Gitpod Allies with GitLab to Automate Setting Up Dev Environments


The Gitpod platform treats a version control system as the canonical source of truth from which it then automates everything a developer needs to start coding, including the integrated development environment (IDE), plugins, compilers, build tools, code generators, databases and application servers.

Fresh off raising an additional $3 million in funding, Gitpod CEO Sven Efftinge said instead of wasting a half an hour or more waiting for a bunch of libraries and tools to get installed, a developer can click a button that allows them to begin coding within a few minutes.

With the next release of GitLab, developers will also be able to connect their self-managed installation of GitLab to, which is a capability through which multiple git repositories can be registered. In addition, it’s possible to self-host Gitpod on a Kubernetes cluster in a way that integrates with GitLab or install the GitLab VS Code Extension in Gitpod to interact with GitLab.

Efftinge said Gitpod provides DevOps teams with a tool to automate the setting up of development environments across any Git repository that is equivalent to the Codespaces tool that GitHub recently made available. Rather than having that capability for only one repository, Efftinge noted most developers work on projects spanning multiple types of repositories.

By automating that process of setting up development environments it also become easier to align them with production environments. One of the reasons why code doesn’t work in a production environment when it is first deployed is because the local development environment has been manually configured in a way that doesn’t accurately reflect the production environment. That issue becomes even more problematic when developers are working on multiple projects involving, for example, separate microservices constructed using different repositories that might not even run in the same production environment. Collaboration also becomes easier when the members of the teams have standardized on the same instance of a local desktop environment.

Gitpod, formerly TypeFox, collaborated with Google, Ericsson, Arm and Red Hat to develop the open source Eclipse Theia project, which provides a foundation for building IDEs in the cloud using TypeScript, CSS and HTML. Theia, now being advanced under the auspices of the Eclipse Foundation, consists of a front end running in a browser or in the local desktop application and a back end running on any host. Both communicate through JSON RPC over WebSockets. Gitpod leveraged that project to build its own cloud-based service in addition to the core open source project.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s naturally a lot more focus on automation and developer productivity. Most developers will be working from home for the foreseeable future to help combat the spread of the virus. Of course, most developers have been writing code outside the office for years. The challenge now is enabling teams of developers to develop applications as efficiently as possible regardless of where they are located. Eliminating inefficient manual tasks such as maintaining development environments is emerging as a significant step in that direction.

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