@Sourcelair: My online #Python IDE

Python IDE

Sourcelair is an interesting case of a start up. First of all, it is close to my heart because their main goal is to help developers (like you and me) easily create their products from anything in the world with just an access to any modern browser. This is something that I like and support. Apart from their mission though, source lair is an interesting mixture of five guys with a shared dream that are friends and partners. Even though this seems almost trivial and must-to say, it is also true in their case. I have watched the guys grow from an early stage. When everything was just a cool idea that they wanted to try.
Now, they are so much more.
Sourcelair has been alive for five years, it supports thousands of developers, it has a competitive offer for developing online and they recently partnered with an important Greek fund from the Greek largest bank. They’ve officially closed a $250,000 round with the National Bank of Greece and they have more than 1,000 active users right now.
Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 17.08.41

Another Online IDE?

Editing code isn’t that hard. A terminal, a little Vim, a little PHP, some beer, and maybe a few Google searches and you’re off and running. But what if you want to work on a project without compromising your personal server or don’t really have an environment for coding? SourceLair is one answer that I recommend.

The freemium service lets you build projects right in your browser. It supports Python, Ruby, HTML5, JavaScript, PHP, and C++ and offers a Linux shell right in the browser. You can run things immediately and it supports Git and Mercurial. They also offer a nice brew install capability and also you can add a local PostgeSQL or MySQL instance.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.02.55 AM

The founders all went to the National Technical University of Athens and they’ve worked on a number of larger projects including dev positions at Warp.ly, ARM, and Niobium Labs.

SourceLair does not attempt to port existing solutions for creating software into the browser. SourceLair augments the existing development experience by integrating services like GitHub, JIRA, Heroku etc. into the main tool we use for coding, the IDE,” said Paris Kasidiaris, co-founder. “SourceLair started as an assignment inside the university. We loved writing code but we hated the fact that we had to install a huge bunch of software on our desktops, laptops etc. to get it working, so we thought that it would be awesome if we didn’t have to do all of these anymore and all we had to do is log into a website and get started in seconds.”

Some magic for workshops

One feature that I love and I wanted to mention here (I am not sure if it is yet publicly available), is the sourcelair blueprints.

Let’s imagine a simple scenario. You are organising a workshop, and you want people to quickly have the right environment to run the software that you are going to built on top of. Then you want to them to have the necessary software installed that they are about to use. Usually, (unfortunately this has happened many times to me as an attendee or an organiser) the organiser sends an email blast with the details, some installation guys or in the best of situations a virtualbox image of 8 GB.

That’s an overhead for anyone attending a workshop. Sourcelair solve this problem with just a url. The organiser creates a url of his custom environment with the necessary with it, and then sends it to all attendees .

Problem Solved!

Is it worth it?

Does it work? Sure. I was able to get an IDE up and running in a minute or two and it ran without a hitch. You can create one project for $5 and just $8 per month gets you 10 private projects. You have access to a full file system and you can store script in folders. Is it better than running your own Digital Ocean or AWS instance? Probably not, but for quick, one-off projects, it might make a lot of sense.

In my own experience it takes about an hour of apt-gets and downloads to set up a working IDE for a new platform. Anything that can help programming novices like me get to a command prompt and a public demo page is A++ in my book.