Run VSCode in the Browser
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Tuesday, 23 April 2019 has open sourced its cloud-server component which allows VSCode to run on a remote server fully accessible through the browser. 

 What is the advantage of that?

  • Code on your Chromebook, tablet, and laptop with a consistent dev environment.

  • Take advantage of large cloud servers to speed up tests, compilations, downloads, and more.

  • Preserve battery life when you're on the go as all intensive computation runs on your server, plus you're no longer running excess instances of Chrome.

Code-server is available as a single binary or Docker image and can be self hosted locally, which of course beats the purpose of portability, or on remote servers such as a VPSs' on Digital Ocean.
In addition to Digital Ocean's, there's also detailed instructions for  Google Cloud and AWS.

Installation can be as easy as :

  1. Open a terminal on your computer and SSH into your instance
    example: ssh root@
  2. Once in the SSH session, visit code-server releases page and copy the link to the download for the latest linux release
    Find the latest Linux release from this URL:
  3. Replace {version} in the following command with the version found on the releases page and run it (or just copy the download URL from the releases page):
  4. Extract the downloaded tar.gz file with this command, for example:
    tar -xvzf code-server-{version}-linux-x64.tar.gz

  5. Navigate to extracted directory with this command:
    cd code-server-{version}-linux-x64

  6. If you run into any permission errors when attempting to run the binary:
    chmod +x code-server

  7. Finally start the code-server
    sudo ./code-server -p 80

Code-server is using a self-signed SSL certificate so that you can access it over HTTPS.For instructions on how to generate a self signed certificate and start code-server using your certificate/key, check Generate a self-signed certificate.

Now you can access VSCode when you visit your Droplets public IP on port 80, but of course you can bind it to another port if on 80 is already occupied.It might also worth protecting the end point with at least basic authentication or start code-server with the built-in option -P, --password <value> which requires a password for authentication.

Also an option to keep in mind is the --disable-telemetry flag or set DISABLE_TELEMETRY=true which disables the tracking does, collecting data for self improvement.It is not clear if that also disables the telemetry that Microsoft uses too.Recently we've seen the release of an other open source version of Visual Studio Code called VSCodium that doesn't pass telemetry data back to Microsoft aiming to offer a more private development experience to Visual Studio developers.

Code-server is available from Github, which repo is attracting a lot of popularity, 16,218 Stars and 863 forks at the time of writing.With that many forks, more customizable versions with extra features are bound to appear soon.Versions that for example enable code-server to integrate with the official VSCode Marketplace in order to use its
Extensions, something not currently supported out of the has however made a custom extension marketplace
focused around open-sourced extensions. That said if you have access to the .vsix file you can always manually install the extension.


More Information

Code-Server on Github


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 April 2019 )