Chromebook for development?

Chromebook for development?
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#1

I’ve been thinking about getting a Chromebook for development while I’m on the road. Does anyone have any experience with this? I messed around with cloud 9 last night, and it seems like a pretty good option. Any suggestions regarding which Chromebook would be best for my purposes?


#2

I’ve used a Chromebook in a limited capacity, so YMMV, but you need to be aware that there are some restrictions that make life difficult. The main plus point of a Chromebook is Chrome OS, and a development environment on it generally needs to get around the fact the OS is heavily locked down. AFAIK most of the points raised here still stand: https://headmelted.com/coding-on-a-chromebook-84335cce96c8 - I was using crouton, and it worked great with the caveats mentioned in that article. For development, you really want root access + the ability to just install arbitrary things at will, which Chrome OS actively tries to stop you doing. Storage is important as well, and Chromebooks generally don’t need much. If cheap is the priority, I would go for a cheap laptop with Linux but that often == setup pain and general instability, so YMMV, it’s all tradeoffs.


#3

Im using a very cheap netbook, but before everything, i dont want you to use Chromebook for devlopement purposes based on my friends experience! She was totally locked down! as sir @DanCouper said! So i would prefer a cheap windows laptop then install ubuntu or lighter distros! as long as you have sublime and chrome? youre good to go, anyways, A programmer’s skills cant be judged with the workspace he have! Its all about passion and perseverance!


#4

There certainly seems to be limitations. The route I was thinking about was setting up a development environment with cloud 9 connected to an awesome ec2 insurance which from what I understand is basically connecting to a remote Linux environment from the browser. From the little I’ve messed with it seems I can everything I normally do on my local machine in the terminal. The only caveat with that is not being able to use it if I find myself without an internet connection.


#5

oh! my Bad! But, I didnt get it sorry! Thanks anyways! and sorry once again.LOL


#6

I’m using an Acer C720 with GalliumOS running on it, it works great. I wouldn’t want to do any developing on the ChromeOS side though.


#7

I have a Macbook Pro, a fairly powerful Thinkpad, and a little Toshiba Chromebook.

A lot of the time I do grab the chromebook when Im going out and about as the size just makes absolute sense. There are a few basic code editors avaiable for them, which at the moment is all I really need when I have an hour to kill in a service station or a couple hours on the train. They are handy little machines, always fast and just so simple to use.

To be honest, as standard they arent geared towards development, however with a little tinkering I am sure they would be fantastic. I keep in touch with a guy working as a pen-tester, and he carries an 11inch chromebook with him out and about as his main computer.


#8

I decided to go for it. With Cloud9 and aws ec2 I can do my development straight from the browser. It seems like a pretty decent IDE, and with the ec2 linux instance I can still use all the command line tools I’m accustomed to. The only thing I didn’t think about was cross browser testing. Chrome is my browser of choice, but i like to test my projects in different browsers. Am I limited to google chrome on a chromebook? judging by the name of the device that might be the case.


#9

A Chromebook lover here (I have a 11-inch 200$ Acer with Intel with 32gb HD)

I’m also a Linux user, so moving to a Chromebook seemed like an interesting challenge for development. I didn’t mind the idea of an internet connection, because lets be serious you need internet connection to work anyways. (Unless you downloaded all of stack overflow and MDN locally)

The main TLDR of my post is: Use a cloud IDE, or forget about it


I used my Chromebook with Cloud 9 before it was bought by amazon so I have a free-low tier (for now :wink: ) Cloud 9 is pretty sweet, it can handle most basic projects without much issues. I did my senior project totally on Cloud 9 with no problems. But if you need a lot of CPU computations for a large project, then low tier wont cut it. (half a GB of ram just disappears)
Probably the best feature of Cloud 9 is you can flip to any other computer login and start working instantly so using Cloud 9 not only provides you with development tools on your chromebook, but its also available to all your machines at the same time, and allows your to work from any computer with an internet connection.
So id consider your chromebook like an old-school dumb terminal, except it isn’t that dumb and can easily help you lookup resources while you work.
I will have to admit the IDE part of Cloud 9 isn’t as good as what you can get out of desktop tools like VS Code or Atom, so as long as your JS code isn’t that complex you should be ok. (cloud 9’s intellisense is meh)


Now lets say you don’t way to pay for Cloud 9 and want to see whats available on your chromebook for local development.
You can try to get some linux tools going for local development and Id say go for it, but the mileage varies incredibly and the payoffs aren’t that great. Something as simple as getting a local web-server to be available becomes a pain, finding and installing uncommon software using an open source package manager might turn into dead-ends, funky errors or long times building from source only to find you did it wrong. Or you might end up installing linux along-side chrome OS, and switching between your Chromebook OS and a Linux OS running along side it (its pretty cool) but your still stuck with a cheap developer laptop at the end of the day. (you could go get a pixel, but then were talking about most common chromebooks here haha).

I will mention there is some talk about Chrome OS providing a way to install Linux apps (!) so you might want to do some research to get a “main-stream” chromebook that could potentially get this feature sooner than later.


I will also have to give a shout out to another cloud editor codeanywhere since I hear its better than Cloud 9, and since its still is free (last I checked) id also check it out as well.
Also there’s plenty of alternatives like StackBlitz and the usual Codepen, jsbin, and jsfiddle. But I’m not sure how things would work out with larger projects. (StackBlitz is a freaken amazing piece of technology though)

So yes “in the cloud” there’s a lot of potential, but it’s hard to beat local development when you need to do a lot of heavy work, or require all the tools. For smaller simpler projects a Chromebook will do fine.

PS. I wrote all this and didn’t notice I didn’t answer your last question as to what chromebook would fit your purpose, and Id say basically any of them if you plan on sticking with Cloud 9. I had very little issues running my app on mine, most things are dependent on internet connection speed than anything.


#10

Yeah it doesn’t have all the features I enjoyed in VS Code, but Cloud 9 seems to be able to get the job done. With a new aws account I can use it free for 12 months. After that I’ll have to decide if it’s worth paying for or go with something like codeanywhere.