5 Great IDEs to Start Coding in the Cloud

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

CodeRun Studio

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).

In addition, the open source library on the CodeRun website has a plenty of code examples of different programs. As an open source project, anyone can download it form codeplex.

CodeRun Open Source Library

CodeRun Open Source Library

  • Supported languages and databases: CodeRun has support for C# / ASP.NET, C# / WPF, C# / Silverlight, PHP, Javascript, HTML and CSS. Database support includes SQL Server 2005 and Amazon SimpleDB.
  • 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 Features

CodeRun Features


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.

”]HTML5 Canvas [Bespin]




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

PHPanywhere SSL FTP

PHPanywhere SSL FTP




Ecoder is a JavaScript based online code editor which has a fully featured file browser, syntax highlighter and tabbed interface to open multiple files at once. The keyboard shortcuts feature gives the feel of a locally installed application. The code editor has support for all major browsers except Internet Explorer 6. Ecoder is also an open source project, so one can download it from its source code repository at sourceforge and install it on its own web space.




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.

Final Thoughts

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.


Add Yours
  • As your suggestions seem to have a PHP-bias, what about the canonical Rails cloud development platform (including an online editor) – Heroku…

    • While writing this article, Heroku was a suggestion to include but we didn’t write about it because of the complex use and the Git Requirement.

  • It seems you forgot Amy Editor, a nice collaboration tool too!

  • Bespin is nice :). Thanks

  • For Ruby On Rails developers, one service that is proving itself is http://heroku.com/

  • It’s there kodingen too!

  • I use phpanywhere in a personal project… It’s good…

  • Great article, thanks for sharing it =)

  • Very cool ! Very useful when you are not at home.

  • Great article! Thanks for the write up.

  • I second kodingen. It is based on Bespin, but it allows you to test your php and rails apps.

  • This is awesome. Bespin has a lot of potential. Thaks for this post.

  • Very cool ! Very useful when you are not at home.

  • I’m not sure if you’re the original author but every time I see this article and its description of code run as an “open source IDE” my teeth grind. There is no place to download coderun. It may be free but there is no “open source” without access to the source.

    Beyond that, Coderun’s website does not describe their product as open source. The only reference to “open source” that I can find on their website is to the ability of people who use coderun to make projects develop in coderun free.

  • It seems you forgot Amy Editor, a nice collaboration tool too

  • Since getting my hands on a Google Chrome OS Notebook I’ve been looking for online applications like these and have had mixed results.

    PHPAnywhere appears nice, but for whatever reason it won’t save my files onto my server. It LOOKs like it is there, but when I look for it via other apps, or navigate to the page it is never there.

    Bespin is nice, but a bit complicated for me at this point.

    CodeRun looks pretty cool.

    The Chrome Extension “Online PHP IDE” actually works alright for the most part.

    I just tried ShiftEdit for a few minutes, which is based on Bespin and even includes a split-view. It didn’t muck-up my code like PHPAnywhere has.

    Kodingen looks very interseting, I think I’ll have to give that one a try sometime soon.

  • Maybe a little late to reply but if anyone was looking for a cloud ide for working with Java and Groovy, we’ve been working on an IDE and deployment platform called Xappworks. (http://xappworks.com). It’s free to use but we are in beta period. Feedback and suggestions are welcome too :)

  • Try http://goincloud.com. This is an online file manager and editor for PHP developers.

    It works very fast by using HTTP tunnel. It works much faster than online IDEs which use FTP for connecting to remote servers and gives some advantages for manipulations with files and folders (edit, copy, move, set permissions, etc).

    Goincloud uses ACE editor for PHP/HTML/Javascript files with syntax highlighting. For now it is in beta stage, but is quite stable.

  • any one can help me for telling me what we use for devloping the project centralize datyabase security in cloud cpmputing as (saas) by using web app.(online shoping).reply as soon as posible

  • Did you know about http://www.compilr.com ? It’s a great tool for classmates, but when offline mode please use jetbrains 😉

  • I’m suggest Codeanywhere.
    Support FTP verry cool, i can code and debuging direct on live site.


  • coderun is crap. it doesnt save the projects. try it out, sign out and then sign back in, everything is lost..what a waste of time !

  • Look for some sweetie online IDE for most popular languages on http://codenvy.com