Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So there I was wanting to develop on my Chromebook...

I have a new project I'm working on, and since I've switched to my Chromebook I was wondering if there was a way to do Java web development using it. My fallback plan is always to use Chrome Remote Desktop to connect to my iMac and just do normal development there. Enter Codenvy, stage left.

Codenvy is a cloud-based development IDE that can publish to a number of cloud-based platforms such as Google App Engine - the one I was interested in using for this new project. Seems like a perfect fit, and in some ways it is, some ways it isn't. Codenvy is really easy to start using and get connected to your Google App Engine account, so that was very slick. The deeper I got, however, the more shortcomings I encountered. For one, while the Codenvy IDE looks a lot like Eclipse, it just isn't - not yet, anyway. No control-click to go to a method is a huge disappointment. The auto-complete is mostly there, but only when you do things the way Codenvy wants. For example, if I have a CSS file, then auto-complete for CSS works well. But if you're editing a JSP with inline CSS or CSS in the HEAD, you're out of luck. I've also had a few occurrences of a file I edited and saved not getting updated on the remote end. I would go to test, realize that the change wasn't there, close the file in the IDE and reopen it, and sure enough the saved changes were gone. Ugh.

Still, it's a very interesting piece of work. It might not be ready for every developer yet, but for anyone like me that has totally fallen in love with their Chromebook and wants to develop within its limitation, Codenvy is some very slick software.

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