Developers: a new kind of IDE arrives in Cloud9 (First look!)

Programmers, you should check this out. Cloud9 IDE has the biggest innovation in IDEs since Microsoft brought us Visual Basic: everything runs on the cloud.

It’s “development as a service.”

What does that mean? Well, instead of coding in text files sitting on your computer, you code directly in the browser window. Here Rik Arends, CTO, and Ruben Daniëls, CEO, show me how it works and explains what it’s good for.

“It’s aimed at developers who want to use the new stuff,” they say.

What do you think? Will you build with it?

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at


    1. As Cloud9IDE integrates with GitHub, you could easily do a post-receive hook that sends all your commits to a continuous integration server (or a build service like OBS).

  1. Can’t figure out why I’d want to do development in a browser. And if you want stuff in the cloud, shove your code in one of the online source repositories and off you go.

  2. We’re also developing an online web development environment at Our goal is to make your tools accessible via a browser, everywhere. We’ll have source control, team features, wizard-driven vhost/database/repository setup, FTP/SFTP/S3 connectivity, deployment functionality, and other features in the future. We’re doing a beta program soon, so come have a look.

  3. I have been coding day and night for like the last 11 yrs, went from vim/emacs to eclipse now full time intellij (<– which rocks). And all this talk about productivity is all a bit of a fad. When you first use a new environment/language you are not gonna be productive. Then you grown accustom to the pit falls of what ever platform you use, anticipates them, code round them. Then you become faster. I think a browser base IDE is just another way to code, IMHO is just for the fashionable programmer that want to code with their iPad 😀

    1. I agree with you. But that last bit seems flagrant and quite ignorant. Cloud9 makes it easier for people who can’t access their preferred development environments. Maybe you’re a company that wants to save money on software licenses and would prefer a collaborative IDE platform out of the box, with nothing to install.

      If you’ve ever deployed a development environment inside a company that doesn’t know or have that environment, it is a total pain in the ass getting designers and developers setup en masse. So Cloud9 really makes it easy to get going with a small or large team. I respect that.

  4. So to save money using eclipse is totally free, vim.emacs too? All it means to have things out of the box is just a script that will set everything up (synonym to setting up a ami in ec2). Not sure if I ever been in a project where 2 project set up is exactly the same tho. Then ofc you need the knowledge to write this script, but if there is no one in you company that have that prob is a warning sign that your company don’t have enough technical know how so when things do go wrong you are at risk of going off line all together.

    Totally hypothetical but another possible pitfall is there could be security problems if every system set up is exactly the same.

  5. I tried Cloud9 out for a couple of projects and found it pretty slick. I think I tried something similar out last year and it was terribly slow, but Cloud9 felt almost like TextMate in the browser. Looking forward to having cause to explore it further.

  6. Another interesting idea is SourceKit. A TextMate like editor that is a Chrome app and uses Dropbox to store your files. Combined with Chrome app syncing, it gives you a portable development environment. I’ve used it a few times to edit files I have in my Dropbox account and it’s good. Nice to clone Git/Hg repos to your Dropbox account and be able to edit them without having to install an IDE.

    Running portable Vim from from a Dropbox folder is another great option.

    Really need a portable .NET compiler.

  7. I don’t see how this is going to replace my custom unix/emacs/bash/git/ssh-centered environment anytime soon, but as a replacement for the Windows/Notepad/FileZilla toolchain, it’s a godsend.

    Ace is a very nice component, but having version control and deployment baked into the solution is the key … not the fancy editor.

  8. Maybe (and that’s a stretch) to try new dev tools I don’t want to fill my systems with or waste time installing, but basically my answer is No. What value could there possibly be for a production development shop?

  9. Is it safe and secure? Those guys will eventually be able to see all the codes of your “products” you write in their “cloud” anyway..

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