Visual Studio Live Share for real-time code reviews and interactive education

Jon Chu

Collaborating with your team using Visual Studio Live Share keeps getting easier! Since making Live Share available for the public use at BUILD last May, we’ve heard so much great feedback from our users, which has helped guide us in continuing to build a tool that truly enables developers to collaborate in all the ways they need from the comfort of their favorite tools. Your feedback has pointed us towards new collaboration scenarios that we had not previously thought of (e.g. technical interviews and hackathons), as well helped us prioritize releasing some of the biggest feature requests and issues, like sharing multi-root workspaces, making it easier to visually interact with a Live Share session, as well as allowing guests to start a debugging session. We’ve come a long way, and we have so much more collaboration goodness to bring you! If you haven’t checked out Live Share yet, get started collaborating today!

Live Share + Visual Studio 2019

After installing the Visual Studio 2019 Preview, you’ll immediately notice a Live Share button in the top-right corner of your IDE. Starting with Visual Studio 2019, Live Share is now installed by default with most workloads, making it easier than ever to start collaborating with your teammates.

For a quick overview of how to get started with Live Share, we have a walkthrough for you to watch:

We’ve also been working to bring features to enable better Live Share support for Visual Studio users. For our public preview release, we announced universal language support for all languages and platforms. We’re happy to say we’ve continued to expand this capability and have recently added language support for more languages, including: C++, VB.NET, and Razor, with F# and Python on the way soon.

Additionally, one of the top feature requests from Visual Studio users of Live Share was enabling Solution View for guests. Now, you will see the project-based view of the codebase, rather than the “folder view”. The guests and host no longer have different views into the project, and now have the same view, as if they were all developing locally.

Real-time code reviews

Another big area of collaboration among teams comes when committing your code and conducting reviews. Live Share wants to further enhance that experience and offer new ways to work with your teammates.

When a host shares their code during a Live Share session, guests will have access to the shared source control diffs. Available in both Visual Studio (with the Pull Requests for Visual Studio extension), and Visual Studio Code, guests can view the diffs to get context on what changes have been made before or during a session. This can help with having real-time code reviews in your tool of choice, or even figuring out a merge conflict.

Another aspect of the reviewing experience is comments. For that, Live Share enables in-line commenting. While in a session, participants can add comments to code for others to see in real-time. You can use this for making notes about certain changes found in a shared diff or making a to-do list of things to accomplish during the collaboration session.

To further enhance your code review experience, and ensure you can use the tools you’re already familiar with, we’re excited to announce that GitLens has added support for Live Share! As a guest, you can visualize code authorship with Git blame annotations, navigate through line/file/repo history, and view diffs between arbitrary baselines (e.g commits, branches, or tags).

Collaboration comes in so many different forms, so working with the extension ecosystem to holistically address the various ways developers work together is integral to Live Share. We’ve also partnered with other 3rd party extensions to augment Live Share collaboration sessions with their additional capabilities, like auto-sharing servers created by Live Server, sharing Test Explorer results with guests, and letting guests execute code as it is written with Quokka.js.

Interactive Education

The primary goal of Visual Studio Live Share is to enable developers to collaborate with each other more easily, and education is a scenario we care deeply about. Whether you’re mentoring a developer on your team, or giving a lecture to a classroom, Live Share provides participants with an experience that is more engaging and truly personalized to everyone’s learning needs.

While Live Share was already applicable to education, we’ve specifically addressed the following key feedback items, in order to ensure it’s further optimized for the diverse needs of instructors and students everywhere:

Get Collaborating!

If you haven’t had a chance, give Visual Studio Live Share a try! The extension is also available for download for Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio Code users. Additionally, it available as a default install option in the new Visual Studio 2019 Preview.

For more information about using Live Share, please check out our docs! We’re so grateful for all the amazing feedback we’ve received from you, and love hearing more. We talked a about a few new use cases we’ve optimized for based on your feedback, and we’re so excited for all the new ways we can enhance how you collaborate. As always, feel free to send us your feedback by filing issues and feature requests on GitHub.

Happy Collaborating!

Jon Chu, Program Manager @jonwchuJon is a Program Manager on the Visual Studio Live Share team bringing collaboration tools to developers, enabling them to tell their own unique stories. Prior to Live Share he’s worked on XAML tooling and NuGet.


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