It's about time we started to eat our own dog food. If the cloud is good enough a paradigm for end users what about us?
I've notice that over time, whether I planned it or not, more and more of the applications I use are hosted in the "cloud" and more-and-more of my data is stored somewhere else. A reasonable trend but I can always be sure where my development environment sits be it Eclipse, Visual Studio, Netbeans or something else - it is going to be running on my local desktop machine. Running an IDE is just too computationally intensive and generally difficult to do any other way than on the desktop.
Now Mozilla and Eclipse are challenging this old fashioned idea.
Mozilla's Bespin project started a while ago (2008) to bring coding to the cloud and the most difficult thing has been keeping up with its change of name. First it mutated into Skywriter and now it has merged into Ajax.org's Ace project. Skywriter, or whatever its called, was more of an online code editor than a full IDE. In an interesting twist this takes us back to old technology because the Ace editor is based on using the DOM where Skywriter made use of the HTML5 canvas. The advantage is that Ace works with a wider range of browsers - the disadvantage is....
After noticing the "..." Mozilla's Kevin Dangoor responded to the "challenge" with:
There is no disadvantage to Ace's approach. When Bespin was initially created, it was not clear if there was an approach that would yield good performance using the DOM, especially on large (say 30000 lines) files. The canvas approach worked just fine, because the editor focused on just the visible part of the document. It turns out that you can use this same approach using DOM elements, which is exactly what Ace does.
You can't help but wonder if the development of the cloud based IDEs wouldn't be better done in cloud based IDEs ... now that would be eating your own dog food.
In response Kevin Dangoor said:
We have, at various points in time, dogfooded Bespin. We stopped when our focus completely shifted to the embedded editor use case instead of the "code in the cloud" case. Ajax.org does dogfood Cloud9 IDE.
and Boris Bokowski Eclipse Platform UI lead added:
Many of us even use a slightly dangerous set up where we are editing the live code while it is running. Implement a new feature, hit Reload, and start using the feature right away!
So the tradition of compilers written in the language they compile lives on.
Mozilla labs announcement