When comparing Google Cloud Shell vs Gitpod, the Slant community recommends Gitpod for most people. In the question“What are the best cloud IDEs?” Gitpod is ranked 11th while Google Cloud Shell is ranked 12th. The most important reason people chose Gitpod is:
Gitpod workspaces are very customizable. You can define a workspace with `.gitpod.yml` and define your own Dockerfile if you need tools that needs preinstalled automatically.
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Pro VM is always up-to-date, making it more secure
Because the VM image is managed by Google and either provided entirely by Google or configured by a Dockerfile (which is regularly rebuilt), packages are far more likely to be kept up-to-date with the last patches and security fixes compared with Cloud IDEs that give you your own VM and make you, yourself, in charge of applying updates.
Pro Supports custom software packages via a Dockerfile configuring the Cloud Shell image
With Cloud Shell custom environments (an early access feature), it is possible to specify a "Dockerfile" to specify a custom VM image to use for the Cloud Shell environment. This Dockerfile can be used to install packages with apt-get, npm, pip, etc. globally.
Pro Already has Google Cloud SDK and other tooling installed
Thus eliminating a setup step for interacting with Google Cloud.
Pro Already provisioned with Google Application Default Credentials
This makes it easier to run/test code that interacts with Google APIs.
Pro Includes Eclipse Orion IDE already configured
Eclipse Orion can be difficult to setup/configure if creating a do-it-yourself VM running Eclipse. This makes it easier to have a working IDE.
Google Cloud Shell is free for Google Cloud Platform customers.
Pro Supports multiple open files at the same time
One can split the screen and edit two files at once, making it easy to edit one file while consulting the contents of some other file.
Pro Supports editor and terminal in the same screen
This makes it easy to run commands while editing files at the same time.
Pro Supports "Boost Mode"
Allowing you to provision a more powerful instance when necessary.
Pro Customizable Workspaces
Gitpod workspaces are very customizable. You can define a workspace with
.gitpod.yml and define your own Dockerfile if you need tools that needs preinstalled automatically.
Pro Open Source to the core
Gitpod is a Web IDE product by TypeFox, which created Theia, a open source IDE framework. They rely on Kubernetes, Docker, Theia, and Let's Encrypt to provide this service - providing a 100% OSS-based SaaS.
Pro Workspaces are created from GitHub URLs
Any GitHub repository can be prepended with
https://gitpod.io# to define a Gitpod workspace. Here's an example of it.
Pro VNC Support
Gitpod has VNC support out of the box, which allows you to test Desktop apps within the cloud.
Pro Pre-authorized Git Client
This is the only GitHub-based Web IDE that pre-authorizes the git client, saving you time to do setup.
Pro GitHub Pull Request Issues Comments are viewable on the IDE
No need to jump tabs when making needed changes for your GitHub Pull Request. Gitpod supports viewing the comments and resolving those through the IDE - so you can resolve comments without ever needing to mark it resolved manually on GitHub.
Pro Automatic Configuration
If your GitHub repositories does not have a manifest to make a stack, Gitpod will attempt to make a stack based on what it understood about your codebase. However, for popular projects, a central repository on GitHub exists to configure a workspace automatically for them without the manifest file to be present.
Pro Language Server Protocol support
LSP is a standard made by Microsoft to create a single common core that can be consumed by a development tool. Theia is based on Visual Studio Code and supports LSP natively.
Con Ephemeral Disk
Software installed globally as root (such as via "sudo apt-get install..." ) can be lost when restarting Cloud Shell; any software that needs to be persistent has to be installed in the user directory (or made part of the Docker image for the custom Cloud Shell image).
Con Minimal UI
Cloud Shell's editor is not as featureful as some alternatives.
Con Does not create forks automatically for you
If you make a Gitpod workspace based on a GitHub repository you do not own,
git push will fail and you need to query the Git client to make the fork for you.
Con Can be slow on 3G Networks
The crux of this is because of the large
bundle.js that is needed to be transferred, this is a problem within Theia.
Con Packages can't be installed through the CLI
Gitpod doesn't support
apt installs yet due to the container mounting through an NFS. To alleviate this, you need to define a custom stack for your project if you need it.