Justin Latimer

New Cloud9 IDE

I've used Cloud9 IDE for a few years now, for as much development as I can. In some ways it's not as powerful or customizable as using a native environment, but the tradeoff is worth it: you can sit down at any computer with a browser and an internet connection and be back where you left off, literally in seconds. I use Cloud9 to author this blog.

For personal projects, I mostly use node.js, which has fantastic support on Cloud9. You can do debugging, breakpoints, live variable inspection, etc. All the things I've never been able to set up in my local development environment using Sublime or whatever. So in that respect Cloud9 is actually ahead! One of my projects is node-midi, a native node.js module for MIDI i/o. I haven't been able to develop node-midi on Cloud9 because although it has a C++ compiler built in (this is actually amazing when you think about it!), node-midi requires ALSA to be installed to compile successfully on Linux. So I was out of luck - until now.

Cloud9 have released a new beta, where every workspace is backed by an Ubuntu VM, and you have sudo. I was lucky enough to get access to the beta (which was pretty easy - I just asked) and once I setup a new workspace for node-midi I did a sudo apt-get install libasound2-dev and then successfully compiled node-midi.

The new Cloud9 beta is amazing and not just for that reason. The new Terminal is much more stable - I do most of my development on a Chromebook over 3G tethered to my iPhone, and had occasional terminal weirdness which i haven't seen in the new beta.

Now the only thing it can't do is actually run the tests for node-midi. This may be possible because in theory with sudo access I might be able to actually set up enough of ALSA to use the virtual MIDI ports, but I haven't been able to make it happen. That would be mind blowing.