GitHub Announces Browser-Based IDE, Discussion Forum, and New Security Features

GitHub is hosting the company’s first-ever major virtual event for developers across the globe. The event is highlighted by the launch of four new products aimed at broadly improving the overall developer experience on the platform. The new products include GitHub Codespaces, GitHub Discussions, Code scanning and secret scanning, and GitHub Private Instances.

GitHub Codespaces is designed to reduce the time-to-code for developers working with repositories that operate in disparate environments and have varying requirements. Codespaces aims to streamline community contribution by creating a bridge between various repositories. GitHub noted in the announcement that:

“Codespaces can be configured to load your code and dependencies, developer tools, extensions, and dotfiles. Switching between environments is simple—you can navigate away at any time, and when you switch back, your codespace is automatically reopened.”

Codespaces includes a browser-based version of the full VS Code editor in addition to a desktop IDE. The company has not settled on pricing just yet and the product is currently available in a limited public beta only. However, GitHub did note that “code-editing functionality in the codespaces IDE will always be free.”

As for GitHub Discussions, the company is hoping to encourage conversation on the platform in a way that has not been possible before today. Rather than relying on issues and pull requests as a venue for collaboration, developers will now have access to an all-new section of the platform dedicated to collaborative conversation. GitHub Discussion is also in beta and is being tested with a small group of open-source communities. 

The addition of new code scanning and secret scanning features is a direct result of GitHub’s recent acquisition of Semmle. Semmle is a code analysis company that provides continuous security analysis services. GitHub today announced that these features would be brought more broadly to the platform as a native experience, although these services are still in beta. Additionally, the announcement mentioned that all private repositories will also now be able to take advantage of secret scanning, a feature previously limited to public repositories. 

Lastly, GitHub announced new options for teams that require strict security and compliance:

“Today we introduced our plans for GitHub Private Instances, a new, fully-managed option for our enterprise customers. Private Instances provides enhanced security, compliance, and policy features including bring-your-own-key encryption, backup archiving, and compliance with regional data sovereignty requirements.”

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