Cloud IDEs For Web Developers – Best Of

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Natasha Tasha is a writer and blogger, plus tech lover, currently writing for Ninefold. She is interested in various technology and Internet topics, Cloud computing, Web development, Web & Graphic design.

With so much of the traditional, desktop-based productivity software we know and love moving to the Cloud, it’s no surprise that Cloud-based IDEs are quickly gaining ground with developers.

Nowadays, the browser is essentially a thin client that allows users to access a variety of Cloud-based applications and services. However, many are still hesitant to put their full faith in a remote Cloud IDE for development purposes. Tools like Github and Pastebin helped to ease the transition to Cloud-based development, and full-fledged Cloud IDEs are now commonly used by many developers.

Here are 13 of the best Cloud IDEs you can get your hands on and a quick summation of each.


After a few minutes using the appropriately named Cloud9, you’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to coder heaven. The front end is all Javascript, while the back end relies on the popular NodeJS framework. Though it’s favored by UI designers and developers, it has syntax highlighting for C#, C++, Python, Perl, Ruby, Scala and a few others as well.

The built-in Vim mode is a nice touch, as is the support for popular revision control systems like Git, Mercurial and SVN. Thanks to the inclusion of CSSLint and JSBeautify, it’s also one of the prettier environments found online.


Another software development tool that frequently tops the various "best of" lists floating around the Web is Codeanywhere, the friendly Cloud IDE for all seasons. It features code highlighting and support for HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, MySQL and more. Thanks to the available slew of handy apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry, this tool enables anyone to code literally anywhere.

In addition, it boasts Dropbox and SFTP support, which allow coders to easily backup project files and share them with collaborators. Though it’s not the most full-featured Cloud IDE, it does what it does quite well.

Cloud IDE

While they obviously didn’t spend a lot of time coming up with a catchy name, the folks behind Cloud IDE put some serious effort into crafting a platform that just works. Otherwise known as eXo Cloud IDE, it’s a solid Cloud contender that supports the usual languages like Javascript, Ruby, Groovy, Java and HTML to name just a few.

In particular, eXo Cloud is well suited to coders who specialize in Java programming. It supports Java servlets and Java Server Pages, as well as Maven. Deployment is handled by Heroku, CloudBees, Red Hat OpenShift and Cloud Foundry.


Google Chrome is coming on strong as of late, surpassing Mozilla’s Firefox and taking a shot at Internet Explorer for the title of browser supremacy. Sourcekit is a Textmate-like IDE that relies on Dropbox for storage and provides a responsive environment for web developers.

With the superb functionality of Mozilla’s SkyWriter a.k.a. "Bespin" baked into the cake, it’s a lightweight, browser-based alternative to bloated desktop development suites. Supported languages include all the majors you’d expect, such as C/C++/C#, PHP, Python, Javascript, MySQL, Java and Ruby. As far as lean browser IDEs are concerned, Sourcekit is an extremely attractive option.


One of the first Cloud editors to really do web-based IDEs the right way, Kodingen has carved out quite the competitive niche for itself in the past few years. It allows developers to code in PHP, Python, Perl and Javascript while working with popular frameworks like Django, Ruby on Rails and Node.js.

Kodingen is bolstered by the rich and diverse community of users that patronize the service, which makes collaboration and sharing in the Cloud fairly convenient. Free to use and experiment with, there’s no reason not to sign up for an account and give Kodingen a shot.

Coderun Studio

If you’ve tried dozens of other browser-based IDEs without success and are looking for something that’s straightforward and capable, Coderun Studio is worth a look. It offers users a cross-platform tool for writing ASP.NET, Javascript, C#, HTML and CSS. Its default Visual Studio compatibility is a nice touch and should have Microsoft-focused coders feeling right at home. It comes equipped with the usual bells and whistles like code completion and syntax highlighting.

Furthermore, the native compilation and debugging features are unparalleled. Lastly, Coderun Studio allows users to quickly share their code with their peers via unique URLs.


