Microsoft previews Visual Studio Online

Cloud-based development environments can be accessed via web browser, Visual Studio Code, or Visual Studio 2019

Microsoft is offering a public preview of Visual Studio Online, which provides online development environments in the company’s Azure cloud. The managed, on-demand environments can be used for long-term projects, for prototyping new features, or for ad hoc tasks like reviewing pull requests.

Developers can access Visual Studio Online via a web browser, via Visual Studio Code, or via Visual Studio 2019, which is now available in a private, preview mode for use with Visual Studio Online. Access from Visual Studio Code requires an extension.

Visual Studio Online sets up parts of a development environment including source code, runtimes, linters, debuggers, and extensions. With the cloud-based tool, Microsoft is responding to trends including distributed teams, remote development, developers working across codebases, and increased computational and data workloads, such as with machine learning and big data.

Visual Studio Online provides for managed, on-demand environments accessible anywhere. It extends Visual Studio Code Remote Development—used for developing using a container, remote machine, or Windows Subsystem for Linux—to collaborative development environments hosted in the Azure cloud.

Microsoft cites capabilities for Visual Studio Online including:

  • Rapid onboarding, with environments being fast to create and disposable, so new development teammates can come aboard quickly.
  • Cloud capabilities including scaling.
  • Connecting of self-hosted environments to Visual Studio Online.
  • Personalization capabilities, tuning Visual Studio Online via a per-user basis.
  • Remote debugging. Plans also call for the addition of app casting, for remotely interacting with a GUI application.
  • Collaboration tools including LiveShare, for real-time collaboration, and IntelliCode, providing AI-based intelligence in the editor.

How to access Visual Studio Online

Microsoft has posted instructions for getting started with Visual Studio Online.

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