Are cloud IDEs a good idea?

193 views
Skip to first unread message

Moandji Ezana

unread,
Mar 28, 2011, 11:53:44 AM3/28/11
to Java Posse
A lot are being announced, at the moment:

Eclipse's Orion and OrionHub
eXo's Cloud IDE

From the user's side, not being able to work at all if the IDE provider service goes down seems like a big drawback. The only advantage seems to be maybe not having to set up a local environment.

From the provider's side, I wonder if this is even a viable business. Considering that paid Java IDEs are a pretty niche business, can a provider with ongoing costs make any money at it?

Would you use a cloud-based IDE?

Moandji

Martijn Verburg

unread,
Mar 28, 2011, 12:02:30 PM3/28/11
to java...@googlegroups.com, Moandji Ezana
I'd use one if you could have 2 developers working on the same source
file. I saw a demo of this for an Eclipse incubator project, sadly it
never saw the light of day, but man some of my distributed teams would
love this.

Cheers,
Martijn

> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
> "The Java Posse" group.
> To post to this group, send email to java...@googlegroups.com.
> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
> javaposse+...@googlegroups.com.
> For more options, visit this group at
> http://groups.google.com/group/javaposse?hl=en.
>

Jan Goyvaerts

unread,
Mar 28, 2011, 12:04:16 PM3/28/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
Budget reasons ? 

I suppose you'll need a far less heavy computer compared to using the IDE locally.

Moandji Ezana

unread,
Mar 28, 2011, 12:16:09 PM3/28/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
On Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 6:04 PM, Jan Goyvaerts <java.a...@gmail.com> wrote:
Budget reasons ? 

I suppose you'll need a far less heavy computer compared to using the IDE locally.

I've heard that Googlers code on Cr-48s, so maybe it's possible. 

Wouldn't that mean also offshoring your development database, server, etc? I wonder how cloud IDEs integrate with other tools.

Moandji

Vineet Sinha

unread,
Mar 28, 2011, 12:41:55 PM3/28/11
to java...@googlegroups.com, Moandji Ezana
Personally I see interesting possibilities with one of these servers sitting inside my network. Perhaps very close to my source repository, or code review/wiki software  and integrated with my branches.

Vineet
--
Founder, Architexa - www.architexa.com
Understand & Document Code In Seconds



--

phil swenson

unread,
Mar 28, 2011, 8:37:19 PM3/28/11
to java...@googlegroups.com, Moandji Ezana
good idea yes?  practical?  When someone writes an editor that approaches an IDE editor, maybe.

--

Phil Maskell

unread,
Mar 29, 2011, 2:11:04 AM3/29/11
to The Java Posse
Personally I work on the train with sporadic internet connection, I
would need an off-line mode which surely is an IDE with svn/git...

Until we have (in the UK anyway) better mobile internet for me I think
I will be staying with my installed IDE.

Phil

On Mar 29, 1:37 am, phil swenson <phil.swen...@gmail.com> wrote:
> good idea yes?  practical?  When someone writes an editor that approaches an
> IDE editor, maybe.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM, Moandji Ezana <mwa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > A lot are being announced, at the moment:
>
> > Eclipse's Orion and OrionHub
> > eXo's Cloud IDE <http://www.infoq.com/news/2011/03/cloud-ide-java-exo>
> > Cloud9 IDE <http://cloud9ide.com/>

PhilDin

unread,
Mar 29, 2011, 5:39:15 AM3/29/11
to The Java Posse
Like most people here, I'd prefer a regular desktop app for my IDE but
I could see a value in a cloud infrastructure solution. That is, a
cloud service that allows me to create a project and have it create a
source code repository (SVN, Hg, Git), a bug tracker, continuous
integration server and various management and reporting features
(basically, sharepoint for developers). Other features might include
generating test data sets and facilities for performance & stress
testing. Any thoughts, does this already exist?

-Phil

Phil

unread,
Mar 29, 2011, 5:48:51 AM3/29/11
to The Java Posse
I approach this one as a cynic. If people are trying to put themselves
in the development loop it can only be because, in the long run, they
want to extract revenue from it.

