Visual Studio Code Esp8266

- Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:49 pm#61832 Hey Folks,

This software allows you to easily perform a variety of actions to test 802.11 wireless networks by using an inexpensive ESP8266 WiFi SoC (System On A Chip). The main feature, the deauthentication attack, is used to disconnect devices from their WiFi network. The ESP8266 core for Arduino or ESP32 core for Ardiuno needs to be installed on your computer. For the ESP8266, it is best to use the Arduino IDE 's Board Manager (Tools/Board/Board Manager.) or use the Arduino for Visual Studio Code 's Arduino: Board Manager command.

There is a VS extension for Lua, it's terrible. There is also a plugin for Visual Studio Code (.NET core) aimed at ESP8266 but it is somehow even worse. ESPlorer does a fair job of Lua syntax and upload to the chip, and while I donated some cash for my frequent use it is a bad development environment (sorry 4ref0nt).
Now, SDK developers are fine with VS but what about us pleb Lua application developers? Right now I have to open 15 Lua modules individually (that gets old fast, 4ref0nt). Apart from source control logs, I don't even know which files I need to upload to the ESP. Surely someone in this community is thinking about the advantages of the development environment in Visual Studio Code or Visual Studio, specifically for Lua and the ESP8266?

Note: This extension will be retired after this version and the code will be forked to 'vscode-espspiffs' so as to better reflect the SPIFFS nature of this extension.

Welcome to the Visual Studio extension for the ESP8266/ESP32 File System SPIFFS.

This extension provides the same functionality for VSCode as the Arduino ESP8266 filesystem uploader and Arduino ESP32 filesystem uploader do for the Arduino IDE: it packages and uploads a BLOB to an ESP8266/ESP32 allowing the device to use a portion of it's Flash Memory as a Storage Device using SPIFFS (SPIFlash File System).

Whereas the Arduino IDE versions adds menu items to the IDE (Tools/ESP??? Sketch Data Updoad), VSCode provides no such mechanism. Instead, this extension implements a VSCode command (ESP8266FS: Upload SPIFFS) to perform the same task.

This extension also adds commands to unpack, list, and 'visualize' the contents of a SPIFFS image.

While this extension really doesn't need the Arduino IDE installed - it only needs the ESP8266 or ESP32 package and tools - it's best to have it installed anyway. This extension is meant to be a companion extension for the Arduino for Visual Studio Code plugin, which relies on the Arduino IDE to compile and upload code through their toolchain.


  • Works with or without the Arduino for Visual Studio Code plugin installed. Just needs mkspiffs, esptool or, and (if using OTA updating).
  • Implements VSCode commands to:
    • upload,
    • download,
    • pack,
    • unpack,
    • list,
    • and visualize a SPIFFS image.
  • Uses settings from:
    • .vscode/arduino.json,
    • settings.json
    • or ...arduino.../preferences.txt.
  • Overrides available for all toolchain settings in the settings.json file.

Tip: Add the 'esp866fs.packSpiffs' and 'esp866fs.uploadSpiffs' command to your gulp/webpack toolchain to turn your VSCode/ESP8266/ESP32 into a 'one-button' dev cycle.


The ESP8266 core for Arduino or ESP32 core for Ardiuno needs to be installed on your computer.

  • For the ESP8266, it is best to use the Arduino IDE's Board Manager (Tools/Board/Board Manager...) or use the Arduino for Visual Studio Code's Arduino: Board Manager command.
  • For the ESP32, follow the instructions in their for the relevant OS.

If you manually install the package, you can still use this extension by setting the overrides.

ESP8266 vs. ESP32

Without getting in the differences between the two processors, their Arduino development environments are install in two different locations, through two different methods.

The toolchains for the two are similar, but slightly different. To upload files the ESP8266 uses a compile tool called esptool and ESP32 uses a python-based program called, and the command-line arguments for the two are completely different.

Finally, the boards.txt found in both locations use different settings for the same item. The EPS32 uses a 'partitions' directory with CSV files to describe the memory layouts of the flash.

ChipOSPackage LocationEsptoolVersionMkSpiffs


Open VS Code and press F1 or Ctrl+Shift+P to open command palette, select Install Extension and type vscode-esp8266fs.

Or launch VS Code Quick Open (Ctrl+P), paste the following command, and press enter.

You can also install directly from the Marketplace within Visual Studio Code: search for ESP8266FS.

Getting Started

Visual Studio Code Arduino Ide

After installing this extension, you need to:

  1. Create a new VSCode Project via the Arduino for Visual Studio Code extension (Command: Arduino: Initialize) or a new sketch with the Arduino IDE (File/New).

