Are You Ready for a Web Browser-Based IDE?

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Admit it. You’re skeptical.

Is a cloud-hosted integrated development environment really possible?

Sure, you’ve seen applications such as MS Office—and even your favorite games—move to the web. But those applications are run-of-the-mill.

An IDE, on the other hand, is a complex tool. Is a browser-based IDE even advisable? You can’t help wondering …

The web reinvents itself

Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen the web transform itself beyond recognition, moving from static HTML pages to web 2.0 and now HTML5. Today, even highly interactive applications are web-based, with Google’s Chrome OS playing a significant role in shaping the web.

The web’s dramatic development traces back to several key technological shifts. First, virtualization has commoditized the IT landscape, initially on premises, and now on the cloud. Second, cheap cloud-based computing coupled with affordable high-speed Internet connections has made the widespread use of web applications possible.

In turn, web applications have brought low costs, interoperability, and ease of integration. Each web application operates as a service, seamlessly communicating with other web applications via APIs. Users have been quick to embrace web apps, caring little what lies behind a service as long as it runs.

Mobile applications are now becoming the interface of choice for the general public. It will soon be the case for businesses. Increased CPU power allows today’s mobile devices to run sophisticated web apps, rapidly turning native applications into a thing of the past.

Browser-based development is already happening

If accessing services through a browser has become the new norm, should you be surprised to see it applied to software development?

You’re probably already using a browser-based case system, as well as virtual machines to test and demo your software. You may be storing your source code in GitHub, the popular web-based repository. You likely run unit testing in a hosted environment, whether on Azure, Amazon, SoftLayer or on any other standardized environment (J2EE/node.js/LAMP). You may even use JSFiddle in a browser to test your JavaScript code.

But when it comes to your integrated development environment and local development server, you feel those are different. Why?

Introducing the ultimate IDE

There are no good reasons why an IDE should not run in a browser, with a backend as a service. In fact, there are excellent reasons to switch as soon as technology makes it possible.

First, having a worry free and complete back end of your development environment will help you focus on what is really important: building great software that users love. Software development in a browser cuts ties with a specific machine, location, and time. It brings down the cost of the hardware and software you use and of its associated maintenance.

So prepare yourself for the inevitable. Get ready for your new, browser-based IDE!

PS:In case you are wondering: yes, Servoy is spending serious research in this area.

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