Microsoft Adopted One of My Open Source Projects

Posted on: Saturday, 16 October 2021

(For the impatient, here's the project:

A while back I was doing Java development in VS Code and wanted to run Gradle tasks without having to use the terminal. I found an extension that provided basic Gradle task support but it was unpublished from the marketplace, so I decided to fork it and publish it.

The first version of the extension was incredibly basic, and over time I refactored the extension several times to:

  • Use a long running Java server
  • Use the Gradle Tooling API to interact with Gradle
  • Use gRPC for communication

VS Code Gradle Tasks

Eventually the extension became quite useful and popular, reaching well over 150,000 downloads. Then one day a project manager from Microsoft contacted me asking for call to discuss the project, which I happily agreed to. They liked the project and wanted to incorporate it into their Java extensions pack for VS Code. We discussed different options for collaboration, but I said I was more than happy to transfer all ownership, as I had stopped doing Java development in my day job and was finding it hard to maintain the project. The only thing I requested was for the licence to get kept in place. (This was actually something they suggested and I agree to it.)

A few weeks later the project was transferred to Microsoft. Since then they've been doing amazing work and the extension is going to be really useful, providing a lot of missing Gradle features, but at the time of writing (October 2021) they are yet to release all the awesome new features.

Some people have asked why I didn't ask for more from Microsoft. I had after-all put many, many hours into the project only to just give it away. My answer to that is I am simply happy to be have been part of something that has been, and will continue to be useful for others. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction that I've achieved something for the right reasons. I will continue to do Open Source work, when time allows.


A nice side-effect of working on vscode-gradle is I was able to help test and contribute to the grpc-js project.

Contributions I made to help with gRPC & TypeScript support


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