  2. Add the URL to the Additional Board URL settings.

  3. Either:

    a. Install the ESP8266 board from the Board Manager: (VSCode: Arduino: Board Manager, or IDE: Tools/Board/Board Manager...).

    b. Install the ESP32 board using the instructions in their

  4. Select an ESP8266/ESP32 board as the target development board.

  5. Select the desired SPIFFS program/storage split (Arduino: Tools/Flash Size..., VSCode: arduino.changeBoardType).

  6. Create and populate a directory with the files to be uploaded to the target ESP??? SPIFFS partition - i.e. that will replace the current SPIFFS contents!

  7. Set the esp8266fs.dataFiles setting to point the base directory of the files that will be uploaded. If the default directory ./data is used, this setting can be ignored.

  8. Optionally - Set the esp8266fs.spiffsImage setting to a filename that mkspiffs will create.

  9. Done - you can now run the commands provided by this extension on the esp8266fs.dataFiles and esp8266fs.spiffsImage.

Note: Maximum length of a file name in SPIFFS is 32 characters. Subdirectories are 'simulated' in that a file name really contains the '/' of the file's folder. I.e. a file stored at '/abc/def/ghi.txt' has a name with 16 characters. Files are packed relative to the path setting and not of the base OS.


All of the commands send their spew to the ESP8266FS OUTPUT window. The amount of spew is dictated by the logLevel. Setting it to 'debug' will send more spew back to the hosting debugger and has no effect on using the extension.

NameCommand idDescription
ESP8266FS: Upload SPIFFSesp8266fs.uploadSpiffsUpload a SPIFFS image.
ESP8266FS: Download SPIFFSesp8266fs.downloadSpiffsDownload a SPIFFS image.
ESP8266FS: Pack SPIFFSesp8266fs.packSpiffsCreates the SPIFFS image.
ESP8266FS: Unpack SPIFFSesp8266fs.unpackSpiffsUnpacks the contents of a SPIFFS image.
ESP8266FS: List SPIFFSesp8266fs.listSpiffsList the contents of a SPIFFS image.
ESP8266FS: Visualize SPIFFSesp8266fs.visualizeSpiffs'Visualizes' the contents of a SPIFFS image.


ESP8266FS: Upload SPIFFS - This command sends the esp8266fs.spiffsImage to the ESP8266 using the esptool, or tool (depending on the output port or target chip).



ESP8266FS: Download SPIFFS - This command fetchs the esp8266fs.spiffsImage from the ESP8266 using the (EPS8266 users can point esp8266fs.esptool.executable to a copy of


ESP8266FS: Pack SPIFFS - this command packs all of the files in the esp8266fs.dataFiles subdirectory using the mkspiffs tool into the esp8266fs.spiffsImage file.


ESP8266FS: Unpack SPIFFS - this command will take the esp8266fs.spiffsImage and unpack all the contents into the esp8266fs.dataFiles folder using the mkspiffs tool.


ESP8266FS: List SPIFFS - this command will list the contents of the esp8266fs.spiffsImage using the mkspiffs tool.


ESP8266FS: Visualize SPIFFS - this command will 'visualize' the contents of the esp8266fs.spiffsImage using the mkspiffs tool.


The following Visual Studio Code settings are available for the ESP8266FS extension. These can be set in the global user preferences Ctrl+, or workspace settings (.vscode/settings.json). The later overrides the former. None of these settings are necessary as all have default values, or are deduced from the environment.



  • python.pythonPath - Path to the python executable; as defined by the VSCode Python Environment. Can be set via the Python: Select Interpreter command. If not specified, then 'python' will be used. Only needed if using OTA (


  • esp8266fs.dataFiles - Location of the base directory of the files to be uploaded to the ESP8266's SPIFFS. File names will be generated relative to this path. Default is './data'.

  • esp8266fs.preferencesPath - Location of the Arduino IDE's 'preferences.txt' file and installed libraries. This value does not need to be set, but exists to override the default location.

  • esp8266fs.spiffsImage - Name of the packed SPIFFS image. Default is './spiffs.image'.

  • esp8266fs.logLevel - Changes the amount of spew produced. Set to either normal, verbose, silent, or debug. Default is normal.


  • esp8266fs.mkspiffs.executable - Path to mkspiffs executable. If not specified, then ESP8266FS will attempt to locate it through the Arduino settings.

  • esp8266fs.mkspiffs.debugLevel - Debug spew level for mkspiffs. Default is 0.

  • esp8266fs.mkspiffs.allFiles - Tells mkspiffs to include ignored files (.DS_Store and .git directories). Default is false.


