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Why I fell in love with VS Code’s Live Share and why you should too

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Why I fell in love with VS Code’s  Live Share and why you should too

Last night I introduced Live Share to my class I am teaching online. Because we are not physically in the same room, but perhaps we want to collaborate on code within the same editor (which is not even possible if we are in the same physical location anyway), we can connect with each other via VS Code’s Live Share extension.

My students were able to go into my slide deck for the class and edit it in real time. Then they saved the changes, and I then subsequently made necessary updates to reflect those changes. It increased their attention and also their engagement. We all had a certain learning curve we had to overcome, but this after all was the first time we had used it for the class. I believe it is a fantastic tool to use, and students (or team members at work) can check out code, make changes to test in real time, and also have the ability to view the impact of those changes immediately via the Live Share “Shared Server” feature. Either one can use VS Code’s Live Server extension and share the URL that appears in the browser when the project opens up as a result of clicking on the “Go Live” tab at the bottom of the active VS Code window instance, or one can even use the port used by npm packages like nodemon in order to view the project in question in a local server instance. Physical location is no longer important or relevant when collaborating on projects. It can all be done from all over the place with tools such as Live Share. This is great in our era of remote/hybrid learningorwork. I ***am in*** 100%`.

There is also a chat area that is initialized within the VS Code collaborative session instance where students or team members can share their thoughts or ideas in real time.

And if on throws in something like Zoom or Google Meet (in our case, it is Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for student learning online), one can add audio/visual features. This way, collaborators can actually speak with each other and also share their screens if necessary. Live Share does not include audio, and the Live Share extension pack does not work, because the audio feature breaks it. The audio feature is blocked by browsers for security reasons. When it first came out 3 years ago, Live Share’s audio feature did work, but the quality was not great. With the advent of Zoom, Google Meet, and other like tools, it really doesn’t matter anyway.

I highly encourage trying out VS Code’s Live Share. It works like a charm! Also read my article entitled Successfully Using Live Share Extension in VS Code, which takes you through the steps of getting set up with VS Code Live Share. After this setup process, you will be ready for live code collaboration with your team members or fellow students in real time. Physical location is no longer an issue! However, you can still use this handy tool if you ARE in the same physical location, because without it, you still would not be able to collaborate within a common text editor instance!