Gitpod Open Sources its Cloud-based Automated Dev Environment
- By John K. Waters
- August 25, 2020
Gitpod today announced that it has open sourced its two-year-old namesake cloud-based IDE, which its creators claim "fundamentally changes how software developers build applications" by allowing them to describe their dev environments as code.
Architected by Sven Efftinge, the company's co-founder and CEO, Gitpod was designed to automate the creation of disposable, ready-to-use development environments. With a click, devs get a fully prebuilt, immediately productive environment for any GitLab, GitHub, or Bitbucket project, Efftinge said.
Maintaining a dev environment as code turns highly manual steps into a machine-executable part of a project's source code, he added, and streamlines developer workflow significantly. Gitpod also enables developers to use any device, including Chromebooks or iPads, for complex work that once required expensive, high-powered PCs.
"We've been developing Gitpod in Gitpod for more than a year now," Efftinge told ADTmag, "and there's no one on our team who has a reason to do anything on a local machine. We just use browsers on whatever machine we have--MacBooks, Chromebooks, iPads. It always works."
Like a continuous integration (CI) system, Gitpod monitors changes in the Git repository and prepares dev environments with every change. That preparation not only includes setting up the tools and checking for the right git branch, Efftinge explained, but perhaps more importantly, compiling the code, downloading all dependencies, and initializing everything else needed by the developer to become productive. When the developer is ready to start working, he/she gets a fresh, ready-to-code dev environment within seconds, he said.
The Gitpod IDE was developed with GitOps best practices in mind, Efftinge added. "GitOps" is a way of implementing continuous deployment (CD) for cloud-native applications using the Git distributed version control system as the single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and applications.
"Most DevOps people are actually already doing GitOps," Efftinge said. "It's just a matter of realizing that Git is at the heart of your DevOps pipelines."
Gitpod also provides a way for remote teams to collaborate securely during development, including Code Reviews, mentoring, and sharing snapshots of accomplished work. The company points to the increased value of this feature during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many teams to work remotely.
Approximately 200k registered developers have been using Gitpod since it was unveiled in April 2018, the company reported, including engineers from Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Facebook.
"For those of you who know us, this probably does not come as a big surprise," said Efftinge and Johannes Landgraf, the company's chief commercial officer, in a co-written blog post. "Working in open source is in our DNA, and everything we've created over the past 10 years, including Eclipse Theia, Xtext, Open-VSX, and many other projects, has been open source. In fact, Gitpod was our only closed-source project, and it is a relief to change that going forward."
Gitpod was actually developed by TypeFox, a Kiel, Germany-based team of developer tool specialists and longtime open-source contributors. That organization was co-founded by Efftinge, Jan Köhnlein, and Moritz Eysholdt.
Gitpod is open sourced under the AGPL license at github.com/gitpod-io/core.
John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS. He can be reached at [email protected].