The Blog of Tom Webster

  2011-10-27 15:00:00 PDT

As a coder, I’ve never found cloud-based IDEs to be very useful. Sure, its a great idea, all of your data and project work accessible from any location and securely stored. It sounds like the perfect development environment. I had played around with Cloud9IDE, but I never felt that they were getting it quite right, they had moved in a good direction, but their scope was too limited. I didn’t just want to store my open source projects in the cloud, I wanted shell and FTP access, I wanted a small hosting platform for testing, I wanted the ability to share and publish my creations at will. No cloud IDE could give me that… until now.

Enter: Kodingen. Kodingen is a web developer IDE, plus FTP server, plus SVN/Git/CVS host, plus web host, plus platform. Its hard to describe all the things Kodingen does, or… will do, rather. Lets get that point out of the way first. The first thing you should keep in mind when building things on Kodingen is that it is a beta platform. Work has been progressing fairly rapidly as they gear up for their big stable release, but in using this as a development platform, you’ll run into things that just aren’t built yet. For instance, the integrated domain purchasing/linking: I have no idea how this will work in the future, it looks like a good idea, but the final product has yet to be released. As far as version control systems go, don’t count on it just yet, those are still in development. For every feature that Kodingen has, there’s another feature that just isn’t finished yet. I don’t really see this as a downside, however, instead, I feel very excited for what the future holds.

For a very-much-in-beta project, Kodingen is one of the slickest HTML5 applications I’ve laid eyes on. Everything slides in panels, smooth animations permeate every little thing, right click menus are abound and easy to use, and the interface is extremely clean for how powerful it is. They rely on a bunch of open source tools and technologies, which is a huge benefit for them (no licensing) and for their users (we can move away if we want). The major gripe I have is that we haven’t heard from the developers in quite a while, the last public post was from March 16th. When you get into the backstory of the project, though, you can’t really fault the guys. Kodingen was built from savings, without investors, without VC funding, without Techcrunch Distrupt or the LAUNCH conference. This incredibly useful, incredibly cool project was built by a very small team of developers with their own money. Very cool.

One thing that I wish worked now was the ability to pay for an account, out of all the features to lock out in the beta, I was initially surprised this was one of them. When thinking about it, you wouldn’t want people paying for a half-baked, unfinished product, though. These guys are smart, they aren’t greedy, and they know how to make their users happy. Progress is slow, but the site is fast and stable, and I’m sure when they finally release 1.0, its going to make a lot of people happy (and hopefully make them a lot of money as well). In the mean time, why don’t you sign up for the free account over at https://kodingen.com and consider throwing these guys some dough if you like what you see.