Why you should start using VS Code devcontainers and GitHub Codespaces

Published: Posted by Patrick Henninger

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) devcontainers and GitHub codespaces are two tools that can greatly improve a developer's workflow by providing a consistent and secure development environment.

VS Code devcontainers allow developers to work on a project in a pre-configured, isolated development environment. This means that developers can work on a project without worrying about conflicting dependencies or system configuration issues. Devcontainers are based on Docker containers, which are a lightweight and portable way to package up an application and its dependencies.

With devcontainers, developers can easily share their development environment with their teammates, ensuring that everyone is working on the same version of the code and with the same tools and libraries. This can help to prevent "works on my machine" issues and make it easier for team members to collaborate and work on the same codebase.

Another benefit of devcontainers is that they allow developers to quickly switch between different projects and environments. For example, a developer working on a Java project can easily switch to a Python project without having to worry about setting up a new development environment. This can save a lot of time and effort, and make it easier for developers to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

GitHub codespaces are similar to devcontainers in that they provide a pre-configured development environment that is isolated from the host system. With codespaces, developers can quickly spin up a development environment directly in their web browser, without having to install any tools or libraries locally.

Codespaces are especially useful for working on open-source projects, as they allow developers to easily contribute to a project without having to set up their own development environment. This can make it easier for new contributors to get started and help to increase collaboration and participation in open-source projects.

In addition, codespaces integrate seamlessly with GitHub, making it easy for developers to work on their code, review pull requests, and collaborate with their team. Codespaces also come with a built-in terminal and text editor, so developers can get started quickly without having to install any additional tools.

Overall, both VS Code devcontainers and GitHub codespaces can provide a number of benefits to developers, including a consistent and isolated development environment, easy collaboration, and the ability to quickly switch between projects and environments. These tools can help to improve a developer's workflow and make it easier to work on a wide range of projects.