ChromeOS – But it’s just a browser..

“But it’s just a browser” is something that most people say when they hear of the Google operating system. I’ve been using a Chromebook since Samsung released the Samsung Chromebook. My old Acer laptop died a death and I needed something quickly which wasn’t going to cost me a bomb. So a Chrome OS based laptop seemed like a good idea.


Chromebooks are generally marketed at people who use the devices as browsers. Maybe you want to take a look at Facebook, listen to tracks on Spotify or search for something you’re interested in. But the longer I used Chrome OS, the more I realised the potential of what it could be. It’s not just a browser. It’s not just something to use for social networking. It can be used for a lot more and has the potential to change the way people use desktop and laptop devices in years to come.


I started learning front end web development and web design a few months ago. I needed to find an IDE which would support me on Chrome OS and what I found were massively powerful environments which rendered my need to use anything desktop based obsolete. Almost. We’re starting to see more and more applications being powered in the cloud and this has huge advantages in an IDE. Codio is my most recent discovery. Codio is in its beta stage and it doesn’t just support HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript. Languages and databases it supports include:


Languages: C, Node, Ruby, Python, PHP (and Composer), Go, Haskell, Java, Lua, Pascal, Rust, Scala

Databases: MongoDB, MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, Postgresql, SQLite3, Redis, Memcached


This is fantastic and provides a seriously powerful application that you can do just about anything you need with it. This isn’t the only web based IDE available. You can also check out Codenvy, Cloud 9 and a whole heap of others. The Google App store gives a fantastic list under development tools that can give you a great experience.


This of course can be used by anyone with a Chrome browser, not just someone with a Chrome OS device – however, you’re only paying a fraction of the price for a Chromebook, Chromebox or a Chromebase. It is most certainly worth it if you are a front or back end developer.


One drawback for me though is in design. The best software I can find for design has been Pixlr Editor. Pixlr is great for what it is, but it’s lacking some simple features.. even a ruler would be nice. This makes it a bit of a hassle creating a mock-up design before bringing it in to front end. I am however convinced that this will improve with time and maybe even companies like Adobe will provide applications (at a subscription I would assume) for developers and designers running a Chrome OS system. Until that day though, I am going to have to take a look at my options on a Windows or Mac system.


I’ll conclude with this. Chrome OS is in its infancy and has already made a big dent into the market. When Google released the Pixel, it showed other manufacturers what COULD be the future. Some companies like HP have taken this idea and provided the HP Chromebook 14 which is an awesome system with an awesome display. I believe within the next 5 years a MASSIVE amount of software providers will realise that internet speeds have increased so dramatically that they can provide great cloud based software. I believe that the future is on the cloud and while I love Chrome OS, I know it’s not quite there yet – but it will be.


Time for a change.

When I was a kid, I built websites. Mainly websites for my bands, a wrestling e-fed I used to run (I forgot about that) and another for a digital label I used to run. But then I stopped.

I had no formal IT qualifications – mainly because when I went to school, studying was the last thing on my mind, but I always knew what I was doing… or could at least bluff it.

After being a personal triner for a few years and my current stint in the Civil Service.. which is more boring than you can possibly imagine, I have started some courses with Codecademy and Treehouse for web design and front end web development.  Because I knew the basics of HTML when I was younger, the first couple of weeks had been a refresher on what I knew already, but jesus these websites are phenomenal.  Codecademy is free and Treehouse is $25 per month, but well worth it.

So begins my own self taught education into the web. I’ve been learning for a month or so and its been awesome. Lets see if I can make a career change!