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AWS Enters Remote Development and Collaboration Space with CodeCatalyst

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At its recent re:Invent 2022 conference, Amazon previewed CodeCatalyst, a service aimed to ease developer collaboration by integrating remote workspaces, project templates, issue management, continuous integration and delivery, and more.

The main motivation for CodeCatalyst, explains AWS senior developer advocate Steve Roberts, is the growing complexity that modern development has run into, causing a feeling of uneasiness for developers:

This is due to having to select and configure a wider collection of modern frameworks and libraries, tools, cloud services, continuous integration and delivery pipelines, and many other choices that all need to work together to deliver the application experience.

To solve these issues, CodeCatalysts attempts to bring a number of different tools and features together under the same umbrella. Key to CodeCatalyst is the concept of blueprints, which can be seen as project templates on steroids, used not only to create a default structure for a project, but also to set up all resources needed for software delivery and deployment, says Roberts.

Parameterized application blueprints enable you to set up shared project resources to support the application development lifecycle and team collaboration in minutes—not just initial starter code for an application.

CodeCatalyst provides a unified interface to allow you to create a project belonging to a given organization and define its access control policies, to connect to a repository with issue management and dashboards, to set up CI/CD pipelines, and to have the complete project lifecycle under control.

CodeCatalyst also includes a fully-fledged Cloud-based development environment running on-demand on AWS, currently supporting four resizable instance size options with 2, 4, 8, or 16 vCPUs. To make setting up the remote project a repeatable and effortless task, CodeCatalyst uses a devfile to define the configuration of all resources needed to code, test, and debug. This also greatly reduces the overhead required to switch from one project to another and thus enables collaboration on multiple projects at the same time, says Roberts.

Cloud-based development environments can use AWS Cloud9 as their IDE or a local IDE such as JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate, PyCharm Pro, GoLand, and Visual Studio Code as a frontend to CodeCatalyst.

As mentioned, CodeCatalyst also include support for CI/CD pipelines, which can use on-demand AWS compute as well as interact with external services, including GitHub Actions, and others. Automatic deployment is supported for AWS services, including Amazon ECS, AWS Lambda, and Amazon EC2.

CodeCatalyst is currently available as a preview and can be tried out using a free tier.

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