Visual Studio Code Extension to support code development primarily for BBC Micro, but it might be useful for other 6502 based machines.
Visual Studio Code is free and really good for general retro/6502 development, so this extension was created to enhance the experience by providing syntax colouring for 6502 opcodes, labels, and BBC BASIC commands & functions supported by BeebAsm.
- All 6502 op-codes (no 65C02 op codes yet)
- .label style labels
- $ or & style hex constants
- All BBC BASIC style keywords (such as TAN, RND, MOD, DIV etc.)
- All BeebAsm directives (such as ORG, GUARD, SKIP etc.)
- Assemble & test 6502 projects all within Visual Studio Code
- Assembly errors are parsed and sent to VSC's built-in error navigation view
- Uses Visual Studio Code tasks for building & testing
- Easily create new build targets (supports multiple targets within a project folder)
- Easily select 'default' build targets
- Run build targets in the emulator of your choice
1. Install the extension
Press CTRL+Shift+X in VSCode, search for 'beeb vsc' or 'beebasm', click install.
2. Install Assembler and Emulator
By default, BeebVSC configures
BeebAsm.exe as the default assembler, and
BeebEm.exe as the default emulator, and assumes that these executables are can be located on the system path. If not, simply add paths to them in your global windows environment variables.
3. Load your project
Open your project folder in VSC. Syntax colouring will automatically activate when
.s files are opened in the editor.
4. Create a new build target
F10 and the extension will provide a drop down list of compatible source files it has found in the current workspace.
Select the one that you wish to assemble with
BeebAsm, and a new build target will be created in your workspace.
tasks.json file will be created in a
.vscode folder in your workspace containing the required tasks to build or run your targets.
5. Build the target
Ctrl+Shift+B and Visual Studio Code will build(assemble) the source file you selected and output a disk image
Any errors output by the assembler will be captured in Visual Studio Code's
6. Run the target
Ctrl+Shift+T and Visual Studio Code will run your disk image with the currently configured emulator (
BeebEm by default)
That's it! Have fun!
Changing Assembler and/or Emulator configuration
If you wish to change your Assembler or Emulator configuration, go to
File->Preferences->User Settings in Visual Studio Code, the editor will present current user preferences. Scroll to the bottom of the configuration until you see the BeebVSC settings. Copy the settings
"beebvsc.emulator" across to your user settings and modify accordingly. Note that although full paths to executables can be included here, we do not recommend this since they are not portable if your project source is shared.
Managing multiple build targets
You can run the add build target command multiple times to add additional source files to the list of build targets in the
Switching between build targets
It is possible to switch between build targets as follows:
F6 and the extension will provide a drop down list of build targets currently in the
The selection you make will become the new default 'build' and 'test' target, which can then be built as normal by pressing
Ctrl+Shift+B, or similarly, pressing
Ctrl+Shift+T to run in the emulator.
NOTE: It is not possible to add duplicate targets, also note that only one target can be built at once.
Ctrl+Shift+P to open the command palette. In here you will see the BeebVSC commands listed for reference/convenience.
Running specific tasks
BeebVSC takes advantage of standard Visual Studio Code 'tasks', which are just a list of named shell commands stored in the
.vscode/tasks.json file. Each task is 'runnable' in its own right, so another useful shortcut is
Ctrl+Shift+R to list all of the current tasks, which you can then manually select.
Adding custom tasks
The BeebVSC extension is careful to preserve the contents of the
tasks.json file. Therefore once targets(tasks) have been added, is very easy to manually configure or override them by simply making modifications to the
tasks.json file directly:
- You can rename targets if you wish, there is no logic dependent on this
- You can modify commandline arguments if you wish
- You can your own additional commandline tasks if you like (eg. for compiling other data etc.)
- You can manually remove tasks if you wish
The only properties that are managed by the extension are the
isTestCommand, so these are subject to modification.
Note also that the commandline argument for the task marked as
isTestCommand is managed by the extension, and updates whenever a new build target is selected.
Command Line format
Due to constraints in the way that Visual Studio Code handles tasks, BeebVSC tasks must be executed as single arguments to a shell such as
There is none, but its probably quite feasible to get it working.
- 0.0.6 - Added full build environment support via JS script to extension
- 0.0.5 - Test version
- 0.0.4 - Test update
- 0.0.3 - Initial version
Possible further features to add
- Support for BBC BASIC text files (can be compiled to SSD via BeebAsm) and full syntax colouring
- Support 'remove target' feature
- Support different 6502 assemblers
- Support full 6502 debugging via a VSC debug-adapter (way beyond my pay grade, but maybe someone out there fancies a challenge! ;))
Contributions, suggestions or bug reports to this extension are welcome, via the Beeb-VSC GitHub repository
The language syntax system VSC uses is based on TextMate, which basically a bunch of regular expressions.
For your sanity when messing with these, I highly recommend this site to help make sense of those regexes!
Building this VSC extension
If you are looking at this repo to help you write your own VSC extension, great!, that's exactly how I figured it out too, so here's some tips for you, (as well as a future reference for me!)
To build VSC extensions, you'll need to install node.js (I used chocolatey on Windows for this)
If you are building/testing the extension, you'll need to clone the repo, then type
npm install in the workspace folder to install the
Finally, use the vsce tool to publish (you'll need to setup an account on Microsoft team services site so you can publish the extension to their marketplace).
The official Microsoft documentation for Visual Studio Code extensions is still a bit light on detail, so I figured out a lot by simply looking at how other folks had implemented bits and pieces in their extensions. So here's a list of useful references:
BBC Micro/6502 Resources: