Sunday, July 21, 2013

Developing Sproutcore apps on c9.io

The Cloud9 online IDE running on Chrome/Mac.
Today I was looking for a way to quickly edit a pull request to the Sproutcore project without booting up my laptop, but using the MacMini in the living room instead, which is always on, being our main entertainment system.

Turns out it's quite easy if you do not mind signing in into another online service: the Cloud9 online IDE.

Cloud9 can sign you in with your GitHub credentials, so I signed in, selected my sproutcore fork from the project list, cloned it and, presto, I was ready to do some programming.

In addition to loading a complete web-based IDE, Cloud9 also boots up a virtual machine from RedHat's PAAS OpenShift to host a very cool web-based command line. The CLI can be used to run git commands but can also be used to run (almost) any command you like.

The virtual machines for free accounts are automatically suspended when not used for more than 15 days, which means that the next time you sign in you will still find your environment, but you also will have to wait a little while the VM wakes up again. Paid accounts VMs are never suspended and are always running.

Anyways, going back to my pull request, I quickly added a unit test for the new behavior. I also wanted to try and run the unit test, but as you might know, to run any Sproutcore app in development you first have to launch their Ruby-based server which takes care of assembling the app, delivering it to the browser and also proxying requests to any remote backends.

To run the server, which is called sc-server btw, you first have to install the ruby gem called sproutcore.
So on the command line I typed the following commands:

# ruby -v
ruby 1.9.3p448 (2013-06-27) [x86_64-linux]  

to check the ruby version. Sproutcore requires 1.9.x, so we are good to go. Then simply:

gem install sproutcore
sc-server --host $IP --port $PORT --allow-from-ips='*.*.*.*'

to install the gem and its dependencies and the run the server.
The HOST and IP variables are set for you by C9 especially for the purpose of running network daemons (like a database, a node server, etc) that can be accessed externally.

After sc-server has started, to access the Sproutcore server you simply have to point your browser to:

http://workspace.username.c9.io/

which in may case was:

http://sproutcore.unicolet.c9.io/

Happy hacking!