  • esp8266fs.esptool.executable - Path to esptool executable. If not specified, then ESP8266FS will attempt to locate it through the Arduino settings.

  • esp8266fs.esptool.verbosity - esptool verbosity. Add more v's to be more verbose. Default is no v's.

  • - 'What to do before connecting to the chip'.

  • - 'What to do after is finished'.

  • - 'Disable launching the flasher stub, only talk to ROM'.

  • - 'Enable trace-level output of interactions'.

  • - 'Override default SPI Flash connection. Value can be SPI, HSPI or a comma-separated list of 5 I/O numbers to use for SPI flash (CLK,Q,D,HD,CS)'.

  • - 'Compress data in transfer (default 'true' unless 'no-stub' is specified)'.

  • - 'Verify just-written data on flash (mostly superfluous, data is read back during flashing)'.


  • - Path to the espota python script. If not specified, then ESP8266FS will attempt to locate it through the Arduino settings.

  • esp8266fs.espota.esp.port - IP port for the target ESP8266. Default is 8266.

  • - IP address for the host. Default is ''.

  • - IP port for the host. Default is a random port: 10000-60000.

  • esp8266fs.espota.auth - Authentication password for the espota python script. Default is not set.

  • esp8266fs.espota.debug - Enables debug output from the espota python script. Default is false.


The following settings are per sketch settings (*defined by the Arduino for Visual Studio Code plugin). You can find them in .vscode/arduino.json in the workspace. The .vscode/arduino.json file has 'per sketch' settings.

Visual Studio Code Esp8266 Download

  • port - Name of the serial port connected to the device. Can be set by the Arduino: Select Serial Port command. Alternatively, if you specify an IP address (x.x.x.x), then the script will be executed to communicate with the ESP8266 (OTA = Over The Air).

  • board - Current selected Arduino board alias. Can be set by the Arduino: Change Board Type command. Also, you can find the board list there.

  • configuration - (Undocumented) A comma-delimited string of the configuration settings selected for all board 'menu' items. ESP8266FS relies on four key/value pairs in the string: FlashSize, FlashMode, FlashFreq and ResetMethod.

Alternatively, if the .vscode/arduino.json file doesn't exist, or a particular setting is not defined, then the settings in the Arduino IDE's preferences.txt file will be used instead. This file is generated by the Arduino IDE and is set globally for ALL sketches.



You can find the full list of issues at Issue Tracker, and you can submit a bug or feature suggestion.


Installing Prerequisites:

Visual Studio Code Esp8266 Key

  • Node.js (>= 6.5.0)
  • Npm (>= 3.10.3)

To run and develop, do the following:

  1. git clone
  2. cd vscode-esp8266fs.
  3. Open in Visual Studio Code (code .).
  4. Install the dependent NPM packages (Tasks/Run Task.../Install NPM packages).
  5. Press F5 to debug.

Change Log

See the Change log for the details of changes for each version.

Known Issues

None - that I know of. Please submit a bug or feature suggestion if you find something amiss.

Release Notes

Visual Studio Platformio Esp8266

[1.1.0] 2018-5-23

  • Added support for the ESP32 library package (espressif/esp32).
  • Added support for '' found in the ESP32 library.
  • FlashSize now supports 'generic' settings.
  • Changed package.json 'keyword' from 'iot' -> 'ESP32'.
  • 'esp8266fs.upload' now only uploads - pack is done separately.
  • Added '' for user of ''.
  • Added 'esp8266fs.arduinoUserPath' setting.
  • Added '' settings.
  • Removed unnecessary code.

[1.0.1] 2018-4-7

  • Fixed errata and ran markdownlint on all .md files.
  • Fixed all missing overrides. Expanded OTA overrides.
  • Added esp8266.packSpiffs command.
  • Made showErrorMessage modal.
  • Added '#region' tags to source code.
  • Refactored 'upload' to minimize external tool requirements.
  • Removed esp8266fs.python, defering to python.pythonPath.

[1.0.0] 2018-2-13

  • Fixed errata and expanded documentation.
  • Located correctly.
  • Changed esp8266fs.uploadData -> esp8266fs.uploadSpiffs.
  • Added esp8266fs.unpackSpiffs, esp8266fs.listSpiffs, and esp8266fs.visualizeSpiffs.
  • Added a variety of settings.json values to allow full control of the mkspiffs *rocess.
  • Fixed various bugs and cleaned up code heirarchy.
  • Updated Github infrastructure.
  • Tested on Windows, OSX, and Linux (Ubuntu).

[0.9.0] - 2018-02-11

  • Initial release - out for review.


This extension is licensed under the MIT License.