Rust in Gitpod

Welcome, Rustacean!

Rust is a first-class language in Gitpod, and we believe that Gitpod is a great tool for Rust projects. Some of Gitpod’s core developers frequently work with Rust code (in Gitpod), and several key components of Gitpod are written in Rust:

  • The fantastic language support is provided by the rls
  • The blazing-fast workspace search is powered by ripgrep

Rust Version

Both Rust v1.39.0 stable and nightly are pre-installed in Gitpod. Stable is the default, but you can switch to the nightly version of Rust by running rustup default nightly in a terminal.

Note: If you try to use rustup in your Dockerfile, you might get the following error:

/bin/sh: rustup command not found

To fix this you’ll need to wrap the rustup command in a login shell, like so:

RUN bash -cl "rustup toolchain install nightly"

You can override this default by committing a rustup-toolchain file in the root of your repository. Say for example you need the nightly compiler for March 4th, 2020, you would create a rustup-toolchain file and add the following


which will set the required Rust version and if you commit the file into source control it will set the default nightly version across all workspaces.

Example Repositories

Here are a few Rust example projects that are already automated with Gitpod:

Repository Description Try it
MathLang Basic maths language in Rust Open in Gitpod
NuShell A next-gen shell for the GitHub era Open in Gitpod
Servo The Servo Browser Engine Open in Gitpod

Workspace Configuration

VSCode Extensions

The most popular Rust VSCode extensions come prebuilt in Gitpod but here are some “nice to have” extensions:

Rust Test Explorer

Rust test explorer example

The Rust Test Explorer makes it easy to run Rust tests. To install this extension to your repository, add the following to your .gitpod.yml:

    - hbenl.vscode-test-explorer@2.15.0:koqDUMWDPJzELp/hdS/lWw==
    - Swellaby.vscode-rust-test-adapter@0.11.0:Xg+YeZZQiVpVUsIkH+uiiw==


Note: This extension outputs emojis by default if the crate version is set at the latest. You can disable this by using crates.upToDateDecorator option in your preferences

A crates extension demo The VSCode extension Crates makes it easier to manage your Cargo dependency versions. To install this extension to your repository add the following to your .gitpod.yml

    - serayuzgur.crates@0.4.7:HMkoguLcXp9M3ud7ac3eIw==


An example of search extension

Do you have an idea of a library you want to use but don’t know the version well just type in the name of the library and Search will get the version. To install this extension to your repository add the following to your .gitpod.yml


Better TOML

TOML Syntax highlighting example

Better TOML adds syntax highlighting to your Cargo.toml. To install Better TOML to your repository, add the following to your .gitpod.yml file:

    - bungcip.better-toml@0.3.2:3QfgGxxYtGHfJKQU7H0nEw==


In this section we will show you how to configure your project for debugging in Gitpod.

First, before we get to that we need to get some prerequisites set-up first we’ll add the needed extension

If you haven’t added extensions to your repository already add the following snippet to your .gitpod.yml file:

    - webfreak.debug@0.24.0:1zVcRsAhewYEX3/A9xjMNw==

If you already added a extension just add the following below your other extensions.

    - webfreak.debug@0.24.0:1zVcRsAhewYEX3/A9xjMNw==

The last prerequisite is a docker configuration.

If you already have a .gitpod.Dockerfile just add the following:

RUN sudo apt-get -q update \
    && sudo apt-get install -yq \
        libpython3.6 \
        rust-lldb \
    && sudo rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*

ENV RUST_LLDB=/usr/bin/lldb-8

If not there are two steps first create a file called .gitpod.Dockerfile with the following content:

FROM gitpod/workspace-full

USER gitpod

RUN sudo apt-get -q update \
    && sudo apt-get install -yq \
        libpython3.6 \
        rust-lldb \
    && sudo rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*

ENV RUST_LLDB=/usr/bin/lldb-8

Next add the following to your .gitpod.yml file:

  file: .gitpod.Dockerfile

Now that thats out of the way, here is a video on how to configure the debug configuration

Rust debugging example

So, basically in this video we:

  1. Go to the debug menu and select “Add Configuration…”
  2. Next, in the dropdown choose “GDB: Launch Program”
  3. Go to the Cargo.toml file and find the name of the program.
  4. Modify the target field and change it to ${workspaceFolder}/target/debug/<PROGRAM_NAME> where <PROGRAM_NAME> is the name of the program under the name field in the Cargo.toml file.
  5. Add another property to the created file called preLaunchTask and set it to “cargo”
  6. Go to the terminal menu and click configure tasks
  7. Select cargo build from the menu that pops up
  8. change the tag type to command
  9. change the tag subcommand to args and the value to ["build"]
  10. Next remove the problemMatcher field.
  11. Add a field called type and set it to process
  12. Add a field called label and set it to cargo
  13. Go to the Rust file you want to debug
  14. Add a breakpoint or two
  15. Go back to the debug menu that has the crossed out spider
  16. Click the green run button.
  17. Finally, start debugging your Rust program!

You can also create the Rust debug configuration file manually

To start debugging your Rust application in Gitpod, please create a new directory called .theia/, and inside add a file called launch.json, add the following to it:

  // Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
  // Hover to view descriptions of existing attributes.
  "version": "0.2.0",
  "configurations": [
          "type": "gdb",
          "request": "launch",
          "name": "Debug Rust Code",
          "preLaunchTask": "cargo",
          "target": "${workspaceFolder}/target/debug/rust_debug",
          "cwd": "${workspaceFolder}",
          "valuesFormatting": "parseText"

Next create another file in the same .theia/ directory called tasks.json with the following content:

    "tasks": [
            "command": "cargo",
            "args": [
            "type": "process",
            "label": "cargo",

Then, simply open the Rust file you want to debug, add some breakpoints, and open the Debug panel (in the left vertical toolbar, click the icon with the crossed-out-spider), and click the green “Run” button.

To see a basic repository with Rust debugging configured, please check out gitpod-io/Gitpod-Rust-Debug:

Open in Gitpod

Further Reading

Still Have Questions?

Please reach out. We’re happy to answer them.