Git your ass to the cloud! Gitpod hooks up with GitLab to take on GitHub Codespaces

Gosh, that's a lot of Gits. But a viable alternative to Microsoft's stable

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Developers were given another option for code wrangling today with the arrival of native GitLab integration for Gitpod.

The announcement came alongside a $3m first round of investor cash for the web-based development environment company.

Gitpod had previously welcomed the arrival of GitHub Codespaces, and teased that it was "building a similar solution". GitLab support for Gitpod turned up in December last year but is a little clunky in comparison to native integration within GitLab's user interface.

GitLab already featured a Web IDE button, which fired up a code editor in the browser. The update turns this into a drop-down from which the user can opt for a Gitpod development environment.

While the Web IDE was a neat toy, the ability to fire up a full development environment, replete with plug-ins, build tools, and servers has appeal. Certainly when compared to the pain of having to keep everything on a local machine and tweak based on the project required.

The cloud-based approach means a fresh development environment can be spun up in the browser, regardless of local machine. One hopes it might also see an end to the "I can't make it work it here" whinge from developers missing that all-important dependency or plug-in.

Developers would be forgiven for feeling a jolt of déjà vu at the announcement. Microsoft announced Visual Studio Codespaces back in May, hooking up a browser-based version of the popular Visual Studio Code editor to GitHub. By September, the "Visual Studio" moniker had been dropped, and GitHub Codespaces reigned supreme.

However, for those not enticed by Microsoft's cloudy developer lineup, the Gitpod and GitLab love-in is a viable alternative. The point was underlined by Gitpod boss Sven Efftinge, who wrote: "Microsoft has not open-sourced the browser version of VS Code. For GitHub, a Microsoft-owned company, this is obviously not an issue. For everyone else we have developed Eclipse Theia [the Gitpod IDE]."

While GitHub Codespaces still requires a request submitted for "early access", Gitpod's GitLab integration can be taken for a spin at GitLab.com. Hooking up a self-managed instance of GitLab to gitpod.io will have to wait for the 13.5 release of GitLab, due on 22 October.

Back in August, Efftinge told us: "There is no way we can keep coding local." And while Gitpod users have enjoyed cloud-based development environments, adding native GitLab integration into the mix affords developers another option in an increasingly non-local development world. ®


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