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Action.IO: Web Development Server with Full Console, Online IDE and SSH Access (action.io)
86 points by habosa 1521 days ago | hide | past | web | 32 comments | favorite



I have to admit, I'm a little confused about the value proposition here. Yes, managing dev environments is indeed a pain. So the answer is...ditch local development entirely and code in the cloud? I'd argue that the better solution is to create a makefile for dev environments and distribute that to your team. You might even call it "Boxen" and release it on Github a few days ago.

Call me crazy, but I'm really reluctant to throw away the thousands of hours I have invested in my dev tools to use some web-based dev tools that may not be around in 6 months. It's good that you have web-based vim and emacs emulators/clones/etc but I don't use vim or emacs.

Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but it would also worry me to trust another company with, well, basically my entire programming stack from dev tools to code to runtime. Especially if the HQ is not in the US (and it looks like your main HQ is in Singapore, so if you do steal something the barrier-to-justice is even higher than normal. OTOH you might get caned for stealing code, which makes things interesting.)

The thing that might be somewhat successful is a kind of CPanel for developers, where you can host your own web-enabled dev tools, and pay a subscription fee to a company to keep your stuff up-to-date. Hey, that's a good idea!


Hey Josh, thanks for the thoughts.

You can use tools like Boxen, Puppet or Chef, but those tools are not useful for less experienced developers or designers who have to run the full stack just to touch the markup. Many developers prefer to write code instead of having to maintain scripts to build development environments. Similarly in production, many developers prefer a PaaS like Heroku or AppFog over dealing with VPSes or EC2.

Another caveat of setting up development environments locally is that you have to repeat the setup procedure for every machine that you would like to develop on.

Cloud environments make it easier to adhere to important application design patterns like treating backing services (like databases or caches) as attached resources. It also makes it easier to run the entire spectrum of your application on the same infrastructure, reducing dev / prod runtime issues in the continuous delivery process.

The collaborative opportunities are also really exciting. Pair programming collaboration (we pair remotely pretty often), as well as sharing and cloning environments are made possible by hosting the environment on the cloud.

We have some other great ideas in development currently that we think will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend setting up, managing, and using your environment, and the time you spend synchronizing your environment with teammates.

With regards to your location question-- Our company is incorporated and headquartered in the US; our main office is in Menlo Park, although we do also roam around the city a lot. Happy to grab a beer with you sometime if you're in San Francisco!

The majority of our infrastructure is on AWS, and while we do utilize their global availability zones, you can choose the regions where your box is provisioned.

Happy to send you an invite, just email us at hello at action dot io

Cheers AJ @ Action.IO


I don't mean to be snarky, but you do understand that repeating the benefits of your product does not count as a response to concerns about it's drawbacks, right? (Although I do appreciate the factual clarification about the location of your HQ.)


> but those tools are not useful for less experienced developers or designers who have to run the full stack just to touch the markup

most of text editors and IDEs have some ftp/ssh capabilities , and most of them are free. If you call yourself a developers and you cant upload a file , you cant call yourself a developer.

> Pair programming collaboration (we pair remotely pretty often), as well as sharing and cloning environments are made possible by hosting the environment on the cloud.

You dont need yet another service for that. Each dev should have it's own environment to mess up with , ( i mean , lauching a server image on a VM is not that difficult , is it ? ) and thanks to CVS you can keep a simple infrastructure to share code.

> Similarly in production, many developers prefer a PaaS like Heroku or AppFog over dealing with VPSes or EC2.

PAAS can be good to start with. At some point ( as very fast ) , you end up with a VPS , because the service sucks and you pay less, really... why would you use Appfog if you cant even upload a big json file (JSON 500 error ... ) at the same time ?

> Many developers prefer to write code instead of having to maintain scripts to build development environments

I disagree 100% , it's part of the job , and there are loads of tools to facilitate deployment. Can a dev be that lazy ? show me a language or a framework that is hard to deploy in 2013 ? even rails is a breeze now.

In essence you are kind of saying , the lazier they come the more they'll pay for that kind of service. it's a bet, good luck anyway.


