IntelliJ Platform Plugin SDK Help


The IntelliJ Platform Execution API allows running external processes from within the IDE, e.g., applications, tests, servers, scripts, etc. These processes can be run from the editor, project view, run toolbar, or custom actions. Executed processes can be stopped, restarted, and their output and logs can be viewed in the run console. It is possible to manage and persist Run Configurations from the UI.

Architecture Overview

The key Execution API classes are divided into two groups:

The following diagram shows the relations between the key classes:


Configuration Classes

RunProfile is a base interface for things that can be executed (e.g., an application started via a main() method, a test or test suite, a remote debug session to a specific host, etc.). It is responsible for building a process that is run and creates a RunProfileState.

RunProfileState holds the information about the process ready to be started, like the command line, current working directory, and environment variables. The existence of RunProfileState allows extensions and other components to patch the run profile and modify the parameters before the process gets executed. See standard run profile state classes.

RunConfiguration is a specific type of run profile, which can be managed and persisted by users from UI. See the Run Configurations section for more details.

Execution Classes

Executor describes a specific way of executing run profiles. The three default executors provided by the IntelliJ Platform are:

Custom implementations are rarely required (it may be necessary, e.g., when a profiler integration is implemented). Executor implementations are registered in the com.intellij.executor extension point (EP).

ProgramRunner is responsible for the execution workflow of a RunProfile with a certain Executor. ProgramRunner implementations are registered in the com.intellij.programRunner EP.

ExecutionEnvironment object aggregates all the objects and settings required to execute the process. It is used by the ProgramRunner.execute() method.

RunContentBuilder is responsible for building the content of the Run or Debug tool window. The content is built by the ProgramRunner executing the process.

ExecutionResult is prepared by RunProfileState class before execution and contains ExecutionConsole and ProcessHandler.

ExecutionConsole is a component displaying the result of executing the process. It can be a console, a test results view, or another similar component.

ProcessHandler is an object attached to the executed process and allows controlling and accessing the information about the process. See standard process handler class.

Execution Workflow

A standard execution of a process consists of the following steps:

  1. Depending on the execution context:

    1. For execution initiated by a user from UI: the user selects a RunConfiguration (e.g., by choosing one from the run configurations combo box) and an Executor (e.g., by pressing the Run toolbar button).

    2. For programmatic execution: a RunProfile instance is created, and an Executor is provided. Specific run executors can be accessed with ExecutorRegistry.getInstance().getExecutorById().

  2. The ProgramRunner that will execute the process is selected. The first ProgramRunner that returns true from ProgramRunner.canRun(executorId, runProfile) is selected from all registered program runners.

  3. The ExecutionEnvironment is created. It aggregates all the information required to run the process as well as the selected ProgramRunner, Executor, and RunProfile.

  4. ProgramRunner.execute(executionEnvironment) is called, and the actual process is executed.

A standard implementation of ProgramRunner.execute() goes through the following steps to execute the process:

  1. RunProfile.getState() method is called to create a RunProfileState object, which describes a process about to be started. The command line parameters, environment variables, and other information required to start the process are initialized at this stage.

  2. RunProfileState.execute(executor, programRunner) is called. It starts the process, attaches a ProcessHandler to its input and output streams, creates a console to display the process output, and returns an ExecutionResult object aggregating the ExecutionConsole and the ProcessHandler.

  3. The RunContentBuilder object is created and invoked to display the execution console in a Run or Debug tool window tab.

Example: RunAnythingCommandProvider.runCommand(), which programmatically executes a command typed by a user in the Run Anything popup

Standard Base Classes

Run Profile State

The standard base class used as an implementation of RunProfileState is CommandLineState. It contains the logic for putting together a running process and a console into an ExecutionResult but doesn't know anything about how the process is actually started. For starting the process, it's recommended to use the GeneralCommandLine class, which takes care of setting up the command line parameters and executing the process.

Alternatively, if the process is a JVM-based one, use the JavaCommandLineState base class. It handles the JVM command line parameters and can take care of details like calculating the classpath for the JVM. Note that using this class requires dependency on the Java plugin.

Process Handler

The standard class for monitoring the execution of a process and capturing its output is OSProcessHandler. Once an instance of OSProcessHandler is created from either a GeneralCommandLine or a Process object, call the startNotify() method to capture its output. To display the exit status of the process in the console, attach a ProcessTerminatedListener to the OSProcessHandler.

Displaying Process Output

When a process execution is handled with CommandLineState, a console view will be automatically created and attached to the process's output.

Alternatively, it can be handled with the following steps:

  1. TextConsoleBuilderFactory.createBuilder(project).getConsole() creates a ConsoleView instance.

  2. ConsoleView.attachToProcess() attaches it to the output of a process.

If the running process uses ANSI escape codes to color its output, use the ColoredProcessHandler class to display the colors in the IDE console.

Console Filters

Console Filter allows converting certain strings found in the process output to clickable hyperlinks. To attach a filter to the console, use CommandLineState.addConsoleFilters() or TextConsoleBuilder.addFilter() if the console is created manually. Two standard filter implementations are RegexpFilter and UrlFilter.

Console filters can be also provided by implementing ConsoleFilterProvider and registering it in com.intellij.consoleFilterProvider EP.

Listening for Execution Events

Implement ExecutionListener and subscribe to ExecutionManager#EXECUTION_TOPIC. The listener allows for listening to several phases of the process execution lifecycle.

Last modified: 18 December 2023