Visual Studio Code is a very powerful tool.

Over the past year, our team has utilized the LiveShare plugin to collaborate virtually. It’s like Google Docs for code. Combined with screen sharing, we were able to make a lot of progress together on the same project.

But that’s not all.

I’ve already written about using Docker with WSL2 (though that post is due for an update, but probably after Windows 21H2 releases). While the graphical applications are still slow with no native acceleration (for now), it’s still a handy way to set up a common Linux environment.

There is, however, another feature that brings all of this together, and that is the Development Containers plugin. With it, getting set up with a shared environment is as easy as installing WSL2 (if you’re on Windows), installing Docker, installing VSCode and the appropriate plugins, and finally just a git clone. You hardly have to touch the command line!

This is because the plugin utilizes a Dockerfile and json file (shared in the git repo) to automagically configure and set up a development environment that’s all ready to go, with your local git files mounted. If you’re too 1337 for all of this GUI business, the Dockerfile still allows you to use more traditional Docker workflows (or Podman if you prefer).

Check out this amazing tutorial by Allison Thackston to learn how to set up your environment!

Of course, you’ll want to update your Dockerfile as you go and rebuild your container every once in a while, to make sure you’re keeping track of all of the dependencies that need installation.

Categories: dev notes