Microsoft previews free Visual Studio Code for the Web

Browser-based editor will open files on GitHub, Azure repositories or from the local device


Microsoft is previewing Visual Studio Code for the Web, a code editor that runs entirely in the browser.

The post introducing the new service was put up yesterday but is returning "page not found" at the time of writing, so possibly was published prematurely. But it is expected to return soon, since the technology looks the same as that already introduced by Microsoft-owned GitHub as the web-based editor.

The difference is that GitHub's version only works in a GitHub repository, where it is opened by pressing the dot key. By contrast, Microsoft stated: "Everyone can use VS Code for the Web for free at https://vscode.dev to quickly open and browse source code hosted on GitHub and on your local machine (and soon on Azure Repos), and make and commit lightweight changes."

VS Code for the desktop is also free and much more capable, so what is the point of VS Code for the Web? The answer is mainly convenience. A zero-install solution is handy when working from different devices and avoids a download-edit-upload cycle (even though a download to browser storage is still happening under the covers).

These web variants are relatively easy to implement since VS Code is built using web technology. Microsoft's distinguished engineer Erich Gamma described earlier this year how VS Code originated from a failing web editor project called Visual Studio Online or "Monaco". Remote development is now more sophisticated, with environments like GitHub Codespaces and Gitpod offering browser-based editing and debugging of code that is running remotely.

In its new announcement, Microsoft said that "VS Code for the Web can be 'upgraded' to a GitHub Codespaces instance" for cases where a full remote environment is required, with build, debug, full use of extensions and access to a terminal.

Judging by the similar GitHub preview though, the in-browser experience is also effective for cases where those things are not required, though it occasionally presents misleading messages regarding features that do not work in this configuration. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Research finds consumer-grade IoT devices showing up... on corporate networks

    Considering the slack security of such kit, it's a perfect storm

    Increasing numbers of "non-business" Internet of Things devices are showing up inside corporate networks, Palo Alto Networks has warned, saying that smart lightbulbs and internet-connected pet feeders may not feature in organisations' threat models.

    According to Greg Day, VP and CSO EMEA of the US-based enterprise networking firm: "When you consider that the security controls in consumer IoT devices are minimal, so as not to increase the price, the lack of visibility coupled with increased remote working could lead to serious cybersecurity incidents."

    The company surveyed 1,900 IT decision-makers across 18 countries including the UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, finding that just over three quarters (78 per cent) of them reported an increase in non-business IoT devices connected to their org's networks.

    Continue reading
  • Huawei appears to have quenched its thirst for power in favour of more efficient 5G

    Never mind the performance, man, think of the planet

    MBB Forum 2021 The "G" in 5G stands for Green, if the hours of keynotes at the Mobile Broadband Forum in Dubai are to be believed.

    Run by Huawei, the forum was a mixture of in-person event and talking heads over occasionally grainy video and kicked off with an admission by Ken Hu, rotating chairman of the Shenzhen-based electronics giant, that the adoption of 5G – with its promise of faster speeds, higher bandwidth and lower latency – was still quite low for some applications.

    Despite the dream five years ago, that the tech would link up everything, "we have not connected all things," Hu said.

    Continue reading
  • What is self-learning AI and how does it tackle ransomware?

    Darktrace: Why you need defence that operates at machine speed

    Sponsored There used to be two certainties in life - death and taxes - but thanks to online crooks around the world, there's a third: ransomware. This attack mechanism continues to gain traction because of its phenomenal success. Despite admonishments from governments, victims continue to pay up using low-friction cryptocurrency channels, emboldening criminal groups even further.

    Darktrace, the AI-powered security company that went public this spring, aims to stop the spread of ransomware by preventing its customers from becoming victims at all. To do that, they need a defence mechanism that operates at machine speed, explains its director of threat hunting Max Heinemeyer.

    According to Darktrace's 2021 Ransomware Threat Report [PDF], ransomware attacks are on the rise. It warns that businesses will experience these attacks every 11 seconds in 2021, up from 40 seconds in 2016.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021