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Shannon Reca
Shannon Reca

Posted on • Updated on

Why Use A Self-Hosted Code Editor

Original Post

Full disclosure, this is a post specific to my code editor that I have launched, called BKDR. It's completely free and available for download. If you know of another, by all means use what you're comfortable with.


So why use a self-hosted code editor. First, for those who may not have used one, or heard of services such as CodeAnywhere, Cloud9, Koding, etc., what is it exactly ?

Basically, it's your code editor within a browser. What is interesting is that popular code editors such as VS Code or Atom are built with web technologies such as JavaScript and packaged as a native app. So the experience is not far off from what you're use to on your local environment. The difference is you're now opening your browser to code.

Self-Hosted vs Cloud Services

Cloud services have revolutionized the online development industry, allowing developers and companies to speed up the development process, and taking most of the burden off their shoulders.

However, cloud services aren't for everyone. Although they provide a great deal of value for developers, and are backed by funding or other corporate entities, there are a few use cases where you may prefer you own self-hosted code editor.

Privacy

Look, lets be clear. For these cloud services to work with your other servers or client's servers, you need to store these credentials somewhere. Cloud services are usually big targets for data breaches. The more sensitive information you put on those servers, the more you're trusting your data is safe there.

I'm not declaring my code editor to be the most top flight secured ever. What I am saying is decentralizing all your projects to their own server, whether a client or your own project, prevents further damage if there is a breach on one particular site. Having a light weight code editor on each site that's installed with a simple FTP upload and a config file is quick and easy.

Freelancers & Small Agencies

If you're a freelancer or a small agency just getting off the ground, you probably have several WordPress clients. How many times have you needed to do a few simple PHP edits to a plugin or theme? How many times have you been contacted while on the road for an urgent update? Having a code editor on that site may save you a lot of time and energy. It's similar to having access to the WP admin. You sign-in, make your changes, save, and you're done.

Extensions

BKDR is built with the ability to add extensions. Although the API docs are still in the works, I’m predicting this will be a huge game changer on your development process.

Lets say you have a particular project that has a specific update workflow, or maybe you need a tailored made validation process. You can possibly make a custom extension just for that project. More so, you can share that extension with other developers for their own self-hosted sites. BKDR's extension API, when completed, will allow access to several built-in functionality that can further your development. Do any of the cloud services allow you to add on your own custom extension for their editor? Please share if they do.

Whatever Works Best

In the end, I'm not saying ditch your cloud service account. I'm simply advocating the use of a self-hosted code editor for developers who thinks it makes sense for their situation, and if so, you may want to try BKDR. It's very new, and I'm looking to continually releasing updates with new features. I welcome and greatly appreciate any feedback.

UPDATE - 1/16/18

I've decided to open source BKDR with hopes that it'll continue to grow into something bigger than what I had envisioned. Hopefully it's enough of a foundation to take it to the next level. You can download BKDR's latest release, or check out the development repo. I'll be updating the repo with more information soon. Enjoy!

Discussion (9)

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Brett Stevenson

You brought up some interesting points, and when I really think about it, many of the reasons that I prefer using a code editor that is packaged as a native app over a self-hosted code editor are presumably based more on perception than reality.
I'll give it a try over the next couple days and see if I can be converted.

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Shannon Reca Author

Thanks Brett! Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. I like to think of it as another tool in the toolbox. You use it when it's the best solution for your problem. BKDR isn't meant to replace your native editor, but there are plenty of use cases where it'll come in very handy and makes perfect sense. At least I'd like to think so. :D

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Leah

For self hosting, but not open source :/

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Shannon Reca Author

It's now open source, check it out.

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Shannon Reca Author • Edited on

Currently no, but it’s not off the table :). I’ll see how things play out.

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Paweł Kowalski

Ads like that will kill every community. Just saying.

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pentacular profile image
pentacular • Edited on

If only there were a link to a self-hosted demo on the BKDR link ... :)

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Shannon Reca Author

I'll post one up soon.