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InfoQ Homepage News JetBrains Launches Lightweight IDE Fleet, Cloud Workspaces for IntelliJ

JetBrains Launches Lightweight IDE Fleet, Cloud Workspaces for IntelliJ

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Fleet is JetBrains' attempt to provide a polyglot, lightweight IDE, including support for remote workspaces. Additionally, the latest release of IntelliJ also brings support for remote development to JetBrains IDEs.

Fleet is a full-fledged editor that provides features you would normally expect in a code editor, such as syntax highlighting and code completion, as well as more advanced features such as refactoring, smart completion, support for debugging, and more. Fleet can be used with a number of different languages, including Java, Kotlin, Python, Go, Rust, and JavaScript/TypeScript. A future release will add support for C++, C#, HTML, and PHP.

At the foundation of Fleet lies a virtualized file system, which makes it possible to host your codebase wherever you prefer, be it locally, in a container, or in the Cloud.

To make it easier to configure a project in a given way, Fleet also supports remote workspaces through JetBrains Space, a new end-to-end solution to containerize your entire development environment and then create a workspace for any repository in a project in a matter of seconds, says JetBrains. Space supports orchestration and allows you to choose the size of the machine to spin up and to provide a Dockerfile to create the image.

Fleet is clearly a competitor to Visual Studio Code, which provides roughly the same set of characteristics, including support for remote development. Several developers highlighted JetBrains' superior support for code completion and other advanced syntactical features for languages other than JavaScript/TypeScript. It remains to be seen how JetBrains will position Fleet on the market, whether it will be a paid product or it will go directly after Visual Studio Code as a free or freemium product.

At the moment, Fleet is available to developers as a preview under the Fleet Explorer program.

Alongside Fleet, JetBrains also announced support for remote development capabilities in its IDEs. This will make it possible to install the IDE as a backend service and load a project within it. A thin client will then connect to the backend to provide the UI. To make it easier to configure the remote backend, JetBrains is introducing Gateway. In addition to SSH-based remote development, Gateway also makes it possible to spin up the backend service in the JetBrains Space cloud, just like it happens with Fleet. This will bring the benefits of working with remote workspaces to all JetBrains IDEs that support Gateway.

The debate around remote development and Cloud workspaces is split into two fronts. Several developers stress the importance of having their source code reside on their local machines, while others stress the process simplification and greater security that keeping the code in a central server brings. This may be of value mostly to enterprises but not only to them. Individual developers may also find it convenient and safer to install their development environment, which usually includes plugins and extensions from different sources, in a local container.

We have already mentioned Visual Studio Code as a direct competitor to Fleet. Alternative solutions to Cloud-based workspaces are available through GitHub Codespaces and OpenVSCode Server.

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