A quick evaluation of Cloud9

I played around with the Cloud9 Editor. It’s based on the same opensource engine as Sublime and Notepad++. The big gotcha is that it isn’t a fat client, it’s browser-based.

Cloud9 works by spinning up an EC2 Instance where everything, like golang, git, ruby, nodejs, et. al., are pre-installed. That’s how they’re able to run the code locally without any installation, it’s all in the ec2 instance.

You launch the editor by logging in to the AWS console and going to the Cloud9 section. The EC2 instance gets an IAM role that will assume the privileges of your IAM user, which is why you don’t need to configure any keys for interacting with the AWS API.

It’s just a t2.small, so it’s a reasonable price per month, and the instance will automatically shutdown if you don’t use it for a configurable amount of time, which is 30 minutes by default.

Unfortunately, you can’t have a single ec2 instance for all users. Each user needs their own ec2 instance, aka environment. The positive side would be that it would completely eliminate the need for an expensive laptop, and the risk of users having code not checked in locally.

You could give a new employee a chromebook and this cloud9 environment and they’d be off and running. Sublime is $100 and doesn’t come with your dev environment setup and ready to go, so when you compare Cloud9, the pricing is reasonable, and the features great.

I can tell you that getting devs setup to work with the AWS API can be hard. So a solution that “just works” with no local setup is huge. Now devs just need to worry about code and not the environment.

The greatest thing about Google Docs is being able to work on the same file at the same time with multiple people. I’m already thinking about how I can use Cloud9 with my team when we collaborate on new services.

For serverless development, Cloud9 will be indespensible for elliminating the barrier to entry. It all depends how well it works with frameworks like serverless or claudiajs.

Considering that most devs don’t even leverage the power available in that MacBookPro, and the fact that the 2015 model was the last “good” version, this becomes a very compelling option.

categories: aws | cloud9 |