A bit of bad news: After seven years, Google is shuttering its Atlanta engineering offices, and with it goes the projects that the developers in residence were working on. But out of the ashes of Google Atlanta comes the release of Collide, a collaborative browser-based IDE, as a reference implementation to the open source community.
Collide – named from the contraction of “collaborative IDE” – represents the liberation of at least some of Google Atlanta’s efforts, reported Googler Scott Blum on his Google+ page last week (Incidentally, today is apparently Blum’s last day with the search giant before moving on to greener pastures).
The collaborative coding aspect (featuring real-time text editing) is at least superficially similar to the not-much-missed Google Wave, but Blum and other Googlers say that Collide represents a largely original implementation, apart from the usage of few basic Wave libraries for things like keyboard input events.
Web-based IDEs are nothing new. Cloud9‘s been doing it for a little while now, for example. But while Googler Jaime Yap confirms that Collide started as Google’s foray into the hosted, cloud-based IDE market, what actually made it out the door as open source is more of a kernel from which to leverage collaboration and really innovate in the space.
As Yap wrote:
“There are some pretty gnarly ideas around code review and version control workflows floating around (not enabled) in some of the client code in Collide that we hope will see the light of day soon. There are some pretty crazy things you can do with a hosted development environment .”
The downside to the project’s state as a high-level technology demo is that it doesn’t have user access controls enabled, so you probably don’t want to work on anything especially critical with Collide right out of the box.
In the meanwhile, Yap says that most of the displaced Google Atlanta engineers are taking up the stewardship of Collide as a hobby project. While Collide itself may not be competing in that hosted development environment market, it’s a sure bet that we’re going to be seeing the collaboration that Collide enables make its way into commercial offerings sooner rather than later.