Developers Find New Use Cases for Visual Studio Live Share

After helping developers collaborate from within Visual Studio with Live Share, Microsoft is finding those coders are coming up with innovative use cases for the technology it hadn't thought of.

Visual Studio Live Share was first unveiled over a year ago at the company's Connect conference, helping dev teams to interactively collaborate via sharing code for editing/debugging, troubleshooting, iteration or optimizing apps and so on.

Live Share is delivered via extensions for the Visual Studio Code editor or the Visual Studio IDE, providing real-time collaborative development across different kinds of apps, platforms and machines.

It provides live editing, group debugging, audio calls, a shared terminal, shared servers and more for the usual collaborative scenarios.

However, after offering Live Share as a preview in May, Microsoft found developers have found new ways to use the technology.

"Your feedback has pointed us towards new collaboration scenarios that we had not previously thought of," said Jon Chu, program manager, in a blog post. These scenarios, he said, include technical interviews and hackathons.

Microsoft even published a document outlining how Live Share supports common use cases, which range from pair programming to interactive education.

Officially, the company says: "The primary goal of Visual Studio Live Share is to enable developers to collaborate with each other more easily, without introducing any opinion about when and how to do it (e.g. which communication tool to use, the "right" software methodology or SCM workflow). This way, your tools can support interactions that occur naturally, and as frequently as needed, but in a way that compliments how you already prefer to work."

However, developers finding new use cases for Live Share have helped Microsoft engineers focus on prioritizing collaborative features, Chu said, such as:

Chu also announced some brand-new features to better support real-time code reviews and interactive education.

For code reviews, he announced guests will have access to the shared source control diffs, so they can get context on what changes have been made before or during a Live Share session. Other new functionality was introduced for commenting during code reviews. Chu also announced that GitLens added support for Live Share, and that Microsoft teamed up with other third-party extension authors to augment Live Share collaboration sessions.

For interactive education scenarios, Chu listed the following key feedback items:

"Whether you're mentoring a developer on your team, or giving a lecture to a classroom, Live Share provides participants with an experience that is more engaging and truly personalized to everyone's learning needs," Chu concluded.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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