Geeking Out: I Love Cloud9!


LOVE Cloud9.

For the unGeeky

Me: Cloud9 is a development environment.

You: Great, that was singularly unhelpful.

Me: A development environment is the way one configures one’s computer to run the various applications used in programming (writing an application).

You: And this is so great because?

Me: Because setting up a development environment can be time consuming. There are usually a number of different applications you need to install and configuration changes that need to be made before the development environment is ready to use. For example, if you want to develop a PHP application (Wikipedia and WordPress are built on this) you’ll need an application to write code in as well as a web server to run the application. Most likely you’ll also need a database server to store all the data your PHP application works with.

In addition, programming can be messy and you may mess up your development environment and want to reinstall your Operating System (e.g. Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) – in which case you’ll have to do a bunch of work all over again to setup your development environment.

Personally, I like to have separate “workspaces” (aka development environments) for different projects. I may be writing a WordPress plugin in one development environment, experimenting with Node.js (currently one of the “hot” technologies), and have another project or two floating around. It helps me to keep things organized when my “workspace” only has the files related to the project I’m working on currently – and if I make any changes to configurations (e.g. to the web server) they will only effect this one project and not any other projects I am working on.

If you are looking to try out programming I’d recommend codeacademy and once you’ve got the swing of things, use Cloud9.

For the Geeky

Cloud9 provides a dockerized instance of Ubuntu preconfigured for development and a web-based IDE. It has prebuilt configurations for Node.js, LAMP, Python/Django, Ruby, C++, WordPress, Meteor, and HTML5.

Cloud9 IDE Screenshot
Screenshot from the Cloud9 IDE. Don’t be scared, you don’t have to have this many windows open at once.

For free you can create multiple workspaces, each workspace having 1 CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and 1 GB of HDD.

The IDE includes code completion, a JS/Node.js debugger, and a number of other features you can read about on their site.

It integrates seamlessly with Github and Bitbucket, allows you to share workspaces with others, provides a publicly accessible URL (if desired) so you can show off your application, and so on.

Looking to do a little WordPress development? You can have a workspace setup in under five minutes!

Ohh, and did I mention that the Code9 IDE is available via GitHub?

News Release: Microsoft Implodes.

Image representing Microsoft
Image via CrunchBase

Okay, okay, it hasn’t happened just yet – but let me put a prediction out there: Microsoft has finally made a choice leading to its rapidly impending doom. I’ve already received the “get over it” comments from other posters when I complained about the UX, but now it isn’t me (nor has it been for a long time) saying it alone. The classic question, “If a tree falls and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” might be appropriate for my comments – but there can be no doubt that when a forest collapses – folks will hear it, and folks will see it, and folks will feel it.

Think I’m making things up? Take a look at two veteran bloggers and tech industry analysts on Microsoft Windows 8. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes Final thoughts on Windows 8: A design disaster. Then read Joe Wilcox’s Windows 8 is like a bad blind date.

Honestly, I want Microsoft and Windows 8 to succeed. I’m not a Microsoft-hater, I might even be a groupie. Some folks belong to the Apple cult, I might belong to the Microsoft cult. So, it really cuts me to the heart to write this post…not just b/c I like Microsoft and I like Windows,  but b/c I really like a LOT of Windows 8 – but not enough to overcome a horrific UX.

“Dave, what features?” Well, most of them are geeky features – the sort of stuff system administrators drool over…but, hey, that is what I am, so I am legitimately drooling…and at the same time sobbing, b/c I know I can’t have what I want without being painfully punished with the Metro UX.

For example the cloud connectivity that moves your profile around between devices seamlessly – and not just on your own domain or workgroup either. The auto-selection of mobile broadband versus wifi hotspots to save you money while being a road warrior. Did I fail to mention Windows To Go? DirectAccess? BranchCache? AppLocker? The lightning speed? Built-in antivirus? An actually useful built-in browser? An enhanced task manager? No, I’m not going to mention everything, go download the Product Guide PDF to read all the details

Okay, okay – a few more. Quite honestly, I’m a file buff. Working at I managed at scaling from 5 TB to 80 TB (who knows what they are at now). Working for PBU I’ve undertaken something similar…from 2 TB to perhaps 60 TB now…and no, I don’t just buy storage b/c I love it…I buy it b/c the world is changing and our needs for storage are growing exponentially.

So, take a look at these FANTASTIC enhancements to Windows 8. First there is Kiran Bangalore’s post, “Redesigning chkdsk and the new NTFS health model.” Then Ilana Smith’s “Acting on file management feedback.” And don’t miss one of my favorites, Surendra Verma’s “Building the next generation file system for Windows: ReFS.” You’ll also find thrilling reading in Steven Sinofsky’s “Virtualizing storage for scale, resiliency, and efficiency.” I could go on and on, but instead let me encourage you to explore for yourself the wonderful blog by the Microsoft team “Building Windows 8.”

Now, you might justly say, “Dave, you haven’t shown how Microsoft will implode?” You are right, I haven’t. Microsoft has numerous other businesses besides Windows, but the point is that over the next few years it seems likely that Microsoft will hand off a massive amount of its market share on core products – such as Windows – to competitors including Apple, Google (Android), and Ubuntu (Linux). By the time they get their act together, no one will need them any more. Microsoft has long thrived on the legacy needs and familiarity of its customers…with this push that will alienate users heavily, they are going to lose this traditional cash cow.

Some might say, “The UX isn’t that bad…Dave you just like to whine.” Maybe I do like to whine. Andrew Vogel certainly thinks so….be that as it may, I’ve been using computers for a few years – the Commodore 64, Apple II, II+, IIe, IIgs. The 286, 386, 486, PI, PII, Celeron, and all the chips in-between. I’ve run DOS, Windows 3.1, 95, 98, Me, XP, Vista, and 7. I’ve messed around with various flavors of Linux and tried out a number of those ever-disappointing cloud OS’es. I’m not someone who is opposed to change – I live for it and love it….so when I say the UX is horrific, I am not saying, “Wahhh…Don’t make me learn something new.” The end.