Visual Studio Online is a new service that is currently in public preview. It describes itself as “Cloud-powered dev environments accessible from anywhere”. Basically you create a remote environment (currently linux but windows comming as well) from the portal or directly from VSCode and in minutes you are up and running. You need an azure subscription as it will create a resource in azure. For more information visit https://online.visualstudio.com
With the release of the 1.4.1 of the SharePoint Framework we now have the ability to easily call a secured Azure Function via a REST call from our SharePoint Framework webparts. You can do this by using the new AadHttpClient. Link to Documentation Below. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/spfx/use-aadhttpclient Why a secured function? There is often times when we want to surface sensitive data into our office 365 tennant. Azure functions are great ways to deliver this data.