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Facebook Goes All In on VS Code, Teams with Microsoft to Boost Remote Development

Facebook announced it's adopting Visual Studio Code as the default environment for its developers and is teaming up with Microsoft to boost the remote development functionality for the open-source, cross-platform code editor that has been named the No. 1 tool in major development surveys.

That remote development functionality comes in the form of extensions -- the backbone of VS Code -- specifically in the Remote Development Extension Pack in the VS Code Marketplace.

Those extensions help developers:

  • Develop on the same operating system you deploy to or use larger, faster, or more specialized hardware than your local machine.
  • Quickly swap between different, isolated development environments and safely make updates without worrying about impacting your local machine.
  • Help new team members / contributors get productive quickly with easily spun up, consistent development containers.
  • Take advantage of a Linux based tool-chain right from the comfort of Windows from a full-featured development tool.

As the social media giant is now all in on VS Code, it wants to boost those capabilities, specifically in the area of remote development at scale, which is required for its huge stable of developers who work on gigantic projects.

Noting that its developers have written millions of lines code and are switching from the internal unified Nuclide development environment that's based on the Atom editor (VS Code itself is built on Electron, formerly known as Atom Shell), Facebook supplied its own bullet list of VS Code remote development capabilities:

  • Work with larger, faster, or more specialized hardware than what's available on your local machine
  • Create tailored, dedicated environments for each project's specific dependencies, without worrying about errors due to mixed or conflicting configurations
  • Support the flexibility of being able to quickly switch between multiple running development environments without impacting local resources or tool performance

"These benefits should be available to any developer, and we at Facebook believe that we can apply our unique expertise in this problem space to help," the company said in a Nov. 19 post. "That's why today we are excited to share not just our usage of their remote development extensions, but our involvement in helping Microsoft further improve remote development extensions, with a lens on enabling engineers to do remote development at scale with Visual Studio Code."

Facebook said it will be helping out with VS Code extensions and also enhancing its current technologies to support the open-source editor, such as infusing Language Service Protocol (LSP) improvements -- integral to VS Code language support -- in its internal Flow programming language, one of many in use in its polyglot environment that also includes Python, C++, Java and some other Facebook-created languages in addition to Flow. Source control is another area it's interested in.

That polyglot dev environment also features different tools, such as Emacs and vim in addition to Nuclide, the latter of which started to be transitioned to VS Code late last year.

With VS Code now being named the company's default development environment, Facebook said, "Visual Studio Code is now an established part of Facebook's development future. In teaming with Microsoft, we're looking forward to being part of the community that helps Visual Studio Code continue to be a world class development tool."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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