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3. October 2017

There are several different IDEs that run in the cloud, although they are quite often tied to a very specific development stack.  Cloud based development has a number of advantages.  You don’t need to install any software besides your browser, you can code and debug using any browser enabled device, you can often work collaboratively and of course, your code can then be run in the cloud.  If you find yourself needing to write server code, be it a web server or game backend a cloud based IDE/server may be just the ticket for you.

Enter CodeAnywhere.  CodeAnywhere can basically be thought of as a web based IDE front end for multiple languages/stacks built over on demand virtual machines.  Basically you can create a virtual machine with root ssh shell access, then are provided with a browser IDE to create and run your code.  Finally that virtual machine (“container” in CodeAnywhere parlance) can act as your server.  Let’s take a quick look at the process.

First you need to sign up, you can use any oauth provider for authentication, for example I used my Gmail account.  The free tier is all you need at this point.  Once you start needing more space you can upgrade to one of several different subscriptions.


Next you can create a “Container”.  On the free tier you are limited to one at a time.   There are several different pre-defined stacks to choose from, operating on either Ubuntu or Centos.  Stacks include technologies such as Java, C++, Node, .NET Core, pretty much every single current server stack.


Once your container is created, you now have a ssh shell with full sudo access.  Create whatever files you need, run your package manager, whatever you need to do.


In the editor you have access to your entire project hierarchy:


Click a file and it will be opened in the code editor:


As you can see it contains most modern IDE functionality, code complete, code folding, syntax colouring, etc.  Finally you can run your code and access it in several different ways:


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