I'd be reading the terms and conditions extremely carefully to ensure
I retained all rights of ownership of the code, the end product, and
revenue derived from selling the app. I'd want the right to sell, give
away, and withdraw an application. The right to use in-app advertising
from a source of my own choosing, or to elect to have no advertising
at all.

I'd also want to be indemnified against legal actions arising. By this
I mean if the service provider insisted on building in in-app
advertising or data collection as part of the build process, then it's
them that takes the rap if adverts served through their code is found
to be pushing malware or attempting to install a back door, or their
data collection is deemed to be in breach of data protection laws.

If I can't see every line of code that goes into the APK file, why
should I trust my business to it?

In general I wouldn't use any cloud service that doesn't allow me to
pick up my data (be it code or email) and move it elsewhere - another
cloud service or back onto my own hardware - and continue to use it. A
cloud service that allows me to build an app that is unusable outside
of that environment hold no value for me, but lots of risk.

On Mar 28, 4:53 pm, Moandji Ezana <mwa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> A lot are being announced, at the moment:
>
> Eclipse's Orion and OrionHub

Phil

unread,
Mar 29, 2011, 5:52:38 AM3/29/11
to The Java Posse
If it's in the cloud, you've already offshored it in every sense
except, perhaps, the geographic. Those SLAs better be damn good! And
you better have access to at least two internet connections from two
different service providers using physically independent networks to
attach to the internet (as should your service provider).

Phil

unread,
Mar 29, 2011, 5:54:27 AM3/29/11
to The Java Posse
Agreed. I'm all for having my repo available in/through the cloud but
there are so many times when I can't VPN back into my network from
mobile, and I see the same problems on O2 and Vodafone...

On Mar 29, 7:11 am, Phil Maskell <maske...@gmail.com> wrote:

Neil Bartlett

unread,
Mar 30, 2011, 7:45:26 AM3/30/11
to The Java Posse
It's a great idea for some users and some use-cases. No it's not for
everybody, but it doesn't need to be.

A really intriguing possibility of Eclipse Orion is the ability to run
in mixed mode, with a subset of developers coding in Orion, while
another subset codes in the traditional Eclipse desktop application.
This isn't possible right now but it's on the roadmap.

Neil


On Mar 28, 3:53 pm, Moandji Ezana <mwa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> A lot are being announced, at the moment:
>
> Eclipse's Orion and OrionHub

Steven Herod

unread,
Mar 30, 2011, 7:50:56 PM3/30/11
to The Java Posse
I've been using a Cloud based IDE with Force.com development.

(Which has both an 'in the browser' editor and a Eclipse instance
which pushes your code to the cloud for complation). I'm also using a
third party .Net application which replaces the official Force.com
IDE.

They all suck. They are slow, unreliable and poorly featured.

My Firefox instance regularly consumes > 1 GB of ram with 2-4 tabs
open, and it gives me the code editing power of Notepad. IE is too
slow, Chrome often not compatible.

Beyond that, little things like losing your internet connection (for a
few seconds, even intermittently) break your flow and with some
flaking session handing and things like back button/refresh button
issues, you lose your work more often than you would like.


So, in short, no, I don't recommend a cloud based IDE.

Moandji Ezana

unread,
Mar 31, 2011, 5:01:47 AM3/31/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
A private cloud IDE could be interesting.

For example, a co-located team working on and maintaining a lot of different applications. Setting up and managing all those different environments yourself is kind of a pain. If starting to work on a different application and environment was as easy as typing in a URL, that would be nice. And if it did all the version control checkout, CI, etc., along with spinning up a VM with the requisite web server, database, message queues and so on for testing (kind of like an Amazon Machine Image), that would be awesome.

