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. ®


Other stories you might like

  • World’s smallest remote-controlled robots are smaller than a flea
    So small, you can't feel it crawl

    Video Robot boffins have revealed they've created a half-millimeter wide remote-controlled walking robot that resembles a crab, and hope it will one day perform tasks in tiny crevices.

    In a paper published in the journal Science Robotics , the boffins said they had in mind applications like minimally invasive surgery or manipulation of cells or tissue in biological research.

    With a round tick-like body and 10 protruding legs, the smaller-than-a-flea robot crab can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump. The machines can move at an average speed of half their body length per second - a huge challenge at such a small scale, said the boffins.

    Continue reading
  • IBM-powered Mayflower robo-ship once again tries to cross Atlantic
    Whaddayaknow? It's made it more than halfway to America

    The autonomous Mayflower ship is making another attempt at a transatlantic journey from the UK to the US, after engineers hauled the vessel to port and fixed a technical glitch. 

    Built by ProMare, a non-profit organization focused on marine research, and IBM, the Mayflower set sail on April 28, beginning its over 3,000-mile voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. But after less than two weeks, the crewless ship broke down and was brought back to port in Horta in the Azores, 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, for engineers to inspect.

    With no humans onboard, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) can only rely on its numerous cameras, sensors, equipment controllers, and various bits of hardware running machine-learning algorithms to survive. The computer-vision software helps it navigate through choppy waters and avoid objects that may be in its path.

    Continue reading
  • Revealed: The semi-secret list of techs Beijing really really wishes it didn't have to import
    I think we can all agree that China is not alone in wishing it had an alternative to Microsoft Windows

    China has identified "chokepoints" that leave it dependent on foreign countries for key technologies, and the US-based Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) claims to have translated and published key document that name the technologies about which Beijing is most worried.

    CSET considered 35 articles published in Science and Technology Daily from April until July 2018. Each story detailed a different “chokepoint” or tech import dependency that China faces. The pieces are complete with insights from Chinese academics, industry insiders and other experts.

    CSET said the items, which offer a rare admission of economic and technological vulnerability , have hitherto “largely unnoticed in the non-Chinese speaking world.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022