Cloud-based editors

Lastly, cloud- or web-based editors are the shiny new tools new to the web developer's tool belt. They allow a developer to work on a code base inside a browser either as a plugin to a web browser or purely online, and it allows a developer to work on any OS platform, Chrome OS, iPad, or Android operating systems that you might not consider writing JavaScript in!

The advantage of writing code in a browser is that the project code is hosted online, either in Git or simply in the editor's hosted service. Some plugin editors allow you to work from your computer's hard drive like any other editor but are written in HTML and JavaScript with a backend (such as Python, PHP, or ASP.NET) like any other website.

Typically, these editors fit inside the mid-range editor space in terms of features. However, some of them can offer very little in terms of features beyond being online without installing an editor to a computer, which is why they fall in this category. The upcoming sections give a few examples of popular cloud editors.

The Cloud9 editor

Cloud9 editor, available at http://c9.io/, is a general web application IDE but is a cloud app with HTML5, PHP, Node.js, Rails, Python/Django, and WordPress support. The following screenshot displays the user interface of the Cloud9 editor:

It also allows you to clone from a Git URL or from a GitHub project, so you can choose to have your code hosted in Cloud9 or synced to your own Git repository.

Another feature of Cloud9 is virtual-machine support from the browser for iOS simulator testing as well as console support for Node.js — again, in a browser.

The Codenvy editor

Another online IDE—Codenvy—is available at http://codenvy.com/. Its user interface can be seen in the following screenshot:

This editor is pretty similar to Cloud9, but it hosts cloud service projects, such as Google's App Engine. It can also build apps for Android while having full JavaScript support for popular libraries in AngularJS or jQuery.

An issue with cloud editors is that, when JavaScript libraries are involved in a project, an online editor may not be able to recognize library-specific JavaScript or HTML tag conventions used, so it's important to consider features when selecting a cloud editor.

For cloud editors, you can see that they follow a mid-range editor feature-set but allow for quick connection and updates for existing projects.