Five Best Online IDE’s – Making the switch to a Chromebook

Five Best Online IDE’s – Making the switch to a Chromebook

Having the option to program online is not just essential in my ‘Making the switch to a Chromebook’ series of articles I’m writing simulating the Chromebook experience in a Chrome Browser. It’s equally essential to the entire premise that a Chromebook or cloud computing device has any validity in the foreseeable future, as the need for Google Docs is. It can’t do without.

As a blogger you mostly depend on your own skills to maintain your blog, maybe even to build it. At the very least you’ll want to tweak the code every now and again to keep your blog afloat. And if you’re anything like me you’ll do most of your writing and quick code editing away from your home office and trusted setup. In other words, if we’re gonna buy a Chromebook it’s going to be the machine doing most of the work, it should be able to handle that.

There are quite a lot of programming languages out there, so I will be specific in what I seek. I need to be able to work on my website’s CSS and create, edit and store PHP, C++ and maybe HTML5 files online. It would be nice if I could find some kind of sandbox or service that offers that option where you can trial run your code. Preferably in the same IDE (integrated development environment), and for free.

Like I just don’t want to learn I was again completely surprised by how advanced the developments are and what great quality services you can find. Not only can I get free apps for programming online in the languages I want, the ones I tested also performed better, were more user friendly and had a richer set of features than I had imagined possible.

When you’re looking to move your coding to the web, do give the following five IDE’s a bit of your time. Try them out. I’m sure that one of them will be of your liking. Do not forget to F11 for the full screen experience, that really makes it better!

Shift Edit

It blew my mind. An online PHP, Ruby, Java, HTML, CSS and JavaScript editor with built-in (S) FTP and the ability to store your files in Dropbox! It does everything you expect from an IDE like full syntax highlighting and it handles easy too. It literally took me only 1 minute to set the IDE up on the ChromebookHQ website after which I could immediately start editing my site. In design mode, or split pane or just code, you choose. Find the app here.

Cloud IDE

Again, awesome! Supported languages are HMTL, CSS, XML, Javascript, Groovy, Java, JSP, Ruby and PHP. An extensive online IDE which makes programming on a professional level certainly possible. To help you get started their site comes with some sample projects, provides extensive user documentation such as tutorials, video demos, webinar archives, product screenshot galleries, datasheets, features and benefits tables and more. It’s hosted development environment enables teams to collaboratively build gadgets, mashups, REST APIs, and HTML5 / JavaScript applications. Find the app here.

Source Lair

A deceptively simple IDE which you can use to write code in C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran 90/95, Javascript, PHP, CSS, HTML, and Pascal everywhere. How far you can go with it I do not know, but for the novice C++ coder this is certainly a good solution. You can also use SourceLair for its highlighted editing capabilities for Python, Ruby, Java, HTML ( with previewing ), CSS, Javascript and PHP. Find the app here.


Without a doubt the IDE with the best user interface I’ve seen so far. Perhaps the main reason why I am so enthusiastic about Cloud9. Not to say that it’s lacking on other parts, definitely not. In addition it offers seamless integration with the two most popular web-based hosting services where you can find full software development projects and host Github and Bitbucket. And to sum up there’s collaboration, you can edit, run, and debug your code live and much more. Find the app here.


It’s in the name.. Codeanywhere lets you code anywhere, without the need to bring anything along with you. Just install Codeanywhere in Chrome, and all your servers, files, everything is waiting for you, even the files you left open will be open when you login again. Best of all everything is synchronized with your account. It offers: FTP Client, PHP Editor, HTML Editor, CSS Editor, Javascript Editor, XML Editor and a bunch more. Find the app here.

Conclusion to date

These five IDE’s are all just very good tools in their own right. Yes, I prefer some over others. But that’s more due to what it is I use them for than that the others wouldn’t be as good. Overall I can say that what I summed up in my previous post is all possible. It’s that good that I myself have switched over these past couple of days from coding locally to coding online.

Up Next

I really don’t know what to check out next. I believe I’ve covered the most important things so far! Let’s go back to my mind map from post number one and see what I’ve forgotten. In the mean time let me just ask you to leave any comment if you so wish. Maybe you’ve got a good idea for my challenge to test.

Have fun Chroming and until next time!


  1. Mark Reale
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 18:43:12

    Great article -

    Quick note – your link to Shift / Edit is actually pointing to Cloud IDE

    Also – looks like Shift / Edit doesn’t support the Dropbox syncing anymore -

    Thanks again for the great article -



    • Kain Young
      Aug 05, 2012 @ 20:05:47

      Hi Mark, thank you so much for pointing out the incorrect link, I really appreciate that. It’s now fixed.