> most of text editors and IDEs have some ftp/ssh capabilities , and most of them are free. If you call yourself a developers and you cant upload a file , you cant call yourself a developer.

What does that have to do with local development?


Spent a couple of days playing with this and I really like it. I'm enjoying the nice, clean IDE UI.

Haven't really built anything beyond simple test apps, but from what I've seen it could be a really great tool.


The appropriate link is https://www.action.io/


Damn, I meant to submit that. I hope people take the time to click to the home page, I wish I could change the link retroactively. Maybe the mods will do it if this gets any traction.


This is actually a little sad, I am currently looking for a new hosting provider for our dev environment who will make things easy and give me access to a command line without having to dig through the website for 30 minutes.

I was ready to buy, wanted to try it out and hit sign up (on the pricing page), and the page just didn't do anything. Attention to detail is key in this industry and you almost lost your first customer - I was peeved and navigated back to the home page where I saw the email sign up.

(Moral of the story is, if you include a sign up button on another page, at least make it do something!)

--------

Also, you should seriously consider adding support for PHP. You might not like the idea, and it isn't sexy, but it's a ridiculously easy hosting setup to manage, and it's way more wide spread, by not including PHP you effectively middle finger 80%+ of all web developers (who aren't set up in Silicon Valley.)


I agree with the PHP module. Why not Objective-J or other languages+ToolAPIs that exist now (and are not easy to install and get working).


This seems really cool. What's the ETA on node box?


Our homepage is a little outdated (changing soon!) but node boxes are already present! (along with Python and Go)

Edit: I'm one of the guys working on action.io btw


Any idea on pricing for the node box ? It says TBD on the website.


Call me a cynic but why would I need this ? A linode/ec2/azure linux vm and a Terminal is all that I need to do web development these days. Setting up a web server is such a breeze already. Is there a need to simplify it further ? just asking.


Yes. For mobile devices or netbooks (chromebooks), cloud IDEs are pretty ideal.


on chromebook - crosh is sufficient. on mobile devices (I hope you mean tablets) iSSh and other terminal clients should suffice. I'm not downplaying this requirement but just wondering to what level will this get simplified :).


i like the idea very much, it's not that it is the newest shit in the web, everything was there before most of the time. but i like the design and the web IDE idea.

why? now i can think about leaving my macbook at home for a holiday trip, and when someone reports me an urgent bug, i still could fix it with my ipad. (most of the time urgent bugs are often one liners, so who cares to do this on an ipad)

but it will success or not with the prices...if it's cheaper then my current dedicated server, i might thinking about changing over, i wanted to cancel my dedicated server contract anyway.

so when can we expect prices?


This seems very similar to Heroku when it first launched[1].

[1]: http://www.crunchbase.com/assets/images/original/0001/3459/1...


I've been working in their web IDE for the past week coding a side project in nodejs using coffeescript. So far I've been impressed. If the web IDE isn't your thing, you have ssh access and can use vim/emacs.


This looks really neat. I wonder if you could add automatic configuration of, and deployment to, a production environment as a premium service as well. I know I would be in the target audience for that.


How is this different than Koding? http://koding.com


Is not that what heroku was doing before they pivoted?


Very similar, although I don't think Heroku ever had a console. But yes, this does seem to be at least a partial revival of Heroku garden.

Also I don't think this is meant to be a production hosting environment, more like a test environment before you deploy to Heroku (which Action.IO will automate when the time comes).


Shared meaning each in its.own vm or each sharing a vm with other.people? If they are sharing a vm how do you make it secure?


How is this different than Cloud9 IDE? https://c9.io/


SSH access, and a console so you can actually deploy. It's more similar to a VPS but with a little more hand-holding and some restrictions.


Is the web ide usable from a iPad browser? That is something that not work in Cloud9


It looks very promising when I can code from anywhere. I'm also enjoying the nice, clean IDE UI.


Looks interesting, certainly want to try! Got myself into invite queue :)


Can this be termed as an example of software defined data center?


No.


Cloud 9 seems like a better solution IMO




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