Recently, Microsoft renamed Visual Studio Online to Visual Studio Codespaces, and a public preview for it was announced at the company's Ignite 2019 conference. The service, which has gone through several iterations and rebranding over the past few years, allows developers to code from anywhere by offering them cloud-hosted environments directly within the browser. It also offers support for GitHub repositories and a command line interface (CLI) for efficient workflows and robust development capabilities.
Now, Microsoft has announced that it is retiring the service and users are being transitioned to GitHub Codespaces.
In a blog post, Microsoft has stated that Visual Studio Codespaces is being consolidated into GitHub Codespaces based on user feedback it received during the preview phase. The company says that:
During the preview we’ve learned that transitioning from a repository to a codespace is the most critical piece of your workflow and the vast majority of you preferred a richly integrated, native, one-click experience. Since GitHub is the home of 50M developers, it made sense to partner with them to address this feedback. However, after the GitHub-native experience was released, we started hearing that the two distinct experiences were causing confusion amongst our users.
We believe that by consolidating the current Codespaces experiences into one, we can eliminate confusion, simplify the experience for everyone, and make more rapid progress to address customer feedback.
Moving forward, users of the service's public preview are being encouraged to transition to GitHub Codespaces, which is also in limited public beta right now. Azure subscribers with a Visual Studio Codespaces plan will also be sent emails asking about their preferred GitHub account. Meanwhile, developers utilizing Visual Studio 2019 and its support of Codespaces will also be onboarded to the private preview on GitHub as soon as it becomes available.
The Redmond firm has released the following timeline detailing how it plans to retire Visual Studio Codespaces:
- September 4, 2020 – Current users can begin transitioning to the GitHub private beta.
- November 20, 2020 – Creation of new plans and codespaces will be disabled, although existing codespaces may continue to be used. New users will only be able to sign up for Codespaces on GitHub.
- February 17, 2021 – The Visual Studio Codespaces portal will be retired. All plans and codespaces remaining in the service will be deleted.
Microsoft has stated that it is currently evaluating which features from the Visual Studio service should be migrated to GitHub under General Availability (GA). New users have been encouraged to request access to the GitHub Codespaces limited public beta.