Codeshare is a free online collaborative coding website in which you can code together with multiple users. You can start working on a piece of code and then invite other users to collaborate with you remotely. All the users can code in real-time on the same piece of code and the changes done by one will be visible to others in real-time. This website also provides video chat option to chat with your collaborators.
Codeshare also comes with useful features that enhance the experience of coding. First of all, it comes with a code formatting option. You can choose the programming language that you are coding in from a long list of languages, and then it will format the code accordingly. In addition to that, you can also choose the theme of your online code editor, and also choose the style of that (Vim, Emacs, etc.).
Codeshare is a fantastic website if you want to quickly collaborate with others while working on a tricky piece of code. This can also be used to get quick peer code reviews done, when your peers are located geographically apart. Instructors will also find it highly useful to guide and see how their students are approaching a coding problem. This website is completely free for the basic features I mentioned above, and comes with a premium plan if you want to use it to hold coding interviews.
How to Collaboratively Code Online Using Codeshare:
I have been coding since almost 2 decades now and Codeshare is one of the best online collaborative coding website I have come across. It is not meant to work on large complicated projects together, neither does it claim it can do that. For that, I would have wanted to see some even more advanced features in it, like, online code compilation, code execution, etc., which it does not do. Instead, singular focus of this online collaborative code editor is to work together on a piece of code that is a pain in the ass for you.
To start coding using Codeshare, just go to its website, and create a free account (you can start coding without creating a free account as well, but then you won’t be able to collaborate with others). After that, create a new piece of code that you want to work on. You will then see a Share button. Use this button to get URL that you can share with others with whom you want to collaborate with. The best part is that others won’t need to create an account online to collaboratively code with you; they just need to click on the URL to open this website and see the piece of code that you are working on and also edit the code themselves.
Here are some of the features that Codeshare offers for collaborative online coding:
- Invite as many users as you want to code online.
- Every user can see changes to the code being done by everyone else in real-time.
- Each use can choose a different style for the code editor as per their taste.
- All the changes being done are saved in real-time.
- It provides a video chat option as well. For that, just click on the Camera icon. It will immediately start your webcam and everyone else will be able to see you on their screen. Similarly, other users can also start their webcam to stream themselves live.
- All the code that you create can be saved in your Codeshare account, and you can come back to it later and start editing anytime you want.
Limitations of Codeshare:
- You cannot give read-only access to some collaborators.
- You cannot password protect the URL that you share. So, if someone gets access to the URL, they can see your code.
- On its interface, it does not show who all are collaborating with you at the moment.
- There is no text chat option.
- No option to find who is the one currently making the change (unlike Google Docs, which shows name of the user who is making change).
- There is no option to revert / accept / reject changes of a user. Anyone can make any changes, and can potentially screw up the entire code.
As I mentioned above, I really like Codeshare. I like it for its simplicity as well as usefulness. There have been a lot of times when I have felt a need for a tool like this, and most of the times I ended up doing such collaborative coding online using Google Docs, but that does not lends itself to coding very well. However, Codeshare makes the collaborative coding experience much better. I have listed a few of the shortcomings in Codeshare, which I believe can really increase the usefulness of this tool.