Remote Development Environments: 7 Tools at a Glance (2024)​

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Article updated: 2024-05-16

The trend towards remote development has increased. Collaboration with freelancers or employees working remotely is part of everyday work.  Cloud services are a key technology that makes this possible. COVID-19 has increased the trend towards remote working. Companies had to quickly adapt to the pandemic and introduce new working arrangements. IT teams have had to address security and look at new tools for remote development.

Remote development can mean

  • that IDEs are used in the cloud.
  • that the local development environment is replaced by a remote development environment.

Companies like Slack and Uber are already using remote development environments (Also referred to as Cloud Development Environments / There is no clear definition – read more here). The trend is likely to continue as more and more companies adopt teleworking or a hybrid model and need tools to enable their employees to develop quickly and easily.

This article explores the available tools for remote development environments.

#1 Cloudomation DevStack

Cloudomation DevStack Cloud Development Environments (CDEs) are fully equivalent to local development environments. Complex applications can be run directly in the CDE. The source code can be mirrored locally, which means that local IDEs can also be used. Developers do not have to change existing working methods, but can work with CDEs as they would locally – only with more resources and without troubleshooting local deployments.

Key Features:

  • No editor / IDE restriction – use any IDE, such as Visual Studio Code, Jetbrains with and without ssh, Eclipse, WebIDEs and many more
  • Port forwarding between the workspace and the local machine
  • Operation of the software to be developed directly in the CDE – also possible with complex, heavyweight applications
  • Self-hosted, managed on-prem or SaaS
  • Cloud Development Environments as VM (no Kubernetes required).
  • Transparent, Python-based automation for creating CDEs can be expanded and customised as required

Website: https://cloudomation.com/en/cloudomation-devstack/

Pricing: https://cloudomation.com/en/cloudomation-devstack/devstack-pricing/

Whitepaper

Whitepaper: Full list of CDE vendors (+ feature comparison table)

Get an in-depth look at how Cloud Development Environments work and compare all the vendors.

Get the whitepaper

Resource: Overview of all the CDE vendors

#2 Gitpod

Gitpod is an open-source platform for developers that makes development environments available in an automated way.

Key Features:

  • Set up a cloud development environment in a container
  • Artefacts are created from a central location
  • Collaboration in a shared workspace possible
  • GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket integration

Website: gitpod.io

Compare: Gitpod vs. Cloudomation

#3 Usenimbus

Edit 2023-11-08: We wrote Nimbus asking about their product. The founders informed us that Nimbus is no longer under active development.

Nimbus aims to simplify the management of development environments and centralise management and coding in the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Dedicated instance
  • Terraform Integration
  • SSO / SAML
  • AWS Services Integration

Website: usenimbus.com

#4 Coder

Coder’s goal is to move software development from local machines to on-premise and public cloud infrastructure.

Key Features:

  • Self Service
  • Use of Web IDEs, JetBrains Gateway and VS Code Remote
  • Scheduling of environments (start / stop)
  • Port forwarding between workspace and local machine
  • GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket integration

Website: coder.com

Compare: Coder vs. Cloudomation

#5 Github Codespaces

Every developer knows GitHub. The name comes from Git, the well-known version management system. Codespace is their cloud development environment.

Key Features:

  • Configure dev container files for the repository, creating a repeatable codespace configuration
  • Hosting in a Docker container running on a VM
  • Use of Visual Studio Code, Jupyter, JetBrains (web or local)
  • Browser preview and port forwarding

Website: https://github.com/features/codespaces

#6 Gitlab Workspaces

GitLab is an application for version management based on Git. The company offers additional functions for software development. In 2023, a remote development offer has been announced. The product “Workspaces” is now available in the “Ultimate” and “Enterprise” Pricing.

Key features:

  • Virtual sandbox environment for code in GitLab
  • Create and manage isolated development environments for GitLab projects
  • Each workspace contains individual dependencies, tools, etc.
  • GitLab agent must be configured

Website: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/workspace/

#7 JetBrains Space

Update 2024-01-11: Added JetBrains Space

JetBrains is best known for its popular IntelliJ IDE, which is an ssh-capable IDE. This means that the developer installs an IDE thin client locally, which connects to an IDE backend via ssh. JetBrains Space is the CDE product of JetBrains. It is a management layer which allows you to customize and manage CDEs. Space and IDE licenses have to be purchased separately.

Key Features:

  • CDEs run as containers on VMs ( user only has access to a container)
  • The container can be customized with a Dockerfile and devfile.yml
  • Works only with JetBrains IDEs

Website: https://www.jetbrains.com/space/

Other tools

An overview of other tools such as

  • Koding
  • Red Hat Openshift
  • Replit
  • Codesandbox
  • Stackblitz
  • Okteto
  • DevZero
  • Microsoft Dev Box
  • IDX by Google

can be found in our whitepaper.

Summary

More and more developer tools are moving to the cloud. So are development environments (and even Gartner mentions CDEs in a new report). It should be noted that not every vendor means the same thing by the term “cloud/remote development environments”. When choosing a tool, it is important to assess individual requirements in order to select the right software. At Cloudomation, we want to provide you with fully standardised and instantly available remote development environments. Take a look at our offer!

 

Use our interactive survey to find the right CDE tool

Johannes Ebner

Marketing Manager