIX file path as well.

VSIX file path

You can browse to the directory to view the VSIX file.

view the VSIX file

Deploy extension using VSIX file in Azure Data Studio

To deploy the extension in the ADS, go to file -> Install Extension from the VSIX package. Browse to your extension directory, and open the extension as shown below.

Deploy extension

As it is a third-party extension, ADS asks your confirmation before deploying this extension. Click on Yes to install your extension in ADS.

third-party extension

It installs the extension, and you can see the extension details page.

Install custom extension

We are done with implementing the extension in Azure Data Studio. You can click on the extension name and launch it as shown below.

Implement extensions


In this article, we created and deployed a database extension in the Azure Data Studio. It is a nice feature, and you can create an extension based on your requirements.

Rajendra Gupta
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