Gitpod product improvements and updates

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VS Code open in a Gitpod workspace with the option to open in local VS Code displayed

VS Code Desktop support

It’s here 🎉! Starting today, you can access Gitpod workspaces right from your locally installed VS Code - we call it “VS Code Desktop Support”. Yep, that’s right - keep your local settings1 and benefit from Gitpod’s high-spec servers & automated prebuilds. As you would expect, your code continues to stay in an ephemeral Gitpod workspace which keeps each of your projects nicely isolated from one another.

To get started, all it takes is two steps:

  1. Start a new Gitpod workspace (learn how in the docs).
  2. Open the command palette (⇧⌘P or Ctrl+Shift+P), type “Open in VS Code” and hit Enter.

This opens your local VS Code, connects to the Gitpod workspace and let’s you develop, test & debug your application as if it was running locally.

We continue to enhance this feature, but for now we’d love to hear about your experience. Please let us know in the feedback issue, contact us via Twitter @gitpod or chat with us at

If you are already familiar with the Local Companion app we announced in June, note that VS Code Desktop Support is built on top of it and you can continue to use the Local Companion app independently of VS Code.

1 may I add, yes this also means you get to keep your keyboard shortcuts just the way you prefer them. You know, Ctrl/Cmd + W to close an editor tab 😉.

Fixes and improvements

  • #5511 - Breaking Change: Remove Theia settings and point to Code image
  • #5633 - Update code to 1.60.0
  • #4997 - OpenVSX proxy cache
  • #5568 - GitLab users who have not completed the auth process on GitLab will be notified with an error message
  • #5362 - [gitlab] Accept ’#’ sign in branches / context URLs
  • #5180 - [docker-up] Update docker-compose and slirp4netns
  • #5513 - [code] Add open dashboard menu option to home menu
  • #5456 - vscode desktop on windows

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Faster workspace startup times

Faster workspace startup times

A key metric we deeply care about at Gitpod (and I’m sure you do, too) is workspace startup time. In a world where you create and dispose of workspaces many times per day, the last thing you want is waiting for a workspace to start 🐌.

In this release, we made significant progress in lowering startup times 🏎. What initially may sound like complex changes turned out to be a +4 -4 pull request (#4847). Yay simplicity!

To give you an idea of the magnitute of improvement we’re talking about, here’s a before / after comparison with 30 workspaces started twice:

Before Now
Plotted graph of workspace startup times ranging between 20s and 60s Plotted graph of workspace startup times ranging between 5s and 20s

Did you pay close attention to the y-axis? From between 20 to 60 seconds down to 5 to 20 seconds!

Great work team, let’s shift our focus to other features. These improvements are certainly worth celebrating 🎂, but we’re hungry to drop these times by at least the same magnitude once or twice more! Team, finish your cake and get back to work 😉.

Please do let us know if you notice any differences with your project startup times. You can find us at

Fixes and improvements

  • #4844 - Provide better feedback when gitpod.yml is invalid
  • #4816 - [gp] env: handle multi-word values without quotes
  • #4813 - [server] Handle releases/tag/in GitHub context parser
  • #4743 - [code] confirm sharing
  • #4738 - [code] serve each webview from own origin
  • #4734 - [#4699] Handle error situations around /headless-logs endpoint
  • #4115 - [server] store separate email used for commits (GitHub and GitLab). Thanks to @philschatz.

Gitpod Self-hosted

We released 0.10.0 and updated the documentation to match. Head over to to get started.

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Gitpod Local Companion

Introducing the Gitpod Local Companion app

As of today, you can access your Gitpod workspace from your local environment 🎉!

Why does this matter? Imagine you start a development server for your web application in Gitpod. You can preview that online at a URL, where “nnnn” is the port your dev server listens on. Sometimes though, development features such as live reloading may not be compatible with that URL format and rather require something like http://localhost:10000 to communicate with the dev server.

With the Gitpod Local Companion app, localhost URLs can now access your dev server running in a Gitpod workspace. The best part of that: It works with any TCP port. You could run a MySQL database in your Gitpod workspace and access the database with your favourite GUI through localhost:3306.

To learn more and get started today, please see our introduction blog post.

