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Microsoft looks ready to bring a code editor that runs entirely in the browser, named Visual Studio Code for the Web. It revealed all this in a post introducing the new service that was put up yesterday and then taken down later, possibly because it was published prematurely.

It is expected to return soon since the technology works the same way that GitHub, which Microsoft owns, does. The difference is that GitHub’s version only works in a GitHub repository, where it is opened by pressing the dot key.

Where VS Code for the Web will be

Microsoft said that everyone can use VS Code for the Web for free at https://vscode.dev to conveniently open and browse source code hosted on GitHub and your local machine and make and commit lightweight changes.

VS Code for the desktop is also free and more capable. So, what is the point of having VS code for the Web? The answer is all about convenience. A solution requiring no installation is handy when working across different devices and helps avoid the download-edit-upload process (even though browser storage is downloading something in the background.)

A convenient solution

The web variants are easy to implement since VS Code is built with web technology. Microsoft’s engineer Erich Gamma described earlier this year how VS Code was borne of a failing web editor project called Visual Studio Online or Monaco.

Remote development is now more sophisticated, with GitHub Codespaces and Gitpod offering browser-based editing and code debugging that runs remotely.

In its new announcement, Microsoft said that VS Code for the Web can be upgraded to GitHub Codespaces instances if a fully remote environment is required, with build, debug, full use of extensions, and terminal access.