Visual Studio Codespaces is consolidating into GitHub Codespaces

Allison Buchholtz-Au

At the last Ignite, we announced the public preview of Visual Studio Codespaces and shared our vision for cloud-powered development environments that would enable developers to work from anywhere and on any platform. Since then, we’ve seen incredible validation and excitement about codespaces and the scenarios they enable. We’ve also shipped dozens of enhancements, adjusted to better align with your expectations, and amassed feedback to help inform our roadmap. A key piece of this roadmap was partnering with our friends at GitHub to provide a native experience using the same service that powers Visual Studio Codespaces. Today, we’d like to share some news regarding this partnership: Visual Studio Codespaces will be consolidating into GitHub Codespaces.

If you’re an existing Visual Studio Codespaces user, you can start your transition to GitHub Codespaces now and the current Azure offering will be retired in February 2021.

Why is the service moving?

During the preview we’ve learned that transitioning from a repository to a codespace is the most critical piece of your workflow and the vast majority of you preferred a richly integrated, native, one-click experience. Since GitHub is the home of 50M developers, it made sense to partner with them to address this feedback. However, after the GitHub-native experience was released, we started hearing that the two distinct experiences were causing confusion amongst our users.

We believe that by consolidating the current Codespaces experiences into one, we can eliminate confusion, simplify the experience for everyone, and make more rapid progress to address customer feedback.

What does this mean for users in the public preview?

For current users, we encourage you to migrate to GitHub Codespaces with us. Since GitHub Codespaces is still in a limited public beta, we will be working to get you added to the beta as quickly as possible. The next time you connect to a codespace through the portal or Visual Studio Code, we’ll prompt you to submit the preferred GitHub account you’d like to be added to the beta. Every Azure subscription owner with a Visual Studio Codespaces plan will also receive an email requesting their preferred GitHub account.

While GitHub Codespaces provides an optimized creation experience for GitHub repositories, you can still utilize Git repositories hosted elsewhere (e.g Azure Repos, Bitbucket) with a few extra configuration steps. Check out our FAQs for more details.

What does this mean for users in the private preview?

The private preview of Visual Studio 2019 support for Windows-based Codespaces will also move to GitHub. Users currently in the private preview will be invited to continue the private preview on GitHub as soon as it’s available in the next few weeks. All new users accepted to try Windows Codespaces and Visual Studio will onboard directly to the private preview on GitHub. Stay tuned for more details.

What happens next?

We want to ensure you have ample time to migrate so existing users can continue accessing your codespaces via the current portal beyond the start of GitHub general availability.

Here’s a short summary of our timeline:

  • September 4, 2020 – Current users can begin transitioning to the GitHub private beta.
  • December 16, 2020 – Creation of new plans and codespaces will be disabled, although existing codespaces may continue to be used. New users will only be able to sign up for Codespaces on GitHub.
  • February 17, 2021 – The Visual Studio Codespaces portal will be retired. All plans and codespaces remaining in the service will be deleted.

Is everything from the Visual Studio service moving over?

As with all previews, we are constantly evaluating which features meet the bar for General Availability and the move to GitHub presents another point where we must consider what makes sense to bring forward. We welcome your feedback as we evaluate each feature’s future and will share decisions in our FAQs as they happen.

I just heard about Codespaces and want to try it out. What should I do?

We recommend requesting access to the GitHub Codespaces limited public beta.


Thank you for participating in the Visual Studio Codespaces Public Preview. You’ve provided valuable feedback as we iterated on the experience and we look forward to delivering a delightful experience in our new home on GitHub. Be sure to check out our FAQs for future updates and more details on transitioning to the GitHub service. Happy coding!