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The Coder Remote VS Code Extension

author avatar
Mark Milligan
 on February 11th, 2023

Remote Development with local IDEs

Some developers prefer to do remote development with their locally installed IDEs like VS Code. Coder has supported that for several years with a combination of locally configuring SSH to their Coder workspace and using Microsoft's Remote - SSH VS Code extension.

Besides the manual steps of setting it up, developers would need to re-run the SSH configuration step if they create new remote workspaces in Coder which involves executing a Coder CLI command coder config-ssh to create host entries in the local ~/.ssh/config file for each new Coder workspace to tell VS Code how to connect to Coder.

Coder eliminates this setup with our Coder Remote VS Code extension.

Benefits of using local VS Code

First, a local VS Code IDE can connect to Microsoft's Extension Marketplace for the largest availability of extensions to keep developers in flow and be productive.

Second, a local VS Code IDE gives all of the keyboard shortcuts that developers expect. Web IDEs like Coder's popular code-server project lose a portion of keyboard shortcuts to the web browser.

Third, the developer experience is best and the remote workspace latency is the lowest with a locally installed VS Code IDE.

Finally, developers just like to use local tools. It's familiar to them and yet Coder provides environment consistency and greater compute access by running these development environments as Coder-managed workspaces in enterprises' private or public cloud infrastructure.

A local VS Code IDE connected to a remote Coder workspace running a Node React application

Connect to Coder from VS Code

If developers want to stay completely within VS Code and not use the Coder Web UI, the command palette provides the commands to authenticate to Coder and even start workspaces that are stopped.

Enter the Coder Access URL to login
Paste your API Key retrieved after authenticating in the Coder Web UI
Start a stopped workspace, all from local VS Code!
The Terraform template build log visible within local VS Code as the workspace starts
A local VS Code IDE connected to a remote Coder workspace designated in the green box with connection latency metrics

Open local VS Code from the Coder Web UI

Other developers may want to start their daily flow inside the Coder Web UI. If SSH access is enabled by the Coder administrator, a VS Code Desktop appears in each workspace dashboard.

Create a Node.JS React workspace from a template and in this case a container image that will provision in a Kubernetes namespace
The VS Code Desktop icon will open a locally-installed VS Code
A local VS Code IDE securely connected to a remote Coder workspace using an API Key and the Coder CLI downloaded and managed by the Coder Remote VS Code extension

Summary

Coder's Coder Remote VS Code extension is another example of how Coder's self-hosted remote development platform eliminates developer onboarding and makes developers more productive than manually setting up development environments.

Innovations like Coder's VS Code extension unlock developer productivity and drive developer acceptance of remote development as the new way to build software.

Learn more or watch a short demonstration video on the Coder Youtube channel.