A slightly bittersweet opensourcing

Collaborative web IDE Collide set free after Google closure

The closure of Google's Atlanta engineering offices probably wouldn't constitute much of a news story in itself, but the office's engineers final swansong might just get more people talking.

Parts of their project, Collide, a colloborative web-based IDE have been unleashed through an Apache 2.0 license, pulling in a number of libraries such as Vert.x, Google Web Toolkit and Guava. It also uses the currently incubating Apache Wave within it for some dynamic communication. Scott Blum, one of the Atlanta engineers behind the now ceased (at least at Google) explained the situation and of his hopes for what Collide might inspire through open sourcing:

It's called "Collide" (collaborative IDE), and is a web-based collaborative code editor. What we pushed out is extremely stripped down right now, but the most interesting tech stuff around collaborative editing is all there. Long term, we hope it will serve as a catalyst for improving the state of web-based IDEs.

It may be a little rough round the edges at Blum says, but the foundations are promising and could pave the way for similar future collaborative projects like this one. Components within Collide could well spark interest from developers to pull parts from it into their own project. Collide allows a user to go to a directory and run the Collide server, allowing users to edit alongside each other.

The public code base requires Java 7 and ant 1.8.4+ to build and there are no pre-built binary downloads. Users will have to check out the project from its git repository.

From the looks of it, Google spent a fair bit getting this project of the ground, only to quash it before it was close to being done. Reasons for the Atlanta office closure have not been stated, but reports speculate that the departure of Google Web Toolkit founder, Bruce Johnson had triggered the cull of the Atlanta office. It was also where Dart development was being done, Google's burgeoning programming language. Where this leaves Dart is anyone's guess.

Either way, the closure might have been bad news for certain projects closing shop, but at least we get to play with parts of Collide - perhaps sparking some further innovation at other web-based IDEs in the works.

Chris Mayer

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