AWS Developer Tools Blog

Improvements to the connection experience in the AWS Toolkit for VS Code

AWS Toolkit for VS Code has shipped improvements that help customers setting up a new machine without AWS credentials files (typically in “~/.aws/”—the “.aws” directory of the machine home folder). Setting up credentials is the first step to working with AWS cloud resources, but it’s not a frequent task, so one often needs to read documentation to remember how to create credentials and where AWS tools expect to find them. The improvements to AWS Toolkit help with this experience.

What’s New

AWS Toolkit 1.47 includes several improvements to the “starting from zero” experience for connecting to AWS. First-time install of AWS Toolkit offers a “walkthrough” to onboard new customers, including a step-by-step guide showing how to create credentials for the first time. You can also visit the walkthrough at any time in VS Code by the Get Started: Open Walkthrough... command.

AWS Toolkit ensures syntax highlighting for ~/.aws/credentials and ~/.aws/config files, to make comments and sections visually standout, and to flag basic syntax errors.

If ~/.aws/credentials is missing, the AWS Toolkit “Connect to AWS” action will start the “Create Credentials” wizard, which guides the customer through the steps to add a profile for connecting to AWS. This command validates credentials dynamically during the creation process to provide realtime feedback, to reduce the time to setup credentials. It also allows navigating back to any step in the wizard to correct errors.

Because customer feedback strongly signaled that editing ~/.aws files is a common task, AWS Toolkit introduced an “Edit Credentials” command which opens the ~/.aws/credentials and ~/.aws/config files, where customers can find their credentials profiles used by all AWS tools such as AWS CLI, AWS SDKs, and AWS Toolkit. The “Choose AWS Profile” picker menu—which is available from the “AWS” status bar, the AWS Explorer panel, and the command palette—now always shows the “Edit Credentials” action, so this common task is available any time you’re working with credentials.

Future improvements

In this post, we briefly overview the improvements made to the ‘Connect to AWS’ experience using the AWS Toolkit for VS Code. Install or update the Toolkit to see these changes in action. Our roadmap includes plans for more improvements, including guided setup of SSO and MFA and improved detection of external modifications to ~/.aws files, and invite you to contribute feedback by submitting issues on GitHub, or by using the “Send Feedback” action in AWS Toolkit.