VSCode Virtual Environments using your Browser

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of virtual environments and PowerShell. Late last year I wrote this series on Nested Virtual PowerShell Desktop Environments on Windows 10 & Windows Server 2019 in Azure A lot of the back story for that three post series was to have virtual environments for PowerShell.

Moving forward six months and I’m at the beginning of the journey towards migrating from PowerShell Desktop to PowerShell Core. The quickest way to get started with PowerShell Core is to use the Windows 10 feature of Windows Subsystem for Linux. Of course you should also have made (or be making) the migration from PowerShell ISE to VSCode.

So what if you could have Virtual VSCode environments accessible via a browser as your IDE for building and using PowerShell Core? Well you can.

Here is VSCode running a PowerShell Core command via a browser from a Ubuntu based Windows Subsystem for Linux environment in a Windows 10 Virtual Machine running in Azure.

Powershell Core on Linux on Windows via VSCode in Browser.PNG

Prerequisites

A key component of this magic is Code Server. Code Server is an open source self-contained environment for VSCode designed to offload the IDE from lower powered environments (tablets, Chromebooks etc) and is currently supported on Linux and Mac (OSX) with Windows coming soon.

If you have an environment with either of those then all good, as you were. If you only have Windows then on Windows 10 install Windows Subsystem for Linux via the Microsoft Store App. My Windows System for Linux flavour is Ubuntu.

WSL Ubuntu.PNG

Code Server

Download Code Server from the Github Releases page here and save it to your local machine. Running Ubuntu I downloaded the Linux binary. Untar it using

tar -xf yourDownloadedversion.tar.gz

Untar Code Server

Change into the extracted directory with the code-server executable in and run code-server

./code-server

Take note of the password as you will need this when you connect to Code Server via your browser.

Start Code Server

If the host you are running Code Server is remote (as mine is, in Azure) make sure you have networking configured for the default port (8443). I had to update my NSG for the inbound port of 8443.

Note: this isn’t a normal configuration, allowing source any for incoming ports. I have this locked down to the necessary source IP’s (but I’m not going to show them here).

Inbound Security Rules.PNG

Then in your browser you can hit the your host on port 8443 and provide the password that was displayed when starting Code Server. You will then have VSCode running in essentially a Virtual Environment accessible via a browser.

VSCode running in a Browser

PowerShell Core

My Windows Subsystem for Linux Ubuntu version is currently 18.04 and I already had downloaded and installed PowerShell Core for Ubuntu 18.04

lsb_release -a

Installation Instructions are here

Ubuntu Windows Subsystem for Linux Version.PNG

Install the PowerShell VSCode Extension along with any of the other extensions you regularly use. BOOM, you now have a Virtual VSCode environment for use with PowerShell Core on (and in my case on Ubuntu under Windows 10).

PowerShell VSCode Extension

Summary

What a crazy time to be in the IT industry. Nested disparate operating systems running IDE’s in browsers executing cross-platform scripting languages. Wow.

To run multiple sessions on the same host use the -p (port) command to specify a different port for each instance.

Code Server specifying Port.PNG

Getting started with Ubuntu on Windows (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

This week I was building in Azure a Linux Server (Ubuntu 14). I’d deployed my new Ubuntu Server and I went to connect to it. But I was on a brand new laptop. No tools with SSH installed. Damn. As I was about to go and get my usual windows favorite SSH tools I remembered a session of Build 2017 and Microsoft starting to talk more loudly about Windows Subsystem for Linux. Yes, Ubuntu on Windows, with SUSE and Fedora coming soon. TechCrunch story here.

Now it is still listed as Beta, but the changes appear to coming pretty fast. I figured it should have more than enough for what I needed, and I could hopefully avoid having to install other 3rd party tools and maybe even finally say goodbye to Cygwin. So I dove in, and here is my quick-start guide to get you started.

Prerequisite

Your computer must be running (at a minimum) a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. OS Build 14393

Windows Subsystem for Linux - Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Windows Subsystem for Linux – Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Installing Windows Subsystem for Linux

To configure your Windows 10 machine to accept WSL go to Windows => Settings and select Update & Security.

Windows Subsystem for Linux - Windows 10 Developer Mode
Windows Subsystem for Linux – Windows 10 Developer Mode

Select For developers and enable Developer Mode.

Windows Subsystem for Linux - Windows 10 Developer Mode
Windows Subsystem for Linux – Windows 10 Developer Mode

Agree to the warning.

Windows Subsystem for Linux
Windows Subsystem for Linux

Now open Turn Windows Features on or off and select the checkbox for Windows Subsystem for Linux 

Windows Subsystem for Linux
Windows Subsystem for Linux

Restart your workstation

Windows Subsystem for Linux - Restart
Windows Subsystem for Linux – Restart

After the restart from an elevated command prompt type Bash to attempt to start a Bash Shell. As it is the first time, you will be prompted to install Ubuntu.

Windows Subsystem for Linux - Bash
Windows Subsystem for Linux – Bash

Following installation you will be prompted to create a Linux User. This is purely for the Linux environment so does not have anything to do with your Windows Login and Password.

Windows Subsystem for Linux - Create Linux User
Windows Subsystem for Linux – Create Linux User

Using SSH from WSL

Now that I have a bash shell on my Windows laptop, lets use SSH to connect to my new Ubuntu Server.

Windows Subsystem for Linux SSH Connected
Windows Subsystem for Linux SSH Connected

And I’m in. Happy days.