During the recently concluded Satellite 2020 virtual event, Github came out with a bunch of announcements for its vast community of users. The company, now acquired by Microsoft, has announced new features, including Codespaces, which has received praise from many developers. In this article, we will take a look at what value does this new features bring for developers.
Last year, Microsoft came out with the browser-based IDE, which removed the requirement for installing code editors by relocating the IDE online. Codespaces will now add value to this by helping developers migrate the entire programming workflow online with Visual Studio Code Online.
It means that if a developer does not have a system with the right specifications to code, the developer can code from any device with a working web browser such as Chrome. Basically, it’s a container that is hosted in Azure cloud that gives a browser-based front end to develop and make changes on the code repositories directly on the cloud.
What Were The Challenges Prior To This?
Contributing to a community can be difficult as every repository has its own method of configuring a development environment, which usually wants many measures before developers can write any code. Configuring certain repositories on their local OS can be very challenging due to the difference in the version of dependencies.
Also, many times, the environment of two separate projects may not go well with one another for the developers. Besides, different dev environments may use different operating systems, which can be a hassle for developers for contributing to certain repositories.
So what GitHub Codespaces does is that it gives developers a completely-featured cloud-hosted dev environment that can be set up in a matter of seconds, directly within GitHub, so they can begin contributing to a project immediately.
Here’s What Is Great About Codespaces
For contributing to a project, you no longer need to set up your local machine, which makes the whole experience of software development really easy and smooth. Codespaces is currently in the beta phase.
Codespaces on GitHub incorporates a browser-based version of the full VS Code editor, with assistance for code completion, navigation, extensions, terminal access, and more. If developers favour using their desktop IDE, developers can commence a Codespaces on GitHub and link to it from the desktop.
Codespaces can be configured by programmers to load their code and dependencies, developer tools, extensions, and dotfiles from anywhere. Switching between environments is easy, meaning developers can steer away from one environment to another at any time, and when they switch back, their Codespaces is automatically reestablished. Codespaces seems extremely useful in building a reproducible dev environment for more complex packages and projects.
Codespaces is a separate, additional service from VS Code, very much focused on providing compute catered to developers and their workflows. But, users can also customise to suit their requirements similar to VS Code and all the VS Code extensions are still available here.
Developers can sign up and connect with the Git repository you want to work on. It will start to create the container first and then set up the environment, clone the repository and get VS code ready. Now, users can interact and work with the repository and open the project they want to contribute to.
Earlier developers used to make changes in their local system. But, the fact that Codespaces is completely online, it is going to serve as a milestone for collaboration among dev teams. Software communities write code together and collaborate on the best ways to use the software. Codespaces will make it simpler for developers to collaborate and contribute in a very efficient manner, without worrying about having their own development environment.