Compound debug configurations

Often you need to run multiple processes at once, but debug them as if they were the same project. A common scenario for this is running a React, Angular or Vue app, along with some sort of API service using Express or Hapi. VS Code has a feature called "Compound Launch Configurations" that allow you to launch multiple debug processes at one.

  • Open "4-compound-launch-config"

  • Start the frontend application

  • Create two launch configs..

    • One for the Node process that runs in the "/server" folder

    • One of the Chrome process that runs from the root

  • Create a compound launch config that includes both of the above configs

  • Run the compound launch config

  • Add a breakpoint to "src/App.js"

  • Add a breakpoint to "server/routes/index.js"

  • Hit both the breakpoints

  • Open a new integrated terminal instance (Cmd/Ctrl + `)

  • Make sure that you are in the "4-compound-launch-config" folder

  • Run the frontend application with npm start

  • Open the Debug Explorer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + D)

  • Open the dropdown list and select "Add Config (4-compound-launch-config)

  • Select "Chrome" from the prompt

  • Modify the launch config so that it looks like this...

// Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
// Hover to view descriptions of existing attributes.
// For more information, visit:
"version": "0.2.0",
"configurations": [
"type": "chrome",
"request": "launch",
"name": "Launch Chrome",
"url": "http://localhost:3000",
"webRoot": "${workspaceFolder}/src"
  • Click the "Add Configuration" button


  • Select "Node.js Launch Program" from the list

  • Change the "program" value in the "Launch Program" config to be "${workspaceFolder}/server/server.js"

"type": "node",
"request": "launch",
"name": "Launch Program",
"program": "${workspaceFolder}/server/server.js"
  • Right above the "configurations" attribute, add a "compound" attribute. Start typing and then select "compound" from the auto-complete.

  • Name it "Launch Project 4"

  • Set the "configurations" attribute to...

"compounds": [
"name": "Launch Project 4",
"configurations": ["Launch Program", "Launch Chrome"]
  • Select "Launch Project 4" from the dropdown list in the Debug Explorer

  • Press the green button next to the dropdown list

  • VS Code will launch a new instance of Chrome and start the Express server project.

  • Add a breakpoint to line 12 in the "server/routes/index.js" file

  • Add a breakpoint to line 39 in the "src/App.js" file

  • Change the color in the app and press the button

  • Hit the breakpoints