With Google deciding to shut down its Atlanta, Georgia Engineering offices, many of the employees are left disgruntled, much of the projects’ work being cancelled but there is one thing everyone is rejoicing about. One project or rather portions of it- Collide was liberated by the efforts of some employees who said it was their whole work of an year and now released as an open source project.
This new tool Collide that is derived from Collaborative IDE (Integrated development environment) is a browser based interface to programming practices. Similar to the Google docs, the project may allow multiple programmers to simultaneously work on a programming project. Right now it is not available as an online tool, but users can run it on their local computers.
Also, though the initial release is not so advanced in its approach but surely some exciting collaborative editing features have been integrated to make it worthwhile. The developers are of the opinion that with the Apache 2.0 release of the code, improvements will be made in the web based IDE in the future. Currently Vert X, Guava, Google Web Toolkit etc were used to make Collide.
The public code base can be found at code.google.com/p/collide and will need Java 7 and ant 1.8.4+ to contain all the dependencies. As seen on the project page, there are no built in binary downloads and the users will have to check out the projects from GIT repository. After building, it allows the user to go to a directory and run the server. This server will be then available for an authentication free log in for other users so that they can contribute to editing of the files in other directories. The interface includes a tree view and a breadcrumb navigation bar with features of syntax highlighting for programming languages.
The developers are hoping that the project can act as a catalyst in the development in the field of Web-based IDEs. Examples of some projects that can use such motivation are Cloud9 IDE, Adobe Systems’ Brackets etc.
The resources employed in the project were huge and many engineers worked hard on the project, but Google did not give any reason for the shutting down of the project besides the canning of the Atlanta office. And as we have seen in the recent past, Google has been on a drive of killing projects, this does not seem like an exception. But the project holds potential and if improvised by some independent open source efforts, it could be the next change in the web based collaborative environment.