Eclipse and Microsoft are bringing their IDEs closer together thanks to a new protocol created by a collaboration between the Eclipse Che project, Microsoft and Red Hat. The result is a Language Server Protocol, an open-source, JSON-based data exchange protocol for language servers.

Tyler Jewell, CEO of Codenvy and lead of the Eclipse Che project, said that the Language Server Protocol will be supported by Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code and Eclipse Che. “If you want to be a developer, you absolutely need to have access to programming language services like refactoring or IntelliSense. Historically, these sorts of capabilities are available in one IDE that is specific and special purpose to that language,” he said.

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The Language Server Protocol ensures that such services can be supported across platforms, added Jewell. Erich Gamma, a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, said that the move to create a Language Server Protocol became appealing after it became clear work was being repeated by the Visual Studio Code team.

“We have defined the common language server protocol after integrating the OmniSharp for C# and TypeScript servers into VS Code,” he said. “Having done a language server integration twice, it became obvious that a common protocol is a win-win for both tool and language providers: In this way, any language provider can make their language support available so that it is easily consumable by any tool provider.”

Jewell said that the Language Server Protocol, which is available on GitHub under Microsoft’s account, “allows any editor to connect and get access to any programming language service there. Microsoft Visual Studio Code and Eclipse Che the first two editors implementing and supporting the protocol. We’re also announcing a number of languages that we’ll provide. [These include] C#, Java, R, JSON, C and C++. This ultimately allows us to bring many more programming languages into many more tools.”