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Mozilla's Skywriter gets Ajax treatment, emerges as Ace

One-time Bespin walked into a bar...

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Mozilla has merged its gestating "coding in the cloud" Skywriter project with Ajax.org's Cloud9 IDE, a GPL-licensed open source service that is currently in beta.

Skywriter is a web-based code editor that started life as Bespin at the end of 2008. It was renamed in October last year, when Mozilla shifted its official repository to GitHub so that developers could more easily fork the project.

Despite the success of the project, which is effectively a new Add-on Builder for developers to code an extension for Firefox using common web technologies, Mozilla's Kevin Dangoor said the outfit had "decided to charge up" its "efforts in developer tools".

"We’ve got some large, ambitious goals and running a code hosting service has never really been a part of that. Further, a code editor is a much smaller part of the whole that we seek to build, making Mozilla Skywriter much less of a focus for us," he said.

Dangoor said some of the Mozilla team met with people working at Ajax.org and discovered that their Cloud9 editor, aka Ace, was the right fit for Skywriter.

"Unlike Skywriter, Ace uses the DOM to render instead of the <canvas> [HTML] element making it compatible with a wider range of browsers and potentially giving it a leg up in accessibility. Furthermore, Ace is the editor used in Ajax.org’s Cloud9 IDE, which brings the 'development in the cloud' idea forward."

Skywriter brings extensibility to the Ace table, Dangoor said. As part of the merger, Ajax.org agreed to relicence the entire Ace package under the tri-licence (MPL/LGPL/GPL) that already applies to Skywriter.

In so doing, Skywriter has now been replaced by Ace. Full details this way. ®

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