First steps with Gitpod — great for try out, quick open source contributions and for workshops
Gitpod.io is a SaaS for software developers (that can also be used in self-hosted mode on Kubernetes). Gitpod makes workspaces available — typically based on a Git repository — with tools to develop and build software. A workspace is an ephemeral (not long lasting) Linux environment that I can access from my browser — from a terminal, browser based VS Code and from locally running IDEs. A workspace is created from a Git repo URL (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) launches with source code, relevant language runtimes, additional tools.
A workspace is intended to be quickly created — and quickly disposed of once the work is done. That work can be development, review, test, training. Applications (APIs, static web applications, even desktop applications) can run in a workspace — in the cloud — and they can be accessed from anywhere. The workspace can be shared (live), to allow pair-programming to people not co-located. A snapshot can be taken of the state of a workspace; this snapshot can be cloned and used by anyone with proper access to the source code repository.
And more good news: The free tier in Gitpod.io provides 50 hours of workspace usage per month (for free!). The paid tiers offer more hours of workspace usage, higher numbers of parallel running workspaces.
I ran into Gitpod.io by accident last week as I was exploring an open source project that indicated it was powered by GitPod.io. (open source projects can qualify for free usage of the service).
I am initially quite interested for the following use case:
- quickly trying out (to build) an open source project; simply open gitpod.io#GitHub_URL_OF_OPENSOURCE_PROJECT in my browser and I get a development environment with the source code (note: I can use instructions in the URL for checking out a specific branch ).When an open source project includes a Gidpod configuration file (.gitpod.yml) it gets even better: the Gitpod workspace is tailored exactly for the open source project and its dependencies and if one has the Gitpod browser extension installed, there will be a button on the project’s GitHub or GitLab’s repository page for direct launching into Gitpod. Of course when I want to make a contribution to an open source project, I will use this same approach — after first forking the repository and opening the fork in the workspace.