      On your point to Shift / Edit no longer supporting syncing, I did a quick search on their site”, The second Top Feature as listed today says: “Access and publish files through FTP/SFTP and Dropbox”. So it seems to have at least some support. Does your comment have anything to do with the changes Dropbox itself made concerning the Public Folder (or lack thereof), effective with new Dropbox accounts?


      • Adam Jimenez
        Aug 06, 2012 @ 11:48:44

        I’m the author behind ShiftEdit. We haven’t dropped any dropbox functionality – so not sure what is meant by this.

        Thanks for including ShiftEdit!


        • Kain Young
          Aug 06, 2012 @ 11:58:10

          Dear Adam, thank you for your reply here. Great to hear that ShiftEdit will continue to provide the excellent service and features we’ve come to love.


  2. Justin GIlbert
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 02:59:45

    May sound weird, but I’m seriously thinking about moving to a Chromebook and I design wordpress sites. Do you see any problems using wordpress on Chrome? I’d need to be able to edit css files either on the hosted server, or download via FTP, edit and reupload. Would need to be able to login to wordpress sites and edit/upload content. Lastly would need to be able to edit images (but you covered that in your other review!)

    Thanks in advance. This really is the only thing left before I drop the hammer and buy that bad boy!


  3. Marius
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 15:25:38

    Thanks for the article.

    Have a wonderful day. :)


  4. Al Byers
    Feb 19, 2013 @ 09:26:07

    I use ShiftEdit and I like it except that it lacks a validating XML editor. By that I mean I am not prompted with allowed tags when I go to add an element. For the frameworks with which I work, and, which are highly dependent on XML config and scripting files, this is a problem. Do you know if any of the other IDEs support that or if there is an online XML editor that does not cost and arm and a leg that does this?


  5. Bee
    Mar 01, 2013 @ 19:16:03

    I’ve got a somewhat related question. Is the Chromebook a good laptop for computer science courses? Learn programming, etc.?


    • Percy
      Mar 08, 2013 @ 17:28:31

      I’ve got the Samsung 11.6-inch Chromebook (Wi-Fi) and found it a very reasonable solution for basic programming between lab sessions with a workstation desktop.

      Compared to the other light-weight alternatives, macbook air, ultrabooks, and some of the lighter-weight 11′ laptops, I think it stands near the top in terms of value if you are inclined to tinker.

      Bear in mind you also gain an immense amount of utility from installing a reasonably large SD card and dual-booting linux.


  6. Kain Young
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 17:46:16

    Hi Percy, I’m j interested took hear what distro you’re running. Would you like to share that?


  7. Bought a Chromebook today. | Mr. Manley
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 03:52:08

    [...] course, the old, more-famous standbys like Evernote and Kindle Cloud Reader. There are even several IDEs for developing PHP apps (and other kinds of apps) out there. One thing that concerned me about switching to a [...]


  8. Patrick
    Jul 02, 2013 @ 21:09:47

    Hi I’m completely new to programming and want to try my hand at Python as a hobby. I’ve only got a Chromebook to play on, would that be a problem? And which of the above would you recommend?


  9. Randy
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 02:49:21

    Do any of the IDEs support C#?


  10. Tico
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 18:56:05

    I have been working with Kompozer but just got a Chromebook. I love it. I’m not a programmer but use simple HTML pages as marketing tools. Can you tell me if there is a wsywig editor like Kompozer for Chromebook?


  11. Brandon
    Sep 26, 2013 @ 05:27:12

    Does anyone know if Cloud 9 or any other programs would be good for a classroom? I need one that not only allows private and “public” access to code, but tutorials for the coding as well. Can’t find any of Google search. Using Chromebooks, so they have to be compatible with them. Preferably easy to use too.


  12. Stefan Cosma
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 18:13:03

    Great article.

    But you forgot to mention one, It offers a full free VM with root access, Terminal and whole lot of other cool stuff. Definitely worth checking out.


  13. Editing Python in the Cloud « SysPython
    Oct 21, 2013 @ 17:52:46

    […] editors and in fact whole IDE’s are available. Take a look here for 5 IDE’s that can probably do all would expect. I don’t intend to try all of them […]


    • deepsea43
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 20:38:53

      koding is great can’t wait for them to bring online the rest of the features like increasing the size of the VM’s


  14. Developing EWD.js Applications using a Chromebook | The EWD Files
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 16:25:25

    […] some research (this article was particularly useful), I decided that ShiftEdit was probably the most useful and appropriate for […]


  15. Is the Web the new Operating System? | Adil Ally
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 22:59:48

    […] required to develop applications that run on a desktop based OS, and while there are web app IDE’s that I can use to build apps, I’m still limited to running those apps in a desktop OS. […]


  16. Chromebook Laberthread - Seite 4 -
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 18:59:15

    […] AW: Chromebook Laberthread Im Chrome, Five Best Online IDE's […]


Leave a Reply