2 min read

Live Share could be a game changer

VSCode have really upped the game when it comes to pair programming over the internet.
Live Share could be a game changer


The Live Share plugin for VSCode lets you share your IDE over the internet as easily as you share your webcam and camera (e.g. Zoom).

Live Share lets you concurrently edit a file with anyone. But it also goes further, share ports, console access and access to ALL files in the project on your local disk.

It's even better than them being sat next to you sharing your keyboard and mouse, as with Live Share they can concurrently edit the file you have open, or any file in your project! Oh, and works standalone, in the browser too, so the other person doesn't even need VSCode installed.

Go install it. And/or read what Microsoft say about it.

Longer version

I'm proud to be able to say that I've worked remotely for most of my professional career. Full time remote work can be an acquired taste and isn't for everyone, or without its challenges. But I really enjoy it.

One of the biggest challenges is collaboration, how do you work with people who are not physically right next to you? Fortunately technology has been there to help, from the early days of Telegrapthy, to bulletin boards and FTP, to SVN, to GIT, to Slack, to Zoom - and everything in between. Technology has been ever improving the way we are able to make and do things without being in the same room.

For me, there have been a few game changer moments in remote working collaboration, over the years, these are a few of mine:

  • Going from FTP/Shared folders to any kind of Version control. No more "oh no" moments. Branches and merges made it possible for lots of people to be working on the same code without making a huge mess.
  • IRC and later Slack. Real-time and asynchronous, group chats with  searchable history with developers from around the world, coordinating efforts on your project or just hanging out to talk about the latest tech news.
  • Skype and then Zoom. Voice and Video calls with high quality, multi person conference calls. It made working with a geographically diverse team much simpler - everyone and anyone is only a click away from a team meeting or 1to1.
  • Screen sharing, and drawing on screen with Google Hangouts or Zoom. Seeing what people are working on, the code running, the missing semicolon or rouge variable and being able to highlight / point to things. This allowed for pair programming and more often rubber duck debugging, in a way just webcams/microphones did not.

But concurrent editing has been missing. Yes, Google doc has it for documents, and you can do ugly/hacky things using private Etherpad, but true pair programming has always been really clunky.

Until now. I had tried Live Share, or things like it a few years ago, it was painful. Now it's as simple as clicking a link, then pasting a URL to someone - that's it. Could this be the next game changer moment?

Go try it!

Or see it in action below: