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Jolt Awards 2015: Coding Tools

, December 16, 2014 The best tools available for creating, testing, and debugging code.
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Jolt Award: Cloud9 IDE

Cloud9 IDE puts everything you need to develop Web applications in the cloud and makes it accessible through any modern Web browser. The name might be confusing because it isn't just an IDE in the cloud, Cloud9 IDE provides a set of tools including an IDE with an integrated debugger and code completion features, collaboration tools, a built-in Ubuntu terminal, and live previews with a huge number of desktop and mobile Web browsers.

You can create up to 50 public workspaces for free and 1 private workspace for free. If you need more private workspaces, you can choose from different available subscription plans.

Cloud9 IDE supports many popular development stacks and programming languages such as Node.js, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, PHP, Python and Django, Ruby on Rails, C/C++, and StrongLoop. The user experience is very responsive and sometimes you completely forget that the IDE and the tools aren't running on your own computer. You can start working on a Web application with any of the supported development stacks in a few minutes. It takes some time to create your workspace, but don't get frustrated with this initial delay because once the workspace has been setup, all the tools work really fast. In the last year, Cloud9 IDE has significantly boosted performance for workspaces.

Cloud9 IDE allows you to continue with the work in the place where you left it. Thus, you can open your workspace with the code that you were editing, the live preview you were checking, the curl calls in the terminal you were using to test a REST API, and the debugging session. In fact, you are working with a VM without the need to run software in your computer.

One of the main drawbacks is the lack of support for a wider range of programming languages and development stacks. So far, Cloud9 IDE doesn't include support for either Windows or Mac OS X environments. Thus, you cannot work with C#, ASP.NET, nor Objective-C or Swift. In addition, Cloud9 IDE doesn't provide good support for touch in mobile devices, and therefore, it is a bit difficult to code with a tablet and a connected keyboard.

Despite these shortcomings, we view Cloud9 as an important portend and the first truly usable multi-language cloud-based IDE. It makes a dream come true: Develop Web applications from any modern Web browser. The simplicity and speed to access all the tools you need to develop Web applications while utilizing collaboration tools in the cloud entitles Cloud9 IDE to the 2015 Jolt Award for the best coding tool.

— Gastón Hillar






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