Moandji

Mark Derricutt

unread,
Apr 4, 2011, 9:23:46 PM4/4/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
One thing that everyone is focusing on here is that these web-based IDEs are remote/cloud services, which most of them are.  But the best one I've used I ran locally.

http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/main/products/webvelocity

CINCOM are well known for their Smalltalk development tools, Web Velocity which is their new cloud/web based IDE for Smalltalk runs in the browser ( the IDE area is a giant <canvas/> element ) which full completion, test running, database integration, version control yadda yadda yadda.

The system is written in CINCOM Smalltalk using the Seaside web framework and was surprisingly really nice to use when I was tinkering and experimenting.  Sadly it seems the download/screencast page is currently 404ing - however this is a link to one of James Robertson's old screencasts on it - http://goo.gl/1GUo3

Mark

--
"Great artists are extremely selfish and arrogant things" — Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree

Moandji Ezana

unread,
Apr 5, 2011, 3:39:37 AM4/5/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 3:23 AM, Mark Derricutt <ma...@talios.com> wrote:
But the best one I've used I ran locally.

You could run Eclipse Orion on a dev machine, but what would be the point?

Moandji

Mark Derricutt

unread,
Apr 5, 2011, 6:48:56 AM4/5/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
Local or in your own office/datacentre.  A lot of companies wouldn't want their code off shore.

Also - give yourself a small lightweight Macbook Air or Netbook - run your IDE on the beefier server - instant backups can be more easily done.



--
"Great artists are extremely selfish and arrogant things" — Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree



Moandji

--

Steven Herod

unread,
Apr 7, 2011, 11:36:43 PM4/7/11
to The Java Posse
'Instant backups' is a pretty weak justification Mark :)

I've lost more data in my browser based editor via a mistaken
keystroke than every via disk failure. (Pressed backspace with the
wrong thing in item, hit F5 instead of ctrl-S to save). (Why did I
hit F5 you ask... because its the 'save' hotkey in another
application).

This is a solution in search of a problem. 'Look, I can build desktop
like apps in javascript/flex/silverlight.... let's go build desktop
like apps!'

On Apr 5, 8:48 pm, Mark Derricutt <m...@talios.com> wrote:
> Local or in your own office/datacentre.  A lot of companies wouldn't want
> their code off shore.
>
> Also - give yourself a small lightweight Macbook Air or Netbook - run your
> IDE on the beefier server - instant backups can be more easily done.
>
> --
> "Great artists are extremely selfish and arrogant things" — Steven Wilson,
> Porcupine Tree
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 7:39 PM, Moandji Ezana <mwa...@gmail.com> wrote:

Roland Tepp

unread,
Apr 8, 2011, 3:55:41 AM4/8/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
It is true that when web applications try hard to mimic the behavior and workflow of similar desktop apps, they are in most cases much inferior to their desktop cousins.

On the other hand, who says you need to model these cloud IDE's in the likenes of desktop apps. The most successful online apps I know of, have nearly always ditched entrenched UI concepts from desktop in favor of more stremalined approaches - take GMail for examle - getting rid of the 3-pane layout model of desktp apps (and grouping conversations) made it much more usable than most of the webmail apps out there that still try (and mostly fail) to mimic their desktop counterparts...

(as a sidenote - this is also one of the reasons I am rather sceptical of the whole movement of single-sourcing web- and desktop UI's - it has it's limited uses but not when it ends up bringing the whole desaktop app over to web)

ASs for your examples - editing source code online should never require any sort of explicit "save" operation for anything else than establishing a common checkpoint for possible restore operations (I would actually argue that same logic would greatly benefit desktop IDE's as well).

Also - one good story for online IDE's might have is enabling collaborative editing (remote pair programming, anybody?).

In the end - it's al about what you are actually trying to achieve. I can see where online IDE coulde possibly ve hugely helpful in the cases where a hosting provider offers it's facilities to help build the apps on their platform. It's all online, there's no compilation step - just edsit and get instant gratification/feedback, instant debugging support, seamless versioning and backup. Done smartly it could easily allow you to transition the dev version to staging to production with no more effort than it takes to click a link. And in case of problems - reverting back to pevious stable release, could be just as easy...

