Technology

GitHub Announces ‘Codespaces’ for In-Browser Coding

Codespaces is an in-browser integrated development environment (IDE) that lets users type their code directly on a GitHub website page.

Last week, GitHub announced four new products on its official blog. The most eye-catching of the lot is the tool Codespaces. Released in conjunction with the GitHub Satellite 2020 Virtual Conference, Codespaces is an in-browser integrated development environment (IDE) that lets users type their code directly on a GitHub website page.

With 40 million users and 100 million repositories, GitHub is the largest host of source code in the world. Projects in different repositories however often have their own development environment configurations — generally a code editor, compiler, debugger, and graphical user interface tools used to set up for code writing.

Setting up in a new environment can require many steps before any code can be written. Also, developers will sometimes face a situation where there is a conflict between two projects’ development environments. Codespaces addresses such problems by providing a fully functional cloud development environment integrated in GitHub, allowing users to quickly and efficiently contribute code to and within any projects.

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Codespaces interface

Codespaces is technically supported by Visual Studio technology, integrating the browser version of the full VS Code editing program, which supports functions like code completion and navigation, extension plug-ins, and terminal access. Users can achieve a complete development experience in the browser — from writing code, compiling, testing and debugging through to deployment. If developers prefer to use the desktop IDE for development, Codespaces can be opened in GitHub and then connected to the desktop IDE.

Three other new products were also released on Satellite 2020:

  • GitHub Discussions: A new way to start collaborations outside the codebase;
  • Code scanning and secret scanning: To help the GitHub community make and use safer code;
  • GitHub Private Instances: Designed for users with strict security requirements.

The core idea driving the product release is to improve community ecology. Codespaces will greatly enhance the user experience of those using tablets and mobile phones. It’s expected that college and university students who are tied to ChromeOS devices will become the mainstream Codespaces user group.

The GitHub Blog Post is here. Codespaces now open in limited beta to a small number of GitHub users, more information is available here.


Author: Reina Qi Wan | Editor: Michael Sarazen

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