An ace up your sleeve

Meet the embeddable code editor: Ace is a royal flush

Sarah Schlothauer
code editor
© Shutterstock / Happy Author

Looking for an embeddable code editor with more features than you’ll know what to do with? Ace has been around since 2010 and there’s a reason why. Come see what this code editor offers and give it a test.

Embeddable code editor

Written in JavaScript, Ace is a code editor that can be easily embedded inside of the web or even in a JavaScript app. Embedding Ace in your site is easy, just follow the guide and use the provided code. There is also the option to clone and host Ace locally using a pre-packaged version. (Four different pre-packaged versions are found on GitHub for all of your needs.)

Ace is no new kid on the block, it has actually been around since September 2010. (However, it previously went by Bespin and Skywriter.) Let’s celebrate over 8 years of Ace and look at what’s what it stand the test of time against other code editors.

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What’s included?

What are some of the features that make Ace worth checking out? Right off of the bat, Ace is fast. It keeps up speed even for large files. Currently, the upper limit for large files is around 4,000,000 lines of code.

According to Ace’s Wikipedia page, some of the supported projects that use Ace Editor are: Cloud 9 IDE, PythonAnywhere, Koding, the Tumblr theme editor, and WaveMaker. Ace’s site also shows off some of the other big players that use it on their sites. AWS, Khan Academy, Codecademy, and Chrome Dev Editor are just some of the big hitters.

Features fit for a queen:

  • Fully customizable key bindings (with vim and Emacs mode included)
  • Auto indent and outdent
  • Syntax highlighting for 120 languages and includes import support for more
  • Hidden character display
  • Text drag and drop
  • Line wrapping
  • Cut, copy, paste with ease
  • Customizable font size and cursor style
  • Soft tabs and real tabs
  • Search and replace with regular expressions
  • Code folding
  • Optional command line
  • Live syntax checker for JavaScript, CoffeeScript, CSS, and XQuery
  • Open-source under the BSD license with an active community!

Testing it out

The live demo will show you how it’s done and what the wide array of features are.

Explore a host of customized options, document in dozens of languages, and try on the different themes. (Personally, I’m a fan of the Dracula theme. But there’s always Green on Black for when you’re feeling a bit Matrix-y.)

code editor

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If none of these appeal to you, Ace also supports importing custom themes. I cannot stop you from coding in magenta text on a red background, if that’s what you truly want.

Too many options? Here’s the simple demo.

Do you really need all of the options packaged into Ace? You might not. If that’s the case then maybe a simpler code editor that’s easier to set up is the one for you. For example, Code Mirror is a lightweight web IDE built in JavaScript. You don’t get quite as much bang as you do in Ace, but there is still a handful of features and out of the box support for over 100 languages.

However, if you are all about features, then Ace has you covered.

Have you used Ace? Is it your top code editor of choice, or do you have another favorite in your arsenal? Share with us what you think!

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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2 years ago

JAVA mode is not working in ace editor. Its checking javascript at compile time. Is JAVA support is available in ace editor.