Cloud computing has started proceeding beyond the hype stage and into the beginning of mainstream adoption. Gartner had included cloud computing in their list of Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009. They also reported that worldwide cloud services revenue is on pace to surpass $56.3 billion in 2009. As we have just begun 2010, a survey of CIOs and CTOs of various leading companies conducted by Logicalis deduced that cloud computing will dominate focus in 2010. ChromeOS from Google, is a nice model which illustrates the daily use of cloud computing. It is trying to shift the appliance domain to cloud computing and indicates a charm in the field expressed by Google.
In this roundup, we will review some online Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) which are great examples of cloud programming. These solutions can [nearly] replace your desktop IDEs and code editors.
CodeRun Studio is a free cross browser, open source IDE, which permits you to build web applications in your browser. It is a fully featured IDE which gives you the ability to run and test your code online. With the support of PHP, AJAX and ASP.NET, CodeRun Studio also enables you to instantly compile and deploy your code on CodeRun Cloud, another service from the folks behind CodeRun (which is free for a 14 day trial).
- Syntax highlighting
- Project templates: The IDE already has project templates for previously mentioned languages to get you started and save you from unnecessary copy/paste[ing].
- Compiler: Server sided compiler to compile your code right from the browser.
- Debugger: CodeRun features a powerful online debugger. You can use your browser to debug the code, add breakpoints, inspect the call stack and add watch items.
- Project Collaboration: You can share your code with hyperlinks on some popular social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook. You can send the unique URL to any other programmer and he will be able to view a separate, fully editable view of your code. CodeRun also features integrated Meebo chat rooms for group chatting.
- Code completion only works for C# / ASP.NET, C# / WPF, C# / Silverlight.
CodeRun promises that your code will never be shared with anyone. You will be the sole administrator to decide what code should be public and what should be private. While in team collaboration mode you can set read/write permissions for different users.
Bespin is an open source project from Mozilla Labs. The project is an extensible code editor using HTML 5 technology. It is available with the hosted version as well as one that can be installed on your own servers. Developers can integrate Bespin’s embedded code editor in their own apps.
Like other Mozilla projects, it is also powered by developers around the globe via extensions and plugins. Mozilla’s cloud is used to store files. While using this IDE you can view the output of your code in browser. The code editor is a bit complex and will take some time for you to get comfortable. To use Bespin, one should be familiar with command lines.
- Time Machine: This feature allows you to look back over the history of a file to see (visually) how it changed over time.
- Snippets: Inspired by Textmate feature.
- Real time collaboration: Bespin features a real time collaboration mode. Users can work on the same file, at the same time, and the file will be updated for the other users in real time — with no page refresh.
- Fast: The IDE can handle large files, which might have several thousands of lines of code, with a very fast performance.
- Themes: Different themes are available to change to look of the code editor.
Bespin requires an HTML 5 property, called canvas, to run in the browser — so it will not work in Internet Explorer as IE doesn’t support this property. The browsers supported by Bespin are Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Chrome.
PHPanywhere is a free web based code editor which enables programmers to code their projects in browsers. It enables users to write PHP code in the browser and save in their own space using an FTP connection. The web application has a fully integrated FTP explorer which let you create, delete and browse through your web space. It also allows you to change file permissions of files and folders.
PHPanywhere doesn’t install a single file on your computer and runs directly from your browser. The IDE still lacks the debug feature and can’t compile your written code.
- Syntax highlighting
- Smart indentation
- Your action log
- Tabs view for viewing multiple files at once
- Skins (different color schemes for editor’s layout)
- Scheme (different color schemes for syntax highlighting)
With the release of version three, PHPanywhere uses SSL to connect with users’ FTP. This new feature has enhanced the security of this web app. Unlike Bespin, PHPanywhere can’t be installed on your own web server and you can only use it by accessing PHPanywhere.net
NotaPad is a very simple web based code editor based upon the CodeTextArea widget. NotaPad is in very early stages of its development as the version of code editor is 0.1 alpha. The supported features are keyboard shortcuts, bookmark and export. The export feature allows users to write code in the editor and with a single click, the written code can be downloaded to the local space of the user. The bookmark feature is a very nice feature which gives the options of bookmarking different lines of code. The option is pretty useful when you are working with a large amount of code with hundreds of lines and you want to remember some lines for revision.
We have covered some prominent online code editors which intend to increment productivity of developers. There is no need for installation and the developer can get to coding instantly. With these IDEs, a great deal of time and fatigue in setting up a development environment can be avoided. The idea of sharing and collaborating with a fellow coder, sitting in another continent, is exciting and amazing as well. The current IDEs are not complete replacements for desktop IDEs quite yet. This is due to the present state of cloud computing, but it is improving. We may see an IDE equipped with a rich set of features, like Eclipse, working in a cloud computing environment. This is also the goal of Eclipse E4.
If we have missed one of your favorite online code editors, please share it with us by leaving a comment below.