Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code can now run in a web browser

In short: If you ever wanted to run Visual Studio code in a web browser, now you can. Microsoft has created a no-install version of the popular desktop app that can be used as a local development tool, but there are naturally some caveats.

Microsoft revealed that developers who use Visual Studio Code can now run it in a web browser. In other words, the Redmond company has just made it possible for anyone to use its lightweight and popular integrated development environment without having to download an installer.

To get started, you need to access vscode.dev in your favorite web browser. If you are using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, you will be able to work directly with local files as both browsers support the File System Access API. However, working in other browsers will require you to upload and download code files one by one, so it’s a little less convenient for now.

Since this is a web application, the experience will be somewhat limited compared to the desktop version. This means that while you can view and edit local files, take notes in Markdown, and write client-side applications using HTML, JavaScript, JSON, and CSS, you won’t have access to a terminal or a debugger. You may not build or test applications written in compliant languages ​​such as C, C++, Rust, etc. However, you will get things like text-based completions or code syntax and colorization of bracket pairs.

This shouldn’t be surprising given the sandboxing limitations of a browser tab, but when it comes to web apps, you’ll be able to build them in Visual Studio Code for the web and also use the browser tools to debugging. If you’re developing using TypeScript, JavaScript, and Python, you’ll be able to take advantage of unique file completions, semantic highlighting, and more.

You’ll also have access to UI customization extensions, snippets, and keymaps, and their settings will sync across desktop, web browser, and GitHub codespaces. Over time, extensions for other purposes such as image editing will become available as their developers update them to work in the web browser.

Visual Studio Code is already a lightweight version of Visual Studio that companies like Facebook have successfully adopted for internal development, so the natural question is — who is this new, even lighter version aimed at? For one thing, it lets you edit code on tablets like Apple’s iPad Pro and low-powered machines like Chromebooks. It also supports Live Share for the web, which opens up interesting workflows for educational environments.

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