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Add an integrated, light weight way to chat with VS Live Share participants in a collaboration session #69

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Chuxel opened this issue Jan 31, 2018 · 29 comments

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@Chuxel
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@Chuxel Chuxel commented Jan 31, 2018

While most developers that collaborate will be using an existing chat solution (Slack, Teams, Skype, etc), hands on use has indicated that command/alt-tabbing is pretty distracting. In addition, it does not immediately grab your attention if someone is trying to communicate with you. While voice conversations work really well (see #22) and do not suffer from these problems, modern team room environments sometimes preclude its use.

Consequently, we have seen hosts and guests have often use temporary comments or text to make quick comments while editing which points out a gap.

VS Live Share extensions could introduce a light weight chat mechanism to allow participants in the collaboration session to communicate in context. This would not be a replacement for broader chat systems but instead complements them for this use case.

Give an up-vote reaction (👍) if you would like to see this added. Sound off below if you have other thoughts.

@jacquesfu
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@jacquesfu jacquesfu commented Feb 13, 2018

I would add that quoting the code or anchoring the line from the chat would be helpful as the inline comments are also meant to be contextual.

@IkeKap
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@IkeKap IkeKap commented Feb 28, 2018

I'd also like a way to @ mention a specific collaborator and/or have him be visibly (and/or audibly) pinged by me.

Thank you so much for the work so far

@gokulkrishh
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@gokulkrishh gokulkrishh commented Mar 8, 2018

Bookmarking a line or committing on the line will work?? 🤔

@Chuxel
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@Chuxel Chuxel commented Mar 8, 2018

@gokulkrishh @jacquesfu Yeah that's an interesting point. Would you see a feature along these lines as more akin to "real-time commenting" rather than what we'd classically consider "chat"? Something that would allow you to annotate lines/files,etc in context?

@IkeKap
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@IkeKap IkeKap commented Mar 8, 2018

@Chuxel do you mean something more akin to google doc comments (highlighting a section and leaving a note) vs something like slack (message can be anything, even if it is unrelated to the code)?

@Chuxel
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@Chuxel Chuxel commented Mar 9, 2018

@IkeKap Yeah basically (whether that's the specific UX or not is a separate question of course). The thought is, given most people we have multiple chat systems they're already dealing with, giving a more focused experience could supplement those chat systems in a more meaningful way. We could then think of a way to "summon" people like #73 and we already have pin/follow. Does that make sense?

@gokulkrishh
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@gokulkrishh gokulkrishh commented Mar 9, 2018

@IkeKap Chat system is fine. But what @Chuxel saying makes sense in user's perceptive

@ffxsam
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@ffxsam ffxsam commented Mar 12, 2018

Just gave this extension a test run. Love it! And totally agree, an in-editor chat would be extremely useful, with the ability to include a direct link to a line of code in any file.

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented May 10, 2018

As an FYI, the folks at CodeStream are working on VS Code support for their integrated developer chat experience, which also includes integration with Live Share (e.g. creating session-specific channels when you share). I'd definitely recommend checking them out, and letting us know how well it suits your use cases. We're pretty excited about what they demonstrated at Build this week 👍

Chuxel added a commit that referenced this issue May 19, 2018
Confirm merge from repo_sync_working_branch to live to sync with https://github.com/microsoftdocs/live-share (branch master)
@arjunattam
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@arjunattam arjunattam commented Jun 26, 2018

For those already on Slack - you can use the vscode-chat extension to send and receive messages inside VS Code

Disclaimer: I'm the author of the extension. I was looking for an easier way to collaborate across VS Code and Slack, and thought I could just build one :)

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented Jun 26, 2018

@arjun27 Very cool! Is that published to the marketplace yet? There are other Slack integrations for VS Code, but none (that I know of) that used a web view.

@arjunattam
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@arjunattam arjunattam commented Jun 26, 2018

Glad you liked it @lostintangent. Yup, it's on the marketplace. It's very early (just released it yesterday), so there might be some issues. Feel free to report them! :)

but none (that I know of) that used a web view

Yup, I couldn't find one with a web view either. There are a few that let you send messages via text input, but I really wanted a way to receive messages too, and using a web view made a ton of sense.

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented Jul 30, 2018

In case come folks didn’t see it, we shipped an extension that allows starting up a voice chat as part of a Live Share session: VS Live Share Audio. We’d love any and all feedback on it. Between this, the aforementioned Slack Chat extension (assuming it adds Teams support soon 😄 ), and the upcoming CodeStream support for VS Code, I’d love to hear how well those solve folks needs for chat.

Additionally, to address communication that is a little more async/non-disruptive, there are three other things we’re exploring:

  1. Engaging with the author of the VS Code Bookmarks extension, to discuss making bookmarks collaborative. That way, you can “communicate” relevant markers in the project, without needing to rely on focusing all the time. This would also allow using bookmarks as reference points for code sections you want to re-visit later in the collaboration session, or in a subsequent collaboration session.

  2. Engaging with the author of the Todo Tree extension, to make todos collaborative. This way, if you’re pairing, and add todos anywhere in the project, everyone would see them, despite guests not having local access to the codebase.

  3. Enabling comments to be made on lines of code, that would then be shared amongst all participants. Almost like a PR, but without the PR. In fact, we could use the exact same comments UI as the GitHub PR extension, so it would make the code commenting experience consistent in both real-time (Live Share) and asynchronous (PRs) collaboration. This wouldn’t be real-time, or persistent, so it wouldn’t be meant to replace an actual chat solution. But it would allow communicating lightweight messages amongst guests, that had the context of an associated code block, and could also compliment voice chat, for notes that you wanted to capture, but didn’t need to be discussed immediately (e.g. “We should look into refactoring this code next...”)

