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EtherCodes is an interesting code editor for real-time collaboration


Finally, someone has gone and done it: EtherCodes is a mashup of EtherPad and Skywriter (formerly known as Bespin). In simple terms, it's a collaborative, real-time, Web-based code editor, with syntax highlighting for C, C++, C#, Java, PHP, Python, JavaScript, Ruby (yay!), and HTML.

It's currently in alpha, but I've played around with it, and it feels quite solid. It really feels like a hybrid. The familiar EtherPad interface surrounds a text area that is actually Skywriter. And Skywriter has its own command line, which lets you do all sorts of things to your code (convert all tabs to spaces, for example).

You don't get code completion, though, which is a shame. Also, for some reason, EtherCodes won't play nice with Opera -- it wants you to use Firefox 3.5+, Chrome 2.0+, or Safari 4.0+. I'm not really sure why, because Opera has a blazing-fast JavaScript engine. But all in all, I really like this mashup. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, it takes two established technologies and pairs them elegantly.

The mind behind EtherCodes is Gary Yao, who co-authored CKEditor (a well-regarded Rich Text editor for Web applications). I can only hope that EtherCodes will have the same kind of success. It is a much needed product, indeed.

Tags: ckeditor, code, collaboration, ethercodes, ide, javascript, ruby