Coding on Chromebook? Simple.

I have mixed feelings about Chromebooks. On one hand they are very basic, cannot run any applications, and generally have low memory. On the other hand, they are also very cheap, which is great when you need a computer for school; they also teach you that almost everything you could do using computer applications is now online. One of my biggest needs on Chromebook was the ability to code easily without having to install Visual Studio.

Word(s) of the Day – IDE (Integrated Development Environment) – a fancy term for an app that helps you code

Fortunately for me there is the next best thing, a cloud IDE. Cloud IDEs are online version of Visual Studio, and often come with file storage, an easy syntax highlighted way to view your code, and a terminal to allow for git and other operations. I am making it seem more complex than it is; simply put it is a place to code online.

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My absolute favorite is called Cloud9. You can preview your code with the click of a button, which is awesome for web developers. You also have an Ubuntu terminal with almost free reign. Each account has its own workspaces, separated from each other. You can create or clone as many of these workspaces as you want. For the low low price of free, I can’t complain.

For web developers, Google Chrome’s inspect add-on (Ctl-Shift-I) works just fine. You can view and modify everything from load times to service workers. You can also test the appearance of the website on mobile browsers.

Another issue I have encountered is that you can’t test on other browsers like Internet Explorer that often have compatibility issues. For that I found a site called Browsera that lets you test your website on Firefox and IE for free, as well as gives you the errors that the browsers may report.

All in all, I was surprised with the amount of coding you can do on Chrome alone.

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