Cloud Coding and Beyond: Web Development Apps in the Chrome Web Store

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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When we talk Chromebooks with our developer friends, a common reaction we get is “I can see why my [insert-relative-here] would use it, but I need my PC for coding”. Over the last few years, browser-based coding has grown from a research topic to a viable practice. You can already find many development apps on the Chrome Web Store today. Some are conventional code editors and IDEs, built right into the browser. Others are oriented more around prototyping and design. There are also many tools for project management.

First up, IDEs. You can now code, debug, and deploy real programs from the browser. A popular example at Google IO was Cloud9, an IDE for JavaScript, Python, PHP, and Ruby. Cloud9 uses the HTML5 FileSystem capability and AppCache to sync files, so you can even code offline. There are many other IDEs in the web store too, such as Kodingen, Codey, Akshell, eXo Cloud IDE, and PHPAnywhere.


It’s not all about coding though. There are also apps focusing on web design, for people who want to make a web page without coding or perhaps experiment with a few concepts early on. Being able to edit and design web pages inside the tool that will display them is a very powerful concept. BuildorLite and BuildorPro let you construct a web page via a graphical user interface, and publish it straight on their servers. Handcraft and Mockingbird are two apps aimed at design and prototyping. And if you want a scratchpad to try a few coding experiments, check out JSFiddle.


Launching software isn’t just about designing and coding your apps; it’s also about managing the entire workflow, from planning release schedules to triaging bug reports. One example is GitHub Issues, providing a quick, app-like, way to track project issues. Another is Launchlist Pro, a checklist you can use to launch your website.


Chrome aims to bring simplicity, speed, and security to all users, and that includes developers. Being cloud-based means these tools are always up to date, and running inside the browser’s sandbox minimises the security risk to your machine. There’s no complicated install process and the only dependency is Chrome itself, which is automatically kept up to date. Just install the app and get coding.

We’re especially excited about what this means for new developers, as programming tools have never been more accessible to everyone. So whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just looking to get started, visit the Chrome Web Store today and build something awesome in your browser!

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