Used right and every aspect carefully thought through, it could be huge.
Little less care, and you've just created a horrible and clunky thing that is many times inferior and much more awkward to use than it's desktop counterparts.

Matthew Farwell

unread,
Apr 8, 2011, 5:19:46 AM4/8/11
to java...@googlegroups.com
2011/4/8 Roland Tepp <luo...@gmail.com>:

> It is true that when web applications try hard to mimic the behavior and
> workflow of similar desktop apps, they are in most cases much inferior to
> their desktop cousins.

Agreed. The workflow imposed by browser is different. In general, when
you develop for a browser, you have less control over the workflow of
the user (you have to manage the back button, multiple tabs open on
the same site, etc.).

> In the end - it's al about what you are actually trying to achieve. I can
> see where online IDE coulde possibly ve hugely helpful in the cases where a
> hosting provider offers it's facilities to help build the apps on their
> platform. It's all online, there's no compilation step - just edsit and get
> instant gratification/feedback, instant debugging support, seamless
> versioning and backup. Done smartly it could easily allow you to transition
> the dev version to staging to production with no more effort than it takes
> to click a link. And in case of problems - reverting back to pevious stable
> release, could be just as easy...

For the transitions between dev -> staging -> production, this is all
about build infrastructure. In general, the problems you have when
doing this are the same no matter whether you use Eclipse, Vi, Emacs,
or Eclipse Orion. A cloud enviroment doesn't solve problems like how
to upgrade a database between versions.

I have a number of problems with cloud IDEs:

1) I work in places in which I do not have a network connection. The
train, customer sites. Also, to run over the network you need a good
network connection, otherwise it can be slow.

2) Even within a team, developers will have different development
environments: they may start off the same, but change over time: to
fix a specific bug, I need such and such data in my database, I need
to point to such and such a web service, I need to make such and such
a web service fail at a particular time. Personally, I use JRebel for
dev (personal license, not shared with the rest of the team), so I
need a different env & build.

Using a remote machine just makes this sort of manipulation more difficult.

For integration, we have a single machine. But that's a VM that is
available on the (company) network. This could be deployed in the
cloud fairly easily.

3) It doesn't solve any hard (recurrent) problems. I still have to
have a working deployment script to update the database, install the
right products in the right place, reboot the servers if necessary.

So a cloud development & deployment environment would slow me down &
not really solve any important issues. I can see some benefits, but
I'm yet to be convinced.

Matthew.

Josh Berry

unread,
Apr 8, 2011, 10:52:19 PM4/8/11
to javaposse
The only advantage I could see is the ease of having a ridiculously
fast system that is in the cloud. SSDs are the rage, imagine having
it so that your build is running on a machine which has an even faster
storage system.

That said, I do try and work on the train as well. The fact that I
can't do reviews (with crucible) offline is annoying, to say the
least. (Half of the win of git over svn is that I don't need a
network to do a log or diff on old versions, taking that away seems
foolish.)

Moandji Ezana

unread,
Apr 15, 2011, 8:09:53 AM4/15/11
to Java Posse
Yet another one for HTML 5 by IBM: http://maqetta.org

Like Orion, you can run it from your own server. I can't get its drag and drop to work, though...

Moandji

Vince O'Sullivan

unread,
Apr 18, 2011, 5:29:50 AM4/18/11
to The Java Posse
On Apr 5, 2:23 am, Mark Derricutt <m...@talios.com> wrote:
> ...Sadly it seems the download/screencast page is currently
> 404ing...

This would seem to be another problem with cloud based solutions. If,
for whatever reason, you can't access your editor or your data then
you're stuffed. This isn't to say that desktops and "local" storage
don't also have their problems. Either way, it's important to ensure
you don't have any SPOFs in your workflow.

Steven Herod

unread,
Apr 19, 2011, 2:45:02 AM4/19/11
to The Java Posse
My employers internet drops out for 15-30 seconds every few hours.

Nothing quite like that spinning circle of doom to know if what you
just hit Ctrl-S on has made it safely to the cloud.
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages