Code Editor in the Cloud

Mozilla Labs lauches Bespin, a cloud-based, collaborative code editor.

A fully-functional code editor that resides in the cloud is something that I’ve been dreaming about for awhile now. The idea of being able to open a public project and easily edit it in a familiar environment from any computer without SSHing into the server is very appealing to me.

There have been a couple of attempts on the web to do something like this but they’ve been a little too simple. Now, however, Mozilla Labs has announced the launch of Bespin, a full-featured, collaborative code editor that resides in the cloud. And before you even ask, support for vi and emacs mode is built-in.

Appropriately named after a planet in the Star Wars universe, Bespin overcomes many of hurdles of writing a fast, responsive online text editor by using the <canvas> tag, the HTML element for writing programmable graphics. When you consider the canvas tag has been around since Firefox 1.5, it’s a wonder someone hadn’t thought of this before. Check out the video below that introduces the project and talks about some of the technology behind the project.

Bespin is still very much in alpha (syntax highlighting for HTML and Javascript at this time) but it’s also very cool. You can take it for a test drive here and mess around with their sample project. The site claims you will be able to access any public code repository soon.

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