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Cloud9 IDE is an ambitious project to create a really fast and feature complete development environment in the cloud, freeing you from the shackles of your desktop and allowing you to work anywhere in the world on any computer and still have your ideal setup at your fingertips.

Whilst the Atlassian ambassadors were in Amsterdam we caught up with Cloud9 CEO Ruben Daniels to get the word about this cloud based developer service straight from the source! Headquarters of Cloud9 are just around the corner from the Atlassian Amsterdam office, so we’ll be bumping into each other a lot…

As the number of developers creating web apps keeps on growing, along with a rise in popularity of JavaScript, JSON and AJAX technologies, its becomes more compelling to create code on the platform we are developing for. A desktop app is not always the best solution. As Ruben says:

If you have ever used Eclipse then you know its about 100Mb and its super slow to start up“.

This may be one of the reasons some developers still turn to Emacs and Vi to get things done. Imagine having something as powerful as an IDE but so lightweight it will run on your grandma’s computer!  That to me is where I see Cloud9 heading.

The team behind Cloud9 (which Atlassian invested in last June) started Ajax.org with a goal to build the UI framework for an editor in the browser.  After developing the ACE editor they decided to create something more from that the concept of Cloud9 IDE was born.

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JavaScript and Node.js communities are already loving the freedom an online IDE gives them, with many of the important projects around Node.js using it as their development tool of choice.  Many of the core developers of the Node.js project are using it for projects such as Socket.IO, Express and Connect.

So is Cloud9 IDE just a tool for JavaScript developers?  Far from it…

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Anyone can use the service for writing and collaborating on code in any language. It’s integrated with popular social coding repositories such as Bitbucket and GitHub, allowing developers to easily share their work.  All you need is a free account.

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The ACE editor has become so popular that its now being used by GitHub to allow developers to edit their files live on the site without having to use a desktop app or a cumbersome plugin.  This also gives developers a great comparison tool for looking at the changes from previous versions of their code (diffs).

The Cloud9 team are actively developing new features and enhancing their collaboration code to make it even better.  There are also plans to extend the support for other environments, starting with Python, Ruby and PHP.  This support will be comprehensive, including package managers and of course the developers favourite syntactic highlighting and autocompletion.  Once that work is done they also have an eye on the static languages and big platforms such as Java the many other languages that thee JVM supports.

Cloud9 is already a great resource for JavaScript developers and with the growth in popularity of the language it is no wonder they have over 45,000 users already signed up. With backing from Atlassian and their VC they have the money to invest in hiring additional talent.

As with all great companies, Cloud9 are using their own tool to develop the service itself.  They are also busy creating a great set of tutorial videos to complement their internal wiki development, with help from the Confluence tool from Atlassian.

The future looks very bright for development in the cloud!

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