IDE in the Cloud

There’s been a lot of talk at EclipseCon here about the “IDE in the Cloud”. I missed it but apparently the Mozilla Bespin demo at the e4 talk was quite impressive. It is easy to set up, and it’s pretty fast as a code editor. I guess that makes sense since browsers have been heavily optimized for fast display of textual and graphical content. So I have to admit, it’s led me to reconsider this technology. Rational tried this many years ago, remember Catapulse?, to build hosted development environments. The idea, and the company, collapsed in the high-tech bust of 2001. Maybe they were just too early.

But as we start to rely on the cloud, what happens when the sky’s are clear? I just heard Kevin McGuire say that, hey, my e-mail is on the server, why shouldn’t my code be there too. I use Outlook and Thunderbird in a mode that downloads my e-mail to my machine so I can access it disconnected. I don’t always have access to the cloud. Until the cloud is omni-present, through things like metropolitan wireless schemes, and cheep, $10/day at my hotel wasn’t cheep, then I don’t see it really taking off as the typical way you do software development.

I just worry that the whole “Cloud” paradigm is being pushed by the people that can profit most from it, not from an inherit need of potential users.