About Alex Theedom

Alex Theedom is a Senior Java Developer with an extensive experience of front-end and server-side web technologies. He is passionate about the J2EE technology stack and cloud based solutions, enthusiastic about HTML5 and CSS3 and experimenting with Firefox OS.

Cloud IDE for J2EE development

With so many of the traditional software tools going to the cloud I want to see how they compare to traditional tools. My interest is Java EE technology and started to look for a cloud service that allowed me to develop, test and deploy a Java EE application. As I soon found out many of the cloud IDEs are designed for web front end technology such as HTML and JavaScript. What features one wants in a cloud IDE depend on the extent of the development that is to be done. If you require an IDE that is little more that a cloud text editor then nearly all the cloud IDEs would do the job, but I decided that I wanted to develop, test and deploy to a live server. As if it were a replacement for a desktop IDE.

I am accustomed to the eclipse IDE so want something that has the same look and feel and the intuitive UI, as a busy developer I don’t have time to learn a new IDE nor fight with an unintuitive interface. So the following were my criteria for a cloud IDE:

  1. An intuitive UI that resembles eclipse
  2. Is designed for Java and Java EE development
  3. Connects to cloud based services such as Amazon Web Services and Git Hub

Here are a few I looked at:

Cloud 9 IDE

This service provides an environment for developing code in Node.js, HTML5, PHP, Phyton/Django, Ruby on Rails, C/C++ and Custom. The web site does not clearly specify that you can develop for Java EE although it claims that you can develop in ’23 other languages’ nor does it specify that you can test your code or deploy it to a remote server.

I created an account and tested it out. From the offset I was disappointed. The UI was not intuitive nor did it resemble eclipse, and to make it worse my gravitar photo was displayed in the top left hand corner of the desktop. No one likes to see themselves in photos.

I created a new workspace, selected the technology ‘custom’ (Java not being available) and waited for the workspace to be created. Once created I was faced with a spares workspace and no clear way to develop in Java.

I concluded that this was not the cloud IDE for me.

Orion hub

Orion is an eclipse off-shoot, so it sounded promising. I signed up for an account and was immediately disappointed. It was not eclipse-like in anyway nor did it allow Java development. It really is only useful for HTML and JavaScript development. Again this cloud IDE is not for me.

CodeAnywhere

Supports HTML, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and XML no Java development possible. Although what looks interesting is that you could code on any devise from desktop to mobile. I can’t imagine how horrible it might be to develop on a mobile while squashed up against the window of a northern line tube at rush-hour. Perhaps there are some die-hards that can and want to do that, not me. Good luck to them.

Not the cloud IDE for me.

SourceKit

A chrome based text editor that saves files to dropbox. Supports all major languages including Java but its only a cloud based text editor. There is no option to execute and deploy the code.

Nice but not what I am looking for.

Code Run

Does not support Java but does have a eclipse-like UI. If they start to support Java in the future I will give them a second look.

Shift Edit

Another Chrome app that appears very similar to SourceKit that saves files to dropbox. It does not support Java.

Not what I am looking for.

Code Envy

The website of this cloud IDE promise Java/Java EE development, deployment to cloud based servers and git hub integration and a no-fuss setup. Great! just what I want. I created an account, selected the technology (Java EE) and PaaS and waited for the workspace to be created. I was very surprised. All the folders that I could want were created, including the web.xml and a sample index.jsp. Very Very Impressed. I got exactly what they said that they would give me and more importantly I got want I wanted.

This cloud IDE is for me.

Finally

Now time for the real test. Could I develop a simple Java EE web application and deplore it to the cloud?
 

Reference: Cloud IDE for J2EE development from our JCG partner Alex Theedom at the alex.theedom blog.
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One Response to "Cloud IDE for J2EE development"

  1. Dave says:

    For all that’s holy, please stop referring to it as J2EE. It’s *DEAD*.

    JEE is the proper term.

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