JetBrains starts adding remote dev functionality on IDEs and introduces Fleet

As well as separating its front and back ends to allow remote development, JetBrains has moved into the lightweight IDE space with Fleet.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: JetBrains

JetBrains has begun separating the front and back ends of its IDEs to allow developers to have the interface on one machine, but have the source code, toolchain, and IDE backend on another.

Using the new JetBrains Gateway IDE launcher, the connection to the remote machine is via SSH and currently only supports Linux physical and virtual machines as servers.

"The JetBrains Client runs locally and provides the user interface for the IDE backend. It's based on the IntelliJ Platform and feels just like a full IntelliJ-based IDE -- it has the same editor, code completion, navigation, inspections, and refactoring tools as a local IDE, but all of the files are hosted remotely and all of the language processing is done on the remote server," the company said in a blog post.

"Remote development is a great way to make use of powerful cloud-based servers, create reproducible, clean development environments, and avoid the nightmare of losing a laptop full of important source code."

Other restrictions on remote development include only being available on IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate, and not the free community edition, as well as users plugins needing to be installed both locally and remotely.

"We are working on the ability to install plugins remotely from JetBrains Client," the company said.

Gateway is bundled with IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate, PyCharm Professional, GoLand, PhpStorm, and RubyMine, and is able to be used standalone with CLion and WebStorm.

At the same time, JetBrains dipped its toe into the world of lightweight editors with a limited preview of Fleet, which it said has been "built from scratch with a new architecture".

Opening as a text editor, once its smart mode is enabled, Fleet will connect to an IntelliJ IDEA or Language Server Protocol-based backend depending on the language, to provide functionality such as refactoring, highlighting, completion, and type information. Fleet can also be used for collaborative development with multiple clients able to connect to the same backend.

Fleet with smart mode enabled.

Image: JetBrains

Fleet currently supports Java, Kotlin, Python, Go, JavaScript, Rust, TypeScript, and JSON, with PHP, C++, C#, and HTML slated to arrive soon.

Additonally, JetBrains has also launched Docker development environments in its Space tool that run on JetBrains servers.

"Space lets you prepare the backend for work, cloning the Git repo, building project indexes, and resolving dependencies for you," JetBrains said.

"It will seem as if someone has come to the office an hour before you, turned your computer on, and opened the project in the IDE and prepared everything for you. So you can get your day off to a great start and begin working in a 100% ready IDE."

If users do not use an environment for 30 minutes, the container is automatically shut down, with unsaved changes being saved. The Containers are currently only able to support one repository.

Virtual machines are currently offered in 4, 8, and 16 core configurations with 8, 16, and 32GB of memory respectively, with pricing set at $0.40, $0.80, and $1.60 per hour, and storage of the environment charged at $0.008 per hour.

The developer environments can be accessed with an IDE supported by Gateway, or with Fleet.

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