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VMware's Scripted JavaScript Code Editor

VMware has released Scripted, a browser-based JavaScript code editor that runs locally on a developer's machine. Scripted is built with Node.js and leverages the open source Eclipse Orion project for the editor component, which sets out to create a browser-based open tool integration platform.

Scripted is described as a "general purpose" code editor built entirely in JavaScript and HTML/CSS. The only prerequisite for running Scripted is that developers have a "recent version" of Node.js installed (Node 0.8.11 is a good starting point). Scripted reuses the editor component from Eclipse Orion.

Essentially the result of some internal prototyping, Scripted is something of a response to programmers shying away from using a traditional IDE approach and instead opting for what might be described as a lighter weight editor (such as vim, Sublime, or textmate).

This phenomenon (if it can be described as such) is thought to be because programmers don't want to have to learn how to use a new interface, when they are already comfortable and familiar with a particular set of tools.

Bloggers on SpringSource suggest that although there is this willingness to give up the IDE, developers are also giving up those benefits they have become used to such as great content assist, fast navigation, and early error indication.

According to SpringSource, "Scripted offers something lightweight and fast, also supporting key IDE facilities developers can't live without — facilities like content assist and understanding of common module systems. Those are the key focus of Scripted. We are seeing a rise in the popularity of cloud IDEs and the notion of cloud workspaces. Developers connect to some remote system to do their development work and typically these tools (e.g. the Cloud9 IDE and eXo Cloud IDE) offer a browser-based editing experience. The user's workspace sits on the remote system. This kind of setup can work well for some teams, although in our experience we've found there is still some need for an offline development mode as developers are not yet Internet-connected 100% of the time. Also, it can be hard to get them to give up 'full control' and host their files remotely. In following the browser-based editing model and hosting the server locally, Scripted offers something that can meet developers needs now, but that will also enable the use of cloud workspaces in the future by simply deploying the server remotely."

Scripted is a result of its developers feeling somewhat disenchanted by existing JavaScript tools. The use of a framework like Node.js has opened the door to Scripted being used for full end-to-end solutions and not just client side programming.

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