Generate Go types and signatures for the LSP protocol


Make sure node and tsc are installed and in your PATH. There are detailed instructions below. (tsc -v should be at least 4.2.4.) Get the typescript code for the jsonrpc protocol with

git clone vscode-languageserver-node.git or git clone

util.ts expects it to be in your HOME directory

If you want to reproduce the existing files you need to be on a branch with the same git hash that util.ts expects, for instance, git checkout 7b90c29


Code is generated and normalized by

tsc && node code.js && gofmt -w ts*.go

(code.ts imports util.ts.) This generates 3 files in the current directory, tsprotocol.go containing type definitions, and tsserver.go, tsclient.go containing API stubs.


  1. code.ts and util.ts use the Typescript compiler's API, which is introduced in their wiki.
  2. Because the Typescript and Go type systems are incompatible, code.ts and util.ts are filled with heuristics and special cases. Therefore they are tied to a specific commit of vscode-languageserver-node. The hash code of the commit is included in the header of the generated files and stored in the variable gitHash in go.ts. It is checked (see git() in util.ts) on every execution.
  3. Generating the ts*.go files is only semi-automated. Please file an issue if the released version is too far behind.
  4. For the impatient, first change gitHash by hand (git() shows how to find the hash).
    1. Then try to run code.ts. This will likely fail because the heuristics don't cover some new case. For instance, some simple type like string might have changed to a union type string | [number,number]. Another example is that some generated formal parameter may have anonymous structure type, which is essentially unusable.
    2. Next step is to move the generated code to internal/lsp/protocol and try to build gopls and its tests. This will likely fail because types have changed. Generally the fixes are fairly easy. Then run all the tests.
    3. Since there are not adequate integration tests, the next step is to run gopls.

Detailed instructions for installing node and typescript

(The instructions are somewhat different for Linux and MacOS. They install some things locally, so $PATH needs to be changed.)

  1. For Linux, it is possible to build node from scratch, but if there‘s a package manager, that’s simpler.
    1. To use the Ubuntu package manager
      1. sudo apt update (if you can't sudo then these instructions are not helpful)
      2. sudo apt install nodejs (this may install /usr/bin/nodejs rather than /usr/bin/node. For me, /usr/bin/nodejs pointed to an actual executable /etc/alternatives/nodejs, which should be copied to /usr/bin/node)
      3. sudo apt intall npm
    2. To build from scratch
      1. Go to the node site, and download the one recommended for most users, and then you‘re on your own. (It’s got binaries in it. Untar the file somewhere and put its bin directory in your path, perhaps?)
  2. The Mac is easier. Download the macOS installer from nodejs, click on it, and let it install.
  3. (There's a good chance that soon you will be asked to upgrade your new npm. sudo npm install -g npm is the command.)
  4. For either system, node and nvm should now be available. Running node -v and npm -v should produce version numbers.
  5. npm install typescript
    1. This will likely give warning messages that indicate you've failed to set up a project. Ignore them.
    2. Your home directory will now have new directories .npm and node_modules (and a package_lock.json file)
    3. The typescript executable tsc will be in node_modules/.bin, so put that directory in your path.
    4. tsc -v should print “Version 4.2.4” (or later). If not you may (as I did) have an obsolete tsc earlier in your path.
  6. npm install @types/node (Without this there will be many incomprehensible typescript error messages.)