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CodeSandbox Blog

A Unified CodeSandbox Experience

A Unified CodeSandbox Experience

For the last 18 months, we have been working on Projects, a new CodeSandbox experience that’s significantly more powerful than anything we have created before.

During this time, we took every chance we got to talk to our users and learn how we can improve their development workflow. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we’re receiving makes us believe that we created a new experience that works incredibly well.

Today, we’re integrating this new experience into CodeSandbox so you can use it to code anything from idea to production.

Projects is now Repositories

During these months of open beta, Projects grew quickly. We made some key improvements to our editor, our dashboard, the integrations with VS Code and GitHub, and our micro VMs.

As a result, we’ve seen Projects' adoption take off, especially with dev teams at companies like Adverity, who realize just how much time and effort they save by using Projects for their workflow:

I looked at a PR, made some changes together with Bartosz Wisniewski, previewed them live and pushed them. All without checking out anything locally. This probably saved me 1 hour right now. HUUGE win! — Dominik Dorfmeister

To us, it’s clear that this is part of our core product offering. This means that we need to provide more clarity on what the experience brings and how it fits with everything else that CodeSandbox provides.

So, today we’re announcing that Projects has been officially renamed to Repositories. With this name change, our goal is to make it clear that Repositories tailor to an improved git workflow powered by the cloud.

With Repositories, we automatically create a new sandbox for every branch, and these sandboxes are automatically connected to git.

branch-workflow

Because we run every branch on a fast micro VM, you can branch any repo within 2 seconds, see the code running immediately, work on a branch, share it with your colleagues, quickly make/review changes and open a pull request.

Much like the feedback from Adverity I shared above, most devs using Repositories are highlighting a handful of ways why they get a lot of value by implementing this on their workflow:

  • Being able to code from anywhere (as illustrated by this testimonial)
  • Saving hours every week creating and reviewing PRs, by having an editable deployment preview for every PR
  • Working with complex setups with no restrictions
  • Sharing code easily with anyone, jumping on live sessions when needed
  • Simplifying the process of working with team members

So, if you were already using Projects, what does this mean for you?

We made it a requirement to have as little impact as possible. You will not encounter any breaking changes, but you will notice some layout changes in our dashboard, as I will explore in the next section.

In case you were using our previous version of “Repositories”, you will now find them under “Synced sandboxes”, to make a clear distinction between those (which lack a fluid source control experience) and our Repositories flow.

Unified Dashboard

While we were rolling out CodeSandbox Projects, we kept it separate from the full dashboard experience. This allowed us to get some insights about Projects (now Repositories) as a self-contained development workflow.

Now that we’re making Repositories part of our product offering, we have unified our dashboard to provide a seamless workflow.

In the new dashboard, you will find:

  • Repositories (formerly Projects)
  • Sandboxes
  • Cloud Beta Sandboxes (new)
  • Synced sandboxes (formerly Repositories)

To help you navigate these changes, we added notifications across the new dashboard pages to highlight all the key updates.

pick-up

Introducing Cloud Sandboxes

As you probably know, our sandboxes ran everything on your browser, using the resources of your device. This meant that you could stumble into limitations when working on a complex project or working from a low-spec machine.

With so many users relying on our sandboxes to learn, experiment and code, we wanted to remove the constraints of running code in the browser—truly making coding accessible to anyone.

Today, we are doing exactly that by releasing Cloud Sandboxes—a new and improved sandboxing experience that, instead of running the code on your browser, runs it on a fast micro VM. This means that you can code anything, virtually with no limits, regardless of the specs of your own device.

cloud-sandbox

And these Cloud Sandboxes are fast too! You can fork anything within 2 seconds and just keep on working. Thanks to memory snapshotting, we can also spin up a sandbox with running dev servers within 1 second.

Because these Cloud Sandboxes have built-in Docker support, you can go as far as you’d like—code server-side apps, bring in databases and add servers to your sandbox.

Take them for a spin using our new templates!

Improved Editor Experience

A code editor is a matter of personal preference that can greatly impact your productivity. As we take this step forward towards a unified CodeSandbox experience, we’re making two key improvements to the editing experience.

First, we are bringing our new editor to Cloud Sandboxes. This editor was built from the ground up, with a minimal interface that put the focus on coding. We have made several improvements since releasing it together with Repositories earlier this year and are excited to make it available to everyone using our Cloud Sandboxes.

editor-experience

All your existing browser-based sandboxes will keep using the same editor you know and love. Meanwhile, you can try out Cloud Sandboxes by starting from a template—just bear in mind that these sandboxes are in beta and lack some features of browser sandboxes, such as embeds and themes (we’re working on making those available soon).

Second, and more importantly, this shift to cloud-powered sandboxes means that CodeSandbox is now fully editor-agnostic. By breaking free from the limitations of running code in the browser, we now allow you to choose if you want to code in Cloud Sandboxes from our web editor or from our iOS app. If you are coding in Repositories, you can also choose to code right from VS Code.

This seamless integration allows you to switch back and forth between our editors without skipping a beat. See more details in our Docs.

A Faster, More Powerful Development Flow

With this update, our goal is to empower users like you to quickly go from idea to production by providing an instant, limitless development environment.

By leveraging the power of the cloud, we allow you to code anything, anywhere, from any device, and collaborate with anyone by simply sharing a URL.

Take a look at what’s new and improve your development workflow!