Fixes and improvements

  • #4548 - Breaking Change: Make ports configured in .gitpod.yml private by default when no value for visibility is given (was public). This change is for security reasons.
  • #4614 - Added a deprecation warning for Theia.
  • #4543 - Deprecate prebuild task in gitpod.yml.
  • #4542 - Remove ide task in gitpod.yml.
  • #4524 - Remove deprecated openModes in `.gitpod.yml.
  • #4633 - Fix gp open/preview to await till VS Code UI is available.
  • #3259 - Support VS Code web extensions which are running in a browser worker, (particularly Vim).
  • #2879 - Fix unvalidated redirects (credit: Arif Khan from SaveBreach Team).
  • #4580 - Support workspace sharing from VS Code.
  • #4627 - Deprecate user uploaded extensions.
  • #4560 - Fix out of order typing in terminals.
  • #4589 - Add dodo to animals (thanks @a2br!).
  • #4287 - Modify the “New Git Integration” experience to align with provider terminology (thanks @jordanhailey!).
  • #4401, #4490, #4571 - Implement a new Teams UI in the dashboard (behind a feature flag).

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Incremental prebuilds

Faster, incremental prebuilds

With prebuilds, Gitpod continuously builds your developer environment so that it is ready-to-code by the time you start a new workspace.

So far, Gitpod started each prebuild from a clean slate. With this latest release, Gitpod now supports incremental prebuilds, which means Gitpod will try to re-use a prebuild from an earlier commit in order to create new prebuilds faster. In short, it now takes less time for your prebuild to be ready after a new commit is pushed to your Git provider.

Note: This is a controlled feature release so that we can measure the performance impact on projects. There is nothing you need to do other than wait and at some point experience quicker prebuild times 🚀.

Fixes and improvements

  • #3995 - Implement new self-hosted setup flow.
  • #4170 - Hide “stopping” & unpinned workspaces from “Active” in the dashboard.
  • #4118 - Fix Cross Origin Websocket Access (credit: Joern Schneeweisz from the GitLab Security Research Team). Avatar of

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Redesigned Gitpod dashboard

Hello Dark mode

We heard you and implemented a dashboard dark mode (PR #3901) 🌑! Head over to to pick the light or dark theme. Alternatively, select “System” and let us pick the theme that matches your system settings.

If you have specific feedback related to dark mode, please let us know in our feedback issue #3727 🙏🏻.

Fixes and improvements

  • #3940 - Add OAuth2 host check (credit: Joern Schneeweisz from the GitLab Security Research Team).
  • #4051 - Ask user for confirmation before deleting an environment variable.
  • #4069 - Fix loading Gitpod’s dashboard in Safari less than v14.
  • #3830 - Optimize Gitpod’s dashboard to make it lighter and load faster.
  • #4018 - Make the Docker daemon in workspaces auto-start when needed by introducing a socket activated ‘sudo docker-up’.
  • #3945 - UX: Fix accidental workspace deletion when using the ‘Enter’ key.
  • #3938 - Also show environment variables with identical names but different scopes in the dashboard.
  • #3866 - Fix quantity type conversion in Team plans.

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Redesigned Gitpod dashboard

🍊 Dashboard Redesign

Aligned with our Next Chapter for Gitpod announcement, we reimplemented and redesigned the Gitpod dashboard!

Technical improvements under the hood result in a more performant, snappier dashboard. We would love to hear your feedback and learn how we can provide you with an even better experience. Please provide your comments in our feedback issue #3727 🙏🏻.

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VS Code on Gitpod

Synchronize Theia user settings with VS Code

We recently launched support for VS Code.

If you switch your editor to VS Code, your user settings and extensions configured in Theia will be synchronized with VS Code automatically when you start a new workspace (unless you manually uploaded an extension).

Fixes and improvements

  • #3087 - Remove the privileged feature flag.
  • #3175 - Fix Env Var context parsing.
  • #3177 - [supervisor] Let supervisor fail when first IDE start fails.
  • #3182 - [registry-facade] Remove feature flag.
  • #3228 - Allow air-gap Gitpod installations.
  • Improved workspace startup time in high-load situations.
  • Started to adopt the controller framework which will lead to Gitpod producing less load on the Kubernetes API.

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For older updates, please visit the previous changelog.