Cloud9's Browser-Based IDEs Gets Major Update

Netherlands-based Cloud9 today released a new version of its namesake integrated development environment (IDE). Aimed at Web-app developers, Cloud9 is a browser-based IDE that supports a range of programming languages, including Java, PHP, Python, Ruby and JavaScript.

This third-generation release is a major revamp, which the company describes as "a completely new version," featuring a new UI and "lots of compatibility improvements." But the big upgrade is the implementation of Docker Ubuntu containers, which provide workspaces in the cloud that are fully self-contained VMs where any development stack can be set up, built, and run.

"With the new workspaces, you don't need to waste valuable development time on system configuration and maintenance," said Cloud9 CEO Ruben Daniels in a blog post. "Setting up a fully configured environment is done in seconds, and Cloud9 handles the maintenance. This makes on-boarding new team members a matter of minutes instead of days or weeks."

This release also supports browser compatibility testing via the Sauce Labs web- and mobile-app testing service. Developers can see what their Web application looks like in more than 300 browser/OS platform combinations, according to the company. Cloud9 also recently moved to Google's Compute Engine cloud platform.

The promise of an online or cloud-based IDE is a highly accessible, centralized, OS-independent workspace; instant access to codes and libraries (via the Web); and dead-simple collaboration "The development stack for modern Web-apps is already nearly entirely cloud-based," said Cloud9 CEO Ruben Daniels in a statement. "The only missing element is the development environment itself…."

Cloud9 claims more than 400,000 users worldwide, who have clocked collectively 3.8 million person-hours on the platform. But the company isn't alone in this space. A number of vendors currently provide online or cloud-based IDEs, Telerik's Icenium, Codenvy, Codeanywhere, Neutron Drive, ShiftEdit and Koding.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].