Another incredible benefit to developing with open web standards is Brackets has the potential to run nearly everywhere. While we’re focused on the desktop first, we hope to supplement that version with a version of Brackets that can run exclusively in your browser. We also have a few ideas about how Brackets might be able to turn your tablet into your development environment. Brackets could also be embedded in your existing web applications. With a little help, all these versions could be developed in parallel. The possibilities are wide open.
In addition to how it’s being built, Brackets has a few ideas that make it special:
The Brackets team isn’t down with floating panels, cluttered toolbars and other distractions. We want to keep it simple yet productive. We strongly believe it should just be you and your code and one of the way Brackets maintains its minimal design is through a new idea called Quick Edit.
Of course, we aren’t just limited to using Quick Edit for coding functions. In the future, Quick Edit can also be used to display visual tools inline like a color picker, gradient designer or even just related documentation. Because Quick Edit isn’t a floating panel, it never obscures your code which makes it moar awesome. Want to try your hand at building an inline tool? There are already plenty of open source extensions to learn from.
Another core philosophy behind Brackets is that code should live in your editor but run in the browser.
Today we’ve all gotten used to doing the save-reload-copy-paste dance. In a generic text editor, you’re likely saving your code, switching to your favorite browser and hitting refresh. While your code is running you likely leverage in-browser tools to debug the application or tweak the design. You make several changes to get everything the way you want and then you have the epic chore of copying and pasting all those changes back to your editor. We call shenanigans.
Brackets opens a live connection to your local browser and brings some of those in-browser tools back into the editor where it makes sense. When Live File Preview is enabled your browser shows real-time changes to CSS classes and properties as you type. Because the code lives in your editor but runs in your browser there is no need to save-reload-copy-paste. w00t!
We need your help. There is a lot of work to do before Brackets is ready to be your favorite code editor. We want Brackets to be a truly open project, so we decided to develop Brackets in the open as soon as possible. So on May 1 we opened up our github repositories and started taking pull requests from the general community. We also posted our entire backlog of ideas and future features on Trello.
If you look through our issues in github, you might notice a tag labeled “starter bug“. These are smaller issues that the team thinks will make a good introduction to working with and contributing to the Brackets codebase. If you are feeling a bit bolder and want to take on a larger task, you will find a “starter feature” label in our backlog. These are smaller features that are great for new Brackets developers who are still learning the code. We think that everyone can and should contribute to open source projects, so we’re lowering as many barriers as possible.
Not all ideas makes sense to be added to the core codebase and for that reason, we’ve spent the past several sprints refining an extensibility API. Our growing community has already created several open source extensions ranging from inline MDN documentation (Pamela Fox) to JSHint and CSSLint integration (Ray Camden) to snippet support (John Rowny). We on the Brackets team are implementing several features like Quick Edit as extensions to keep the project modular.
As I mentioned above, we really need your help to make Brackets awesome. We hope that ideas like Quick Edit and Live File Preview help plant a seed for new ideas of your own. We invite you to start hacking away, join our developer mailing list and hang out with us on IRC (#brackets on freenode).
There is a lot to cover here with a single blog post, so expect to hear a lot more from us. In the meantime, you can browse the growing project documentation on our wiki, follow us on Twitter or watch videos from our first hackathon.
If you are at Google IO this Wednesday, be sure to stop by and meet the team. We will be in the Chrome Developer Sandbox.
Brackets Product Manager