Microsoft has decided to phase out Visual Studio Codespaces, a rebranded version of Visual Studio Online, and will instead merge it with GitHub’s take on the same product.
Visual Studio CodeSpace (formerly Visual Studio Online) is a cloud-based development environment that aims to make developers more productive by creating a fully configured development environment in minutes.
The announcement that the Visual Studio codespace will be “consolidated” into the GithHub codespace is no surprise given the duplication between the two.
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Microsoft announced a rebranded product in May 2020 in Build 2020 with the new GitHub codespace, a take on VS codespace itself. Both products are the online partners of Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code (VS Code).
According to Microsoft, the decision to move the Visual Studio CodeSpace to GitHub was to reduce confusion between two closely similar products.
Allison Bucholtz-Au, a program manager at Visual Studio Online, explains, “After the original Github experience was released, we started hearing that two different experiences were causing confusion among our users.”
“We believe that by consolidating the current codespace experience into one, we can eliminate confusion, simplify the experience for everyone, and progress more quickly to address customer feedback.”
The shift means Visual Studio CodeSpaceSpace users will need to move to GitHub CodeSpace by February 2021, when the Visual Studio CodeSpace offering on Azure ends.
What is not yet clear is the pricing for GitHub Codespaces, which is currently in a private beta. In May, with a rebrand from Visual Studio Online, Microsoft lowered the price of VS codespace in the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Microsoft cut prices for Visual Studio Codespaces in Azure by more than half from their previous prices. For example, the basic tier with two cores and 4 GB of RAM was reduced to .08 per hour, while the standard offering on a Linux example with four cores and 8 GB of RAM was reduced from about .45 per hour to .17 per hour. . The premium tier with eight cores and 16GB RAM was reduced from .87 to .34.
Pricing for GitHub Codespaces has not been finalized and there is no mention of Azure on its website.
Microsoft’s Buchholtz-Au notes that, starting September 4, current Visual Studio CodeSpace users can begin the transition to the GutHub private beta. On November 20, Microsoft will prevent users from creating new plans and Visual Studio codespaces, although the existing ones will remain. At that point new users will only be able to sign up for the codespace on GitHub.
The final cut-off date comes on February 17, 2021, when Microsoft will close the Visual Studio CodeSpace portal and “all remaining plans and codespaces in the service will be removed”.
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As for pricing GitHub Codespaces, Microsoft states in a FAQ document that it will provide details later this year when GitHub Codespaces reaches general availability.
“There is no charge for the GitHub codespace to be stated while in limited public beta. Final pricing for the GitHub codespace will be announced as soon as CodeBspace reaches general availability, which is expected later this year. . ”
According to Microsoft Notes, there is no way to move Visual Studio Codespaces to GitHub Codespaces. After gaining access to the GitHub Codespaces beta you will need to recreate your codespace.
Hosting options are still being determined for developers who have used Visual Studio Codespaces alongside GitHub rivals such as GitLab and BitBucket.
“While GitHub Codespaces provides a customized build experience for the GitHub repository, we’re currently iterating on the experience for repositories hosted elsewhere and will continue to formally update you plans,” Microsoft says.