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Using GitHub Codespaces in your JetBrains IDE

You can use the JetBrains Gateway to connect to your codespace and work in your favorite JetBrains IDE.

Note: Using GitHub Codespaces with JetBrains IDEs is currently in public beta and is subject to change.

About Codespaces in JetBrains IDEs

If you use a JetBrains IDE to work on your code, you can take advantage of working in a codespace. You do this by using the JetBrains Gateway application.

After installing the JetBrains Gateway, you can set JetBrains as your default editor and then whenever you open a codespace from GitHub.com the JetBrains Gateway will launch to allow you to choose your JetBrains IDE and connect to the codespace.

Note: Only existing codespaces are available in the JetBrains Gateway. You can create codespaces in GitHub.com, or by using GitHub CLI. For more information, see "Creating a codespace for a repository."

The JetBrains remote development connection process

The basic process behind using a codespace in your JetBrains IDE is as follows.

  • In the JetBrains Gateway application you select one of your active or stopped codespaces.
  • You then choose which JetBrains IDE you want to use.
  • The selected JetBrains IDE is then downloaded to the remote virtual machine that hosts your codespace and source code.
  • The JetBrains thin client application is then downloaded to your local machine and started.
  • The client application connects to the full backend IDE.
  • You can work on your code in the client application in just the same way you would in a local environment.

Prerequisites

To work in a codespace in a JetBrains IDE you need:

  • A valid JetBrains license
  • The JetBrains Gateway application
  • GitHub CLI version 2.18.0 or later
  • An existing codespace that's running an SSH server

JetBrains license

You must have a license to at least one of the supported JetBrains IDEs to connect to a codespace from the JetBrains Gateway.

JetBrains Gateway

You can install and update the JetBrains Gateway from the JetBrains Toolbox application.

  1. Download and install the JetBrains Toolbox.

  2. Open the JetBrains Toolbox.

  3. Find Gateway in the list of available tools and click Install.

    Screenshot of the JetBrains Toolbox

GitHub CLI

The GitHub Codespaces plugin for the JetBrains Gateway requires that you have installed and configured GitHub CLI version 2.18.0 or later before opening a codespace from the JetBrains Gateway.

Use this command to check your version of GitHub CLI:

Shell
gh --version

For more information, see "About GitHub CLI."

Codespace running an SSH server

You must have an existing codespace to connect to. You can create a codespace on GitHub.com, in Visual Studio Code, or by using GitHub CLI. For more information, see "Creating a codespace for a repository."

The codespace you connect to must be running an SSH server. The default container image includes an SSH server, which is started automatically. If your codespaces are not created from the default image, you can install and start an SSH server by adding the following to the features object in your devcontainer.json file.

"features": {
    ...
    "ghcr.io/devcontainers/features/sshd:1": {
        "version": "latest"
    },
    ...
}

For more information about the devcontainer.json file and the default container image, see "Introduction to dev containers."

Note: For help with connecting to your codespace over SSH, see "Troubleshooting GitHub Codespaces clients."

Setting up the JetBrains Gateway

The first time you use JetBrains Gateway for GitHub Codespaces, you must install the Codespaces plugin. You must also allow the JetBrains Gateway to access GitHub.com using your GitHub account.

  1. Open the JetBrains Gateway application.

  2. Under Install More Providers click the Install link for GitHub Codespaces.

    Screenshot of the JetBrains Gateway initial view

  3. Click Connect to Codespace.

    Screenshot of the Gateway with the 'Connect to Codespace' button

  4. In the "Welcome to JetBrains Gateway" dialog box, click Sign In with GitHub.

    Screenshot of the sign in button

  5. Click the icon beside the one-time code to copy it, then click the login link.

    Screenshot of the one-time login code

  6. If you are not currently signed in to GitHub, the sign-in page is displayed.

    • Enter your details and click Sign in.
    • Verify your authentication, for example by entering a two-factor authentication code.
  7. On the "Device activation" page, paste the copied code and click Continue.

  8. If you belong to organizations, the "Single sign-on to your organizations" page is displayed. Click Authorize beside the organizations you want to authorize the JetBrains Gateway to access, then click Continue.

  9. On the "Authorize GitHub Codespaces for JetBrains" page, click Authorize GitHub.

  10. Return to the JetBrains Gateway application and open a codespace from the list of your currently active or stopped codespaces, see step 3 of the following procedure.

Opening a codespace in your JetBrains IDE

If you have set the JetBrains Gateway as your default editor, then the Gateway will launch automatically when you open a codespace from GitHub.com.

If the JetBrains Gateway is not your default editor, you can still open a codespace in JetBrains by going to the "Your codespaces" page at github.com/codespaces and clicking the ellipsis (...) to the right of the codespace you want to open. For more information, see "Opening an existing codespace."

Alternatively, you can also open the JetBrains Gateway and select an existing codespace, as described in the following procedure.

  1. Open the JetBrains Gateway application.

  2. Click Connect to Codespaces.

    Screenshot of the JetBrains Gateway initial view

  3. In the "Your Codespaces" list, click the codespace you want to work in.

    Screenshot of the JetBrains Gateway codespace list

  4. In the "Available IDEs" list, click the JetBrains IDE you want to use. The Gateway will remember your choice the next time you connect to a codespace.

    Screenshot of the JetBrains Gateway codespace list

  5. Click Connect.

    Note: If you are running a firewall: the first time you connect to a remote resource, you may be prompted to allow the JetBrains Gateway to communicate across your network.

    The first time you connect to a codespace, the backend IDE will be downloaded to the remote machine. This may take a few minutes. The next time you connect to the same codespace this step won't be necessary, making the connection process quicker.

    The backend IDE is then started. Again, this step will not be required in future if you are reconnecting to a backend IDE that you have left running.

    The client application is then launched.

Further reading