Red Hat, this week at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2019 conference, announced an update to an integrated development environment (IDE) that runs natively on Kubernetes to make it more accessible to developers that are familiar with other IDEs.
Brad Micklea, vice president and general manager for of developer tools, program and advocacy at Red Hat, says CodeReady Workspaces 2 now sports a user interface similar to what developers experience using Microsoft Visual Studio (VS) Code, in addition to being able to support extensions designed to run in VS Code. After the launch of the CodeReady Workspaces, the feedback from developers was the IDE from Red Hat was too dissimilar from IDEs they already knew how to use, says Micklea, adding the latest version substantially reduces the learning curve for CodeReady Workspaces.
In addition, Red Hat has abstracted away the complexity of setting up a Kubernetes cluster and added support for “air-gap” installs that don’t by default create connections to public repositories such as GitHub. Many enterprise IT organizations have prohibited developers from using public repositories to ensure code does not inadvertently get shared outside the organization.
Finally, Red Hat has added Devfile, a sharable workspace configuration that specifies everything a developer needs, including repositories, runtimes, build tools and IDE plugins, that is stored in a Git repository. It also now offers the ability to clone debuggers, language servers, unit test tools and other build tools as sidecar containers to better mirror production environments. Previously, CodeReady Workspaces employed a workbench based on JSON that injected code from tools into containers, which resulted in containers that did not mirror the production environment.
Organizations are shifting to cloud-based to make it easier to set up a developer environment and foster collaboration and to make sure their proprietary code doesn’t go missing when, for example, a laptop is lost or becomes the target of a cybersecurity attack.
However, Mikea says Red Hat does not expect cloud tools to eliminate the need for desktop application development tools. Rather, Red Hat expects developers will continue to want to build code offline before sharing artifacts in their cloud-based development environment with the rest of the development team. As a rule, many developers prefer to be able to experiment with application code offline, regardless of the existence of a cloud service that may not always be accessible over an internet connection.
It’s not clear how much of the code deployed on Kubernetes will be built using tools that run natively on Kubernetes. However, as the number of microservices on Kubernetes that organizations expands, the ongoing care of the microservices will be easier using development tools that run natively on Kubernetes. Of course, the existence of Kubernetes native development environments should also go a long way toward fostering the adoption of many more Kubernetes clusters.
CodeReady Workspaces is included in Red Hat OpenShift, a development environment based on Kubernetes, in addition to being made available in the OpenShift OperatorHub in the coming weeks.