Cloud IDEs and Okteto are focused on giving teams a fantastic developer experience. However, they are focused on two very different problems.
Cloud IDEs (in this category I’m bundling together Gitpod, Coder, GitHub Code Spaces, JFrog Spaces, etc) are focused on giving teams a “developer environment” that includes your source code, a runtime (e.g. the JDK), dev-time tooling (e.g. a compiler, or your test runner) and a pre-configured IDE. You can think of this as the same things that you’d be running on your local machine, but on an ephemeral VM in the cloud, that you typically access via a browser.
Cloud IDEs are a fantastic solution for projects with a small number of services and a small footprint, or for those companies that want to prevent developers from having access to the source code on their local machine. However, a cloud IDE doesn’t “look like production”, since you will still be running all your infra in the development VM by hand (and running kubernetes on a Cloud IDE is no fun, trust me).
Okteto, on the other hand, is focused on helping you deploy cloud development environments that mirror production. Okteto helps you define, build and deploy production-like cloud development environments, and it gives you the tools so that you can interact with them the way you are used to: with your favorite IDE, and a really fast inner loop.
The main benefit of Okteto is that your cloud development environment looks like production, but you can still sync your code , hot reload processes, and debug at will. With this, you know that your code will work in production because you are developing using the same manifests, the same infra, and even the same configuration. And because they run in the cloud, they are fast!
The best part of this is that you don’t have to choose. Okteto works with any IDE, whether it is local or in the cloud. If this is something you are interested in, Arsh and Pauline (Head of Community at Gitpod) recently recorded a live stream on how to use Gitpod and Okteto together to create a very powerful and portable development experience. Check it out!