GitHub has announced a bunch of new features in its online Satellite 2020 event today. The biggest among them is Codespaces — a feature that lets you code directly on the web browser without any setup.
Codespaces works like a virtual Integrated Development Environment (IDE) on the cloud. You might be thinking that this name sounds quite familiar. That’s because Microsoft rebranded Visual Studio Code Online to Visual Studio Codespaces about a week ago and GitHub Codespaces also works in a similar manner.
Until now, you had to make a pull request to contribute to a project. This required setting up the environment on your local machine based on the requirements of that project. But Codespaces eliminates the need to perform this task manually. Just click on the code button and the website will set up the environment on its own in seconds.
The idea is to remove the barriers for developers who want to contribute to a project. Codespaces can be set up any way you like. You can even set multiple configurations for the same project and add any plugins your use normally.
Codespaces is now available as a public beta for free. While GitHub Says that code-editing functionality in the codespaces IDE will always be free, it eventually plans to charge users via pay-as-you-go models for intensive tasks such as builds.
Other GitHub collaboration tools released for testers
GitHub Discussions bring a new place for users to discuss different aspects of a project and ideas for new features. It will also act as a Q&A platform like StackOverflow where developers can ask and answer questions to help each other out.
Your Discussions contributions will also appear in the contribution graphs on your profile. GitHub is testing the Discussions feature with a few open source communities like this one for instance.
Code Scanning & Secret Scanning
GitHub is also adding a new security feature called code scanning that can identify for potential security vulnerabilities in your code. This feature is now available for free in all public projects.
The code repository platform has added another feature called Secret Scanning that looks for secret API keys in code. It is now available for all private repositories.