Debugging with Visual Studio Code

The Live Lambda Development environment runs a Node.js process locally. This allows you to use Visual Studio Code to debug your serverless apps live.

You can also configure VS Code to debug your tests. Let's look at how to set this up.

Launch Configurations#

To set these up, add the following to .vscode/launch.json.

"version": "0.2.0",
"configurations": [
"name": "Debug SST Start",
"type": "node",
"request": "launch",
"runtimeExecutable": "${workspaceRoot}/node_modules/.bin/sst",
"runtimeArgs": ["start", "--increase-timeout"],
"console": "integratedTerminal",
"skipFiles": ["<node_internals>/**"]
"name": "Debug SST Tests",
"type": "node",
"request": "launch",
"runtimeExecutable": "${workspaceRoot}/node_modules/.bin/sst",
"args": ["test", "--runInBand", "--no-cache", "--watchAll=false"],
"cwd": "${workspaceRoot}",
"protocol": "inspector",
"console": "integratedTerminal",
"internalConsoleOptions": "neverOpen",
"env": { "CI": "true" },
"disableOptimisticBPs": true

This contains two launch configurations:

  • Debug SST Start

    Runs the sst start command in debug mode. Allowing you to set breakpoints to your Lambda functions. It also uses the integratedTerminal mode to allow you to press ENTER when you need to update your CDK infrastructure.

  • Debug SST Tests

    Runs the sst test command in debug mode. Allowing you to set breakpoints in your Jest tests.

Debug Lambda Functions#

Next, head over to the Run And Debug tab and for the debug configuration select Debug SST Start.

VS Code debug SST start

Now you can set a breakpoint and start your app by pressing F5 or by clicking Run > Start Debugging. Then triggering your Lambda function will cause VS Code to stop at your breakpoint.

Increasing Timeouts#

By default the timeout for a Lambda function might not be long enough for you to view the breakpoint info. So we need to increase this. We use the --increase-timeout option for the sst start command in our launch.json.

"runtimeArgs": ["start", "--increase-timeout"],

This increases our Lambda function timeouts to their maximum value of 15 minutes. For APIs the timeout cannot be increased more than 30 seconds. But you can continue debugging the Lambda function, even after the API request times out.

Debug Tests#

Similarly, you can debug the tests in your project by selecting the Debug SST Tests option in the debug configuration dropdown.

VS Code debug SST tests

This allows you to set breakpoints in your tests and debug them.

Example Project#

We have an example project with the VS Code setup that you can use as a reference.