Developers, especially full-stack developers, go through the IDE hell of installing multiple IDEs suitable for different programming languages/platforms, keeping them up to date, switching between them, or killing one to open another as it may slow down their machine. To their rescue, Google has launched its new experiment – ‘Project IDX.’
What is Project IDX?
Web is the way!
Like most of today’s SASS platforms, Project IDX is cloud-first and accessible through the browser, enabling developers to code on any device, anytime, anywhere, eliminating the need for a local setup tied to a device. Developers can start coding by checking out new and existing GitHub repositories. Readymade project templates across various frameworks are also available to jump-start development.
How is it built?
Instead of developing Project IDX from scratch, Google built it on top of Code OSS, an open-source code editor developed by Microsoft. Code OSS is the core engine of Visual Studio Code, one of the most used IDEs in the past years. Hence it would be easier for the developers to get familiar with the workspace with a shallow learning curve.
The AI Touch
In the present realm of technology, it is rare to find any new software without AI integration. AI-powered coding is not something new. GitHub Copilot and Amazon CodeWhisperer are already in the race to make developers’ lives easier with AI assistance. Google joins them by empowering Project IDX with Codey, an AI model built on the large language model PaLM 2. Project IDX can help with code generation, smart code completion, and explaining a piece of code.
What You Code Is What You See
Project IDX has a built-in simulator for web applications helping the developers to preview and fine-tune their app across different form factors. An Android emulator and an embedded iOS simulator accessible through a browser are coming soon to Project IDX.
What does it mean for Organizations?
Project IDX might help tech organizations eliminate the process of purchasing and distributing IDEs suitable for different platforms. However, there are a lot of unknowns about how Project IDX manages the privacy and security aspects of code repositories when accessed through browsers. For example, browser extensions can read through the page content and extract data. Such scenarios might result in the leakage of proprietary code. Hence, organizations may have to shift their focus to securing content from browser extensions.
Project IDX is in its early stages and is available as a limited preview. Developers can join the waitlist to try it out. Google is giving access to a broad audience to enhance IDX incrementally with developer feedback. Developers and tech organizations should wait and see how capable and seamless IDX can be. Will have to wait and see whether IDX can outrun the popular IDEs currently available.