A guide to Coding in the Cloud

A guide to Coding in the Cloud

By | December 9th, 2012
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With code already hosted online, being able to edit it online isn’t that

bad an idea.


														               
							 	 						

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There are a growing number of services available today that try to provide a complete code editing experience online. Some are simple code editors with basic support for projects, while others are full-fledged IDEs that can compile and deploy your code as well.Online code hosting is already popular thanks to services such as the ubiquitous GitHub, BitBucket, or even Canonical’s Launchpad. With code already hosted online, being able to edit it online isn’t that bad an idea, even if it is not the primary means of writing code.

We will be running series of articles, where each week we will examine a single browser-based code editor and see how it tackles the different aspects of development. If this is something you were looking for, keep an look out as we post more articles in this series. If you aren’t really convinced by online code editors, read on, and perhaps you might find something about them you fancy.While there are many developers that swear by code editors like vim and emacs, there is a lot to like about online code editors, even if they are running in a browser.In fact, the first and foremost thing to like about an online code editor is the very fact that it runs in a browser! This means getting access to your code and editing it just requires a browser. As we said before, this does not need to be the primary means of writing code, but can be rather useful at least for basic editing. We start this series off with a Amy Editor, and we will keep the index below this updated as we post more in this series.

While the web is getting better at handling all kinds of media—video and audio being recent additions to open standards—text is something that the web had handled quite well since its inception. Additionally, processing text is a significantly less complex task compared to processing images or other forms of media, and web applications and more than capable of handling large volumes of text. In fact many if not most online code editors are focussed around web applications, since you are accessing your IDE using the very runtime that will eventually run your applications. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. A browser is already part of the equation if you are making a web application after all.

Another benefit of cloud-based code editors is that they tap into the social aspect of the web. Now, social often seems like an icky word because of its unclear implications; however websites like GitHub are, in the end social networking websites revolving around code, and they have only led to great things. As such sharing code, and collaborating on projects in real-time is a rather common feature of web-based code editors. Unlike traditional ways of coding where multiple people can work on the same (or different) files and then merge changes using the version control system; such online code editors often allow real-time collaboration which means you can see changes in real time and thus avoid conflicts in the first place. A number of online code editors even offer integration with VCS systems, allowing you to edit code in your own repository and commit it straight from the browser.

Often this just means integrating with GitHub, so you can directly work on code hosted there. Most services like this offer free plans as well, or at least trial plans to check out the functionality before getting a subscription. Or if the service supports it you can just keep using the free plan. We would love to hear your comments after you’ve tried these online code editors.

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Kshitij Sobti
Inserted into Kshitij's motivation banks is a particularly strong desire for justice. It's sad then, that he wastes his skills gaming, watching TV, and for the mundane task of writing prose. He tweets
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