CodeSandbox: Online Code Editor with Bas Buursma and Ives van Hoorne

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Coding in the browser has been attempted several times in the last decade. Building a development environment in the browser has numerous technical challenges. How does the code execute safely? How do you fit all of the requirements of a development environment into a browser window? How do you get users to switch from their normal IDE (interactive development environment)?

CodeSandbox is an online code editor created by Ives van Hoorne and Bas Buursma. CodeSandbox allows users to program and run applications in the browser. It is a full developer platform that allows users the ability to install npm modules, run their code, and share their applications with other users.

The engineering problems within CodeSandbox are not easy–building a web-based IDE is complicated. But CodeSandbox is also an exciting project because it lowers the barrier to entry for many newer programmers. The development experience for a new programmer is still a difficult onramp.

If you are an experienced developer, you have a workflow that you are comfortable with. It might involve vim, or emacs, or JetBrains IDEs, or Eclipse. But newer developers can find these environments confusing and hard to get started with. The development environments of today are integrated with build tools, Github repositories, and deployment platforms. This can be overwhelming for a newer developer.

CodeSandbox is a very visual tool, which makes it especially useful for new developers who learn through seeing examples running live in the browser. CodeSandbox is also used by web developers who want a modern, shareable form of developing software.

Ives and Bas join the show to talk about the motivation for CodeSandbox and the engineering challenges they have solved.

Transcript

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