Does any of that sound interesting? Would folks still need a real-time, integrated text chat, that wasn’t backed by an existing chat solution (e.g. Slack, Teams, CodeStream)?

@ppezaris
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@ppezaris ppezaris commented Jul 31, 2018

hi, CEO of CodeStream here. thanks for the callout @lostintangent. please forgive the shameless plug; just providing a TL;DR of what we do in case anyone is interested.

codestream is a somewhat ambitious franken-plugin that tries to do two main things:

  1. make it easier to talk about code by putting chat in your IDE (integrated with slack, ms teams, or standalone)
  2. save the conversation threads about codeblocks forever, so new developers who join your team will see annotations (decorators) in their editor and can benefit from prior conversations. these annotations track your code changes as your codebase evolves.

it works a lot like the comment system in google docs.

if anyone is interested in trying out a beta version of codestream for vs code please ping me at pez@codestream.com -- should be ready in about two weeks.

@orta
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@orta orta commented Aug 22, 2018

Just wanted to say that the voice chat work is great 👍

I think for me the inline comments which are accessible in a historical context so you can jump between them quickly fits how I'd imagine using text-chat.

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented Aug 22, 2018

@orta Thanks! Does something like the #3 item I mentioned above reflect your requirements?

@orta
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@orta orta commented Aug 22, 2018

Yep, that's what I had I mind 👍

@arjunattam
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@arjunattam arjunattam commented Oct 17, 2018

Quick update on the chat extension: you can now chat with participants of a collaboration session without using a backend like Slack. This is built over the Live Share RPC, and does not require any additional steps after starting a session. Optionally, you can sign in with Slack/Discord in case you want to use an existing chat account.

avxmhrs3ds

@ffxsam
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@ffxsam ffxsam commented Oct 19, 2018

It's a shame the chat extension doesn't work for me. The input box just says "Message undefined" and nothing works.

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented Dec 5, 2018

Hey everyone! So I'm going to close this issue as resolved for the following reasons:

  1. The latest Live Share extension update introduces the ability to add lightweight code comments directly in VS and VS Code. From talking with numerous Live Share users, this is actually what they've wanted when discussing chat, and so I think we've addressed that core interest. To get started in VS Code, simply set the liveshare.features setting to experimental, and then the moment you share/join, you'll see a new "white bar" next to the file gutter, that allows you to click and add a comment to any line in any file. Guests can then view those comments in real-time, and reply to them. So it makes the Live Share session almost like a read-time/lightweight PR.

    Comments

  2. The Team Chat extension now supports chat directly over the Live Share session, and even adds a new Chat Channel entry point to the Live Share Session Details view. This provides a super simple on-boarding experience (you can grab the Live Share extension pack and get chat and audio out-of-the-box) + the ability to migrate to using Slack or Discord if needed

    Team Chat

  3. CodeStream have built an amazing product for communicating in-tool in real-time, along with great Live Share integration, Slack support, historical code markers, etc.

So with all of the above in mind, I'd love to close this issue, and then we can track gaps/etc. that are missing, and how we can best address them via new targeted issues. Thanks again for all the great feedback!

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented Feb 9, 2019

FYI folks, CodeStream just released an extension for VS, so there is now an integrated chat experience for both VS and VS Code 👍

https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=CodeStream.codestream-vs

@x30n
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@x30n x30n commented May 15, 2019

  1. The latest Live Share extension update introduces the ability to add lightweight code comments directly in VS and VS Code. From talking with numerous Live Share users, this is actually what they've wanted when discussing chat, and so I think we've addressed that core interest. To get started in VS Code, simply set the liveshare.features setting to experimental, and then the moment you share/join, you'll see a new "white bar" next to the file gutter, that allows you to click and add a comment to any line in any file. Guests can then view those comments in real-time, and reply to them. So it makes the Live Share session almost like a read-time/lightweight PR.

@lostintangent was this feature removed? Can't seem to figure out how to get collaborative comments with Live Share (latest VS Code 1.33.1 or Insiders and Live Share 1.0.182)

@GreggOD
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@GreggOD GreggOD commented Jun 4, 2019

Its strange because I cant see the comments feature either. I also cant see chat, but my buddy who I am sharing with has chat. I have found no thread or forum to how how to enable this feature or why I wouldnt have it.

@GreggOD
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@GreggOD GreggOD commented Jun 4, 2019

I installed the "Team Chat: for Slack, Discord and Live Share" extension. However like others I am getting the 'Message undefined' symptom. And trying to invite to live share thows another error:
"Running the contributed command: 'extension.chat.startLiveShare' failed."

@lostintangent
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@lostintangent lostintangent commented Jun 4, 2019

@x30n @GreggOD Unfortunately, the inline code comments experience had to be removed due to a change in VS Code that broke it for Live Share. However, we'll be releasing an update to Live Share today that introduces it back. For now, it will only work in VS Code Insiders. I'll update this thread as soon as the update is released!

Commennts

CC @arjun27 for the Team Chat issue. We've seen this issue before, but we thought we resolved it :/

@GreggOD
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@GreggOD GreggOD commented Jun 4, 2019

@lostintangent Nice work. Thanks for your efforts in making developers lives easier.. and for nothing in return. Bless you.

@rustyx
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@rustyx rustyx commented Jun 30, 2020

@lostintangent please kindly reopen the issue. Thanks.

@mikejunior277
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@mikejunior277 mikejunior277 commented Aug 24, 2020

the chat worked just fine when i was was doing it before but then i did it with another person then it says "The chat service is currently disconnected. Please try again shortly."
I wont be bothered to check if it still works with the first person

@mikejunior277
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@mikejunior277 mikejunior277 commented Aug 24, 2020

i tried to reinstall extensions but i still cant use chat

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