If you have problems getting the debugger to launch, you can try the following steps to eliminate possible sources of errors:

  • Switch to an empty directory, create a single test.R containing something simple like print('Hello world')
  • Delete ./.vscode/launch.json if present, and click create a launch.json file in the debug sidebar (ctrl+shift+D), to create a default launch config file. To avoid interference with other debug extensions, the workspace should only contain R files.
  • Add the entry "commandLineArgs": ["--vanilla"] to the debug config you are trying to launch. This disables your .Rprofile and stops any .RData files from being restored.

If disabling you .Rprofile helps, you can selectively disable/enable code for vscode debug sessions using

    ### Debugger-specific code here
} else {
    ### Debugger-breaking code here

Examples for code that might break things are

When launching the debugger, detailed logs are printed to the output channel “R Debugger” (ctrl+shift+u -> select R Debugger in the top right dropdown). These are not meant to be particularly descriptive for users, but might point you in the right direction.

Problems that might be caused by timing issues, e.g. a slow R startup or network delay when working with remote servers, can sometimes be mitigated by increasing the timeout related settings:

  "r.debugger.timeouts.prompt": 0,
  "r.debugger.timeouts.startup": 2000,
  "r.debugger.timeouts.terminate": 50,

If you don’t get the debugger running properly yourself, please don’t hesitate to open an issue on github!