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TypeScript Services commandline server

(if you are upgrading from an older version, see CHANGES.txt)


typescript-tools (v0.2) provides access to the TypeScript Language Services (v0.9) via a simple commandline server (tss). This makes it easy to build editor plugins supporting TypeScript. A Vim plugin (typescript_tss.vim) is included. If you build plugins for other editors/IDEs based on typescript-tools, please let me know, or better: announce them on our new project mailing list.

There is now a project mailing list:

I expect our mailing list to be low volume, carrying announcements, calls for help/collaboration and discussions related to typescript-tools and plugins based on it. For reporting bugs in typescript-tools itself (server or vim plugin), please use our issue tracker instead.


npm installation goes somewhat like this - via github:

# install git and node/npm, then
$ git clone git://
$ cd typescript-tools/
$ npm install -g

or via the npm registry:

$ npm install -g typescript-tools

The installation should give you a global tss command, which you can use directly, as in this sample session (note the absolute paths, which will differ in your installation):

$ tss tests/test.ts
"loaded c:/javascript/typescript/0.9/typescript-tools/tests/test.ts, TSS listening.."
type 4 2 c:/javascript/typescript/0.9/typescript-tools/tests/test.ts
{"memberName":{"prefix":"{ ","suffix":"}","delim":"; ","entries":[{"prefix":"a: ","suffix":"","delim":"","entries":[{"prefix":"number","suffix":"","delim":"","entries":[{"prefix":"","suffix":"","delim":"","entries":[]}]}]},{"prefix":"b: ","suffix":"","delim":"","entries":[{"prefix":"number","suffix":"","delim":"","entries":[{"prefix":"","suffix":"","delim":"","entries":[]}]}]}]},"docComment":"","fullSymbolName":"x","kind":"var","minChar":41,"limChar":42,"type":"{ a: number; b: number; }"}
> definition 4 2 c:/javascript/typescript/0.9/typescript-tools/tests/test.ts
> completions true 4 4 c:/javascript/typescript/0.9/typescript-tools/tests/test.ts
"TSS closing"

If you want to use tss from Vim, add the typescript-tools directory to your Vim's rtp. If you want to use this from other editors/IDEs, you will need to write some code, to communicate with tss as an asynchronous subprocess (please let me know how it goes, especially if you release a working plugin).

From-source compilation should not be necessary, as a pre-compiled bin/tss.js is included, as well as a bin/lib.d.ts. You might want to modify bin/defaultLibs.d.ts, if you want other declaration files included by default.

If you do want to compile from source, you need the typescript sources (I used the develop branch, see CHANGES.txt for details):

# install git and node/npm, then
$ git clone
$ git clone git://
$ (cd typescript; git checkout develop)
$ node typescript/bin/tsc.js typescript-tools/tss.ts -target es5 -out typescript-tools/bin/tss.js

TypeScript tools currently available:

tss.ts: TypeScript Services Server

Simple commandline interface (commands in, info out) to TypeScript Services. Currently supported commands (with indication of purpose and output format) include:

type <line> <pos> <file>
  // get type information
  { type: string
  , docComment: string
definition <line> <pos> <file>
  // get location of definition
  { file: string
  , min:  { line: number, character: number }
  , lim:  { line: number, character: number }
completions (true|false) <line> <pos> <file>
  // get member/non-member completions
  { entries: [{name: string, type?: string, docComment?: string}, ...]
completions-brief (true|false) <line> <pos> <file>
  // get member/non-member completions without type/docComment details
  { entries: [{name: string}, ...]
references <line> <pos> <file>
  // get references
  [{ file: string
   , min:  { line: number, character: number }
   , lim:  { line: number, character: number }
update (nocheck)? <linecount> <file> // followed by linecount lines of source text
  // provide current source, if there are unsaved changes
  "updated <file>, (<syntax>/<semantics>) errors"
  or (probably not a good idea to use this)
  "added <file>, (<syntax>/<semantics>) errors"
  // reload current project (chasing dependencies from <rootfile>)
  "reloaded <rootfile>, TSS listening.."
  // list files in current project
structure <file>
  // list quick navigation items for <file>; experimental
  // (currently, this exposes getScriptLexicalStructure data directly)
  [{ file: string
   , min:  { line: number, character: number }
   , lim:  { line: number, character: number }
   , loc: <data returned from services>
  // show compilation errors for current project
  [{file:  string
   ,start: {line: number, character: number}
   ,end:   {line: number, character: number}
   ,text:  string
   ,phase: string
   ,category: string
   , ...
  // quit tss
  "TSS closing"

Start tss with project root file - may take several seconds to load all dependencies; then enter commands and get JSON info or error messages (NOTE: commands take absolute file paths, adjust example to your installation); for a sample session, see tests/ (commands in test.script, output in script.out).

vim interface to tss.js

Needs Vim 7.3 (plus Python 2.7 with json lib): this repo includes a Vim filetype plugin for the typescript filetype, so just add the path to the repo to your Vim's runtime path and enable filetype plugins.

filetype plugin on
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.ts setlocal filetype=typescript
set rtp+=<your_path_here>/typescript-tools/

If you want to use the npm-installed package path for typescript-tools instead of your local git repo path, this npm command should tell you the installed package path:

npm ls -sg --parseable typescript-tools

Currently assumes that node is in path and that tss has been npm-installed globally. See top of file ftplugin/typescript_tss.vim for configuration options.

In practice, you'll use :TSSstarthere, :TSSend, :TSSreload, TSStype, TSSdef*, as well as CTRL-X CTRL-O for insert mode completion. Sometimes, calling :TSSshowErrors directly can give enough error information for the current file -- eventually, you'll probably have to call :TSSreload to account for changes in dependencies.

Vim plugin usage tips

  1. the plugin collaborates with a tss server running in the background (via python and nodejs)
  2. the tss server will pick up source file dependencies (via import and references)
  3. start the tss server while editing your main source file (or your main reference file), by issueing :TSSstarthere
  4. now you can use the other commands (or :TSSend, to get rid of the background server), even while opening TS sources from the same project in different windows or tabs (but in the same Vim instance)

Vim plugin commands

" echo symbol/type of item under cursor
command! TSSsymbol
command! TSStype
" browse url for ES5 global property/method under cursor
command! TSSbrowse
" jump to definition of item under cursor
command! TSSdef
command! TSSdefpreview
command! TSSdefsplit
command! TSSdeftab
" create location list for references
command! TSSreferences
" navigation menu for current file structure
command! TSSstructure
" update TSS with current file source
command! TSSupdate
" show TSS errors, with updated current file
command! TSSshowErrors
" for use as balloonexpr, symbol under mouse pointer
" set balloonexpr=TSSballoon()
" set ballooneval
function! TSSballoon()
" completions
function! TSScompleteFunc(findstart,base)
" open project file, with filename completion
command! -complete=customlist,TSSfile -nargs=1 TSSfile
" show project file list in preview window
command! TSSfiles
" navigate to project file via popup menu
command! TSSfilesMenu echo TSSfilesMenu('show')
" reload project sources - will ask you to save modified buffers first
command! TSSreload
" start typescript service process (asynchronously, via python)
command! -nargs=1 TSSstart
command! TSSstarthere
" pass a command to typescript service, get answer
command! -nargs=1 TSScmd call TSScmd(<f-args>,{})
" check typescript service
" (None: still running; <num>: exit status)
command! TSSstatus
" stop typescript service
command! TSSend
" sample keymap
" (highjacking some keys otherwise used for tags,
"  since we support jump to definition directly)
function! TSSkeymap()