In “Vendors aim to get cloud app development off the ground,” Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady said that cloud IDEs share advantages over desktop models, but that “the reverse is equally true.”
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Cloud9 took another step towards closing the gap between what’s offered offline and online with a new release announced today. The latest upgrades focus on beefing up collaboration capabilities, adding autocomplete, additional language support (Ruby, PHP, Python) and the ability to work offline.
Autocompletion was the most requested addition from the user community according to Cloud9 CEO Reuben Daniels. The ability to autocomplete was added for Node.js, the language most used among Cloud9 developers.
“Developers don’t have to remember the API calls anymore,” Daniels said. “They can just type dot and it will appear.”
If autocomplete was the biggest perk for the current crop of developers, the ability to work offline is the upgrade most likely to draw in desktop users. Daniels said the addition was aimed more at startup users than customers in traditional enterprise environments.
“The enterprises that use us don’t have any problem with that, because the developers there just run inside their network and that’s fine with them,” he said. “We’re catering to a lot of startups, people that are younger and still have the ability to work wherever and whenever they want to. For these people, that type of flexibility is very important.”
Cloud9 is also attempting to recreate the desktop IDE experience by adding workspaces, secure environments separate from other development environments. In each environment, developers have their own container for files, the ability to run apps and process isolation. It’s something that would be taken for granted on a desktop, but is an important step for the cloud, according to Daniels.
Offline support, collaboration and autocompletion are available to all users, while the workspace in the cloud additions are premium features.
There is no predicted time table on how cloud and desktop IDEs will compete with each other in the future, but with the latest Cloud9 release it appears cloud IDEs are trying to take away reasons why developers would choose desktop options.
— Adam Riglian