What is your (dream) remote set-up?

Hey fellow coders,

I’m pretty sure y’all have super cool and intricate solutions to program on your local machine.

I switch computers, projects, and languages a lot and there might be others who face the same challenge or have even solved it.

So I would like to have my IDE/extensions running correctly and my keybindings the same every time I start. No matter if I work on a public computer, where I can’t install things, a Mac, some obscure Linux distro, or a windows machine. I also want the interface to be super reactive.

I came up different solutions:

  1. Use whatever IDE / Editor is available on the current machine
  2. x-forward my local IDE to another computer
  3. Visual studio code ssh tunnel
  4. VS code in the browser
  5. VS code web tunnel
  6. Github Codespaces
  7. Github.dev

The last options are pointing toward Microsoft as a savior, which many people would avoid. I am sure there are good alternatives out there. I grew up with Windows and have to work a lot with GitHub. I also use vs code for basically everything. Latex, C++, Python, Clojure, you name it. That is mostly fine, but especially linters and formatters can be a headache to get working. Or I might be an idiot. Especially Latex can be frustrating to set up on a new machine. The solutions above fulfill my requirements to some amount but aren’t always possible. x-forward might be blocked, the connection might be too slow, no rights to install things, etc.
5-7 seem interesting because everything can be set up in the browser, but I haven’t looked too deep into that. I will probably update this thread when I have a better understanding of it. Also, it is not a perfect solution for the masses, as some of these are not free or require an invitation.

Do you have similar problems? Do you have a nice solution? Any comment is appreciated.


  1. Gitpod
1 Like

There’s also gitpod. IIRC that’s what Github used before Codespaces was a thing. Not sure how they compare, but for a nice fleshed-out example, Peter Strömberg (a.k.a. PEZ) the creator of Calva (Clojure VSCode plugin) made a really cool version of the Exercism Clojure track that lets you solve the exercises interactively using Rich Comment Forms with Calva in the browser: GitHub - PEZ/clojure-exercism-template: Learn more Clojure and Interactive Programming with Exercism in the browser

I regularly switch between my MacBook and my Windows PC, so I have some experience.
Personally, my go-to editor is VS Code, as it boots very quickly, works well cross-platform and can be used for virtually any language.

GitHub.dev is basically VS Code in the browser and I found that it worked surprisingly well, so I would suggest maybe trying that out for a little while to see if it fits your needs.

Okay, another one on my list. Thank you

Yes, it seems really nice. A problem for me is the lack of testing within github.dev, or executing code in general. So codespaces are the way to go for me, I think. I have to figure our the setup routine first. But there are a lot of predefined .devcontainer files already.