The new Codenvy is a game changer and everybody benefits


Twenty months ago we spun off one of our eXo projects into a new company, Codenvy, and raised $9 million to launch it.

It was one of the best decisions we ever made: it gave the project the capital, resources, and focus it needed to fulfil the vision’s potential.

After more than two years of development involving 50 developers, Codenvy reloaded three weeks ago.

And it has been three amazing weeks, with some huge news:

Codenvy allows any developer to code, build, debug, run, and share any application on top of any software stack that runs in Docker, all from the browser without downloading anything on the desktop.

This is a total game changer, and will have a deep impact in the software industry:

  • It will change the way developers discover and learn new technologies.
  • It will change the way software vendors promote APIs and SDKs.
  • It will change the way cloud development environments are managed by DevOps.
  • It will change the way developers collaborate while building apps.
  • It will change the way developers exchange with QA teams.
  • It will change the way support teams interact with their customers.
  • It will change the way Open Source projects manage their communities.

In other words, it will make it simpler and faster to create an app, then run and maintain it.

At eXo we plan to use Codenvy for several purposes. One is to easily onboard new developers to our Open Source Enterprise Social Collaboration Platform, in order to get even more contributors. The goal is almost the same as what we did to enable product translations from the community: provide a tool that will make the learning curve faster and the work much simpler.

To do so, we decided to leverage the Codenvy Factory concept within our add-on marketplace. The idea is simple: for each add-on, the developer can view the code and then modify it, build it, debug it, and run it with a click and without installing anything. This goes much further than just packaging the add-ons as Docker images!

The eXo Chat app, one of the most advanced add-ons, is a good example as it requires that a MongoDB server also be installed. The add-on itself is structured as a Maven multi project—the source code can be found on GitHub. For more info on this add-on you can also look at this previous blog post.

In the screenshot below, you can see the new button “Code & Run.”


When you click on the “Code & Run” button, it will open the Codenvy editor in a new browser tab. What it does behind the scenes is simply magical: it clones the Git repo, loads the Docker file, injects some Maven repository information into the pom.xml, resolves the library dependencies thanks to a Maven build, loads the welcome panel, and configures the infrastructure, including the RAM needed to launch eXo and MongoDB. In other words, we have encoded an entire eXo development environment in a single URL!
You can try it yourself, using this Codenvy Factory link:


When you click on the run icon, the code of the add-on will be copied into a Docker image that includes eXo Platform. It will install MongoDB, the chat app using eXo add-on manager, and will then start eXo!


Now wait until the runner displays a link, then click on it:


In less than five minutes, a newcomer can see the add-on code, then modify it, build it, and run it. This is a huge step forward when onboarding new contributors!
We’ve created another much simpler Codenvy factory to showcase an empty extension that can be used as a starting point to create new eXo add-ons. On the Home page of the add-ons center you can see the button “Code New Add-on,” as shown below.


What happens is very similar to the previous Chat example. This is ideal for bootstrapping the development of a new add-on without the burden of setting up an entire environment.


By making it simple to translate the product, we’ve already onboarded more than 220 contributors who translated the platform into 23 languages, a world record for a social platform.

By making it simple to contribute new add-ons, we’ve given a powerful tool to our 30,000 community members. We expect we’ll all be seeing some exciting new projects in the upcoming months!

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