Microsoft has announced today that they’ve developed an online version of Visual Studio Code. The online environment was dubbed Visual Studio Online. Why would any professional developer want to edit code online, one may ask? Jonathan Carter mentioned some reasons in his announcement post.
- Visual Studio Online is good for edits on the fly.
If you’re already not hammered by staring at a screen all day performing code reviews, you can always continue to pull teeth on a train or during lunch.
- Review pull requests on the go.
Using an online editor can be great if you don’t feel like closing your browser to review code. You can seamlessly switch to an online code editor, then snap back to Reddit while your code compiles, the difference in lost time being a fraction of a second or two. Though, again, if you eat, sleep, and think code, the ability to review pull requests on your lunch break is invaluable.
- You can use Live Share.
If you love Live Sharing in the offline editor, you can do the exact same thing in online editor.
It must be mentioned that the intention behind creating Visual Studio Online was to create a “web-based companion” to the offline editor. So, the online version doesn’t currently add anything new to the table that would woo developers. What is left unsaid in the announcement is that the real market for this editor is new programmers and hobbyists who are already accustomed to using online code editors like Repl.it to quickly debug code snippets and solve small puzzles.
Repl’s success as a classroom online editor with a low barrier of entry is something Microsoft may be trying to replicate with Visual Studio Online. For newcomers who may have trouble with installation and setup, Visual Studio Online can offer a clean, professional interface that imitates an offline editor. This release also addresses platforms like Coder which allow you to host IDE’s like Visual Studio Code in the cloud so that you can access them from any computer.
There are certainly benefits to being able to access code from anywhere, but there are a good number of professional devs that would like to treat coding as their day job. At the same time, remote IDE’s can allow for flexible schedules that may allow for certain remote days in a company, depending on the company culture.
Still, the platform may be relegated to technical interviews, the classroom, and a hobbyist’s mac.
For now, Visual Studio Online is only available to a select group of people through a private preview.
You can actually sign up for the preview here.