“Developing for the cloud, in the cloud” has been a pretty cool idea for some time now. There are times when locally installed developer tools make sense, but there are also times when a lighter weight (or thin client) approach would work better. Visual Studio Code is fairly light weight and cross-platform, or you could setup Visual Studio in an Azure VM to get the full Microsoft developer experience. While these approaches will work in most cases, there are times when a lighter weight approach would be great.
Microsoft announced the availability of a Private Preview of the new browser-based (or web-based) Visual Studio Online editor. Based on the popular Visual Studio Code editor, it offers a familiar feel and workspace for writing and working with source code.. This also offers the extensibility of supporting Visual Studio Code extensions, although at this time we don’t know how many or which VS Code extensions will be supported.
Some additional features announced to be supported by the new Visual Studio Online editor are:
- Visual Studio Live Share
- Visual Studio Code workspaces
The product name Visual Studio Online isn’t new to us. It was originally used as a branding name for what is now Azure DevOps, or formerly Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). While it’s always odd to see Microsoft reuse a brand name for a different product, it also makes perfect sense that they are using it for this. Visual Studio Online is a great name for an online, web-based version of a Visual Studio editor. In fact, I often found people confusing Azure DevOps for an online version of Visual Studio back when it was branded as Visual Studio Online. So, this seems like a wise branding choice, but since it’s based on Visual Studio Code it may be better to call it Visual Studio Code Online. However that name sounds a bit long, and the acronym VSCO isn’t as easy to say as VSO.
Happy coding, and I excited to get access (hopefully) to the Private Preview so I can try it out! As I’m sure you are too!