Next up, we have the under-appreciated ShiftEdit. Though it may not have the name recognition of Cloud9 or Coderun, it’s nevertheless a versatile piece of Cloud-based software that’s worth looking into.

Whether you’re a trendy Python fan, a PHP holdout or a Perl dinosaur, ShiftEdit has you covered. Users can backup files to Dropbox via SFTP and keep track of changes with various revision control tools all from within the browser. Its SSH authentication, code completion and code snippet features allow for seamless and uninterrupted work flow, which enables developers to be as productive as possible from any location.


With so much competition in the Cloud IDE sphere, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand apart from the crowd. Akshell is a server-side development environment that gives coders a lightweight tool for whipping up Javascript web apps. It relies on the PostgreSQL database for back-end storage, which should be quite easy to work with for those familiar with MySQL.

Thanks to the integrated Git console, deploying any projects that you create is a hassle-free experience. If you’re a strict Javascript coder looking for a capable Cloud IDE that’s fast and stable, Akshell’s the one for you.


All of the Javascript naysayers of the past decade are surely eating their words now that Javascript has experienced a renaissance and attained a newfound level of respect among coders. Erbix revolves around the web’s favorite scripting language and provides tools for crafting Javascript apps for online business productivity.

Though it’s not free, the pricing and plans offered by Erbix are fairly reasonable if you plan on making regular use of this innovative platform. It supports RingoJS and CommonJS modules, features a dedicated MySQL console and provides access to boatloads of apps from other developers through the Erbix AppStore.

Neutron IDE

Building a versatile Cloud IDE from scratch is no small matter, which is why many choose to base their projects on pre-existing open source code. Neutron IDE stands on the shoulders of giants by using the powerful Ace code editor as its starting point. It merges the best features of SFTP clients and browser editors into one complete package, allowing coders to edit files on their development servers on the fly from anywhere.

Featuring support for configurable Vi and Emacs key bindings as well as TextMate themes, it’s one of the most customizable Cloud IDEs around.


Even when Google decides to give up on a project, the general coding public at large always seems to benefit anyway. Collide began its life as a Google Code project with a lot of promise. Though it’s now defunct, the source code is freely available to anybody that wants to fork it.

In a nutshell, it’s a Cloud IDE running on the Java 7 JRE that relies on a host of solid software tools like Guava, JUnit, JKit and EasyMock to provide spartan but powerful collaboration functionality to teams of programmers who value real-time interactivity.


The famed Eclipse Java IDE has been a mainstay in the desktop development world for years, thanks to its comprehensive feature set and rugged reliability. Orion is the next logical step, bringing Eclipse’s considerable experience to the Cloud IDE field. Its primary use at the moment is for front-end web development, so it’s limited to HTML and Javascript for the most part.

However, it’s a work in progress and we can expect to see features added incrementally as development continues over the next year. Aside from Firebug integration, its biggest selling point is its Eclipse-style UI and intuitive layout.

Python Fiddle

There are plenty of reasons why Python is gaining ground in the web development industry lately. It’s relatively fast, incredibly flexible and easy to learn. As such, it’s no surprise that Python-centric Cloud IDEs have evolved to assist developers in belting out code as quickly as possible.

Much like JSFiddle, Python Fiddle is a code editor and code execution environment that allows programmers to run snippets and debug scripts on the go. It supports a plethora of third-party packages, boasts superb documentation, comes with a wide array of built-in hot keys and is also open source to boot.


The use of web development programs that largely reside on remote servers still makes quite a few coders nervous. Adapting to the new paradigm will take some effort for the more conservative "old school" programmers. However, there’s little reason to be afraid of the Cloud anymore. With the adoption of several simple security precautions and an open mindset, any web developer can reap the rewards of Cloud software suites without any real danger.

With so many options to choose from, there’s definitely a near-perfect program out there for every coder, irregardless of their own style and preferences.

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