Define your project as a TypeScript project

Typescript is a de-facto standard for developing JavaScript Apps with Node.js, NativeScript and Angular2.

Visual Studio Code is language agnostic. You must give Visual Studio specific information to properly manage your code files.

To tell Visual Studio Code that you want to code with the TypeScript language, you must do two things:

  • Download the TypeScript package;
  • run the tsc --init command.

To install TypeScript type the following command:

npm install typescript --save-dev

You should type this command in the Terminal Window opened from Visual Studio Code.

This command uses the install command of npm. More details about this command are provided at

The --save-dev option means that TypeScript is a development dependency for your project. It makes sense since you will develop all your App in TypeScript.

A development dependency means you need this package to develop and debug your application. But you do not need this package in the target execution environment.

The npm install command did two things:

  • It downloaded the package and all its dependencies within a sub folder of your project. This sub folder is called node_modules. The node_modules folder is the host for every npm packages you will install within your project;
  • It updated the package.json file.

Go back to Visual Studio Code to see these two changes:

A new folder called node_modules is now present inside your project folder.

A new entry called devDependencies has been created in the package.json file.

Now you need to run the tsc --init command to tell Visual Studio Code you are coding in TypeScript.

Before typing this command, you need to know where this command is living.

The node_modules folder has a .bin sub-folder and a typescript sub-folder. The typescript sub-folder contains the downloaded typescript package. The .bin folder contains commands or executable files related to the downloaded packages.

If you open the .bin folder you will see a tsc command. This tsc command is the TypeScript CLI. This means that any action related to TypeScript, like compiling to JavaScript, will be done through this command line.

Any command or executable file in the .bin folder can be invoked in two ways.

The first way is to open the .bin directory in a Terminal window and then call the CLI from this command window. To do this go back to Visual Studio and right-click the .bin folder then select the option Open in Terminal. In this Terminal window type ./tsc: you will get the help for the TypeScript CLI.

But if you just type tsc in the Terminal window, you will get the following message:

tsc: command not found

To invoke the TypeScript CLI directly in the project Terminal window, the Typescript package must be installed globally.

To do this, type the following command:

npm install typescript --global

Now you can run the following command the Terminal window (This Terminal window must be opened from the Command Palette of Visual Studio Code) :

tsc --init

The tsc --init command creates a new file at the root of your project folder. The name of this file is tsconfig.json.

The tsconfig.json file tells Visual Studio that your project is a TypeScript project.

Go back to Visual Studio Code to see this new file:

Learn more about tsconfig.json in next section.


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