Nov 08, 2019

Remote development takes another leap forward with Visual Studio Online

Visual Studio Online

Microsoft announced that Visual Studio Online, its cloud-based development environment, is now available for public preview.

Microsoft’s recent focus on remote development reveals powerful trends in developer productivity, shifting development needs, and Microsoft’s cloud-first strategy.

Announced in May at Build 2019, Visual Studio Online spins up remote development environments that are accessible from anywhere. Developers can edit code from either their browser or through a code editor extension that connects your local instance of Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code to the cloud. From Microsoft:

"Whether you’re working on a long-term project, a  short-lived feature branch, or want to quickly review a pull request, Visual Studio Online can help you be more productive by providing a fully configured development environment in minutes. By pointing to a Git repo, Visual Studio Online sets up everything you need to focus on being productive."

Microsoft’s announcement is a win for remote developers. With Visual Studio Online, developers—who are leading a remote work revolution—can work anywhere on any device without needing to set up complex or finicky local environments.

Visual Studio Online also indicates a growing focus on ease of development.

Visual Studio Online allows for quick provisioning of modular and highly reproducible environments. When environments can be quickly created and disposed, developers benefit from quick experimentation, better collaboration, and easy onboarding.

Microsoft also sees an opportunity to integrate more Microsoft services into its developer tools.

Visual Studio Online comes with Live Share, a coding collaboration tool, and IntelliCode, an AI coding assistant, already built-in and enabled. Developers can link GitHub, a Microsoft-owned service, to Visual Studio Online, too.

Providing developers with access to its extensions exposes more developers to the full depth and breadth of the Microsoft ecosystem. Microsoft can integrate more tools in the future, especially anything related to Azure, its cloud service.

While Visual Studio Online still has room to improve—including its price tag—over the next few years, remote development will continue to change how we think about the role that the cloud will play in redefining software engineering.

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