There is consensus among the thousands of developers we have surveyed that context switching is detrimental to productivity and staying in the zone. One way to reduce this is to integrate the essential tools developers use every day into their IDE. According to the latest Stack Overflow survey, the tools developers use most are GitHub, Jira, and Slack. In this post we will focus on the GitHub integration in Visual Studio Code.
GitHub has been integrated into VS Code for some time now, with versions released prior to Microsoft’s acquisition. The GitHub Pull Requests and Issues extension, now under Microsoft’s ownership, has been downloaded about 1.2 million times and has received an average of 3 stars in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace. Many of the recent reviews are 1 star, as GitHub decided to discontinue its support for GitHub Enterprise. In addition, many reviews state that the extension is very buggy, or just does not work.
If you are interested in integrating GitHub in your IDE, CodeStream offers a better alternative. The CodeStream extension for VS Code supports GitHub Cloud and Enterprise, as well as GitHub issues. If you are not a VS Code user, the CodeStream extension for JetBrains is also available with the exact same functionality. The CodeStream extensions have been downloaded about 300,000 times and have an average rating of 4.4 stars. Many reviews praise the functionality and quality of the extension declaring that it works well and is a great tool for code reviews.
If you are one of those GitHub users who prefers an issue tracker from someone other than GitHub, CodeStream lets you integrate with any of 15 different trackers including Jira, Asana, Trello, Azure DevOps, Linear, and Clubhouse.
In addition to integrating with code hosts (CodeStream also supports GitLab and Bitbucket, but not yet for Pull/Merge Requests) and issue trackers, CodeStream includes a built-in code chat solution that enables frictionless code discussion and integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams. CodeStream also allows you to request feedback on unreviewed commits without the need for a pull request with just two clicks.
The table below summarizes the comparison between the Microsoft GitHub extension and the CodeStream extension for Github.
Both the CodeStream and the Microsoft Github extensions are free to use for an unlimited number of users indefinitely. If your organization is very security conscious when it comes to code, CodeStream also offers an on-premises version available for a free trial, as shown here. The paid version also includes premium support and reporting features.