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Bespin Revamp is Thriving

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Bespin Revamp is Thriving

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The Bespin project at Mozilla Labs was unveiled in February 2009 by Ben Galbraith and Dion Almear.  The two creators of the project left for Palm in September of that year and that's when Mozilla decided to give the project a reboot.  Bespin is a "Code in the Cloud" IDE made with HTML5 technology.  The developers at Mozilla recently delivered the next version of the web-based framework in an alpha release.  Codenamed "Ash", the release of Bespin Embedded 0.6 includes new build tooling, a broader plugin architecture, and a revamped editor.

For everything: a Plugin

Mozilla says they are reaching the point where only SproutCore and the plugin system itself will not be contained in Bespin plugins.  The rewritten editor now lives in its own plugin, which will allow users to extend the editor to do more of what they want.  Having the editor in a plugin will also help Bespin developers that start using the IDE to develop the project itself.  This will give them the ability to see the changes they make right away.

Editor Reborn
The Bespin editor has been reconfigured into several SproutCore components.  Objects in the editor, like scrollbars, now reside on separate canvases.  It has also gotten a proper MVC design, which allows more extensibility.  The international keyboard input has been improved as well.

In Command

Before the reboot, Bespin had an unclear boundary between actions and commands.  Bespin 0.6 cleaned up this issue by only having commands.  For example, if you press the down arrow in the command line, it's the same as typing the "moveDown" command.  Like almost everything else in Bespin, commands been added through the plugin system.  

Here is the command line that Mozilla says is not quite ready to make an appearance in the Embedded editors:

Two Packages, Plus dryice
Bespin 0.6 Embedded has two different packages to download.  First, the Drop In version just comes with the JavaScript and CSS files ready to drop into your page.  The new package is the Customizable version, which includes source files for all of Bespin along with snapshots for SproutCore, the Closure Compiler, and the YUI Compressor.  This package also comes with the newly added, Python-based dryice build tool.  This tool helps users make changes to the editor without having to touch the Bespin source code.
Tri-licensing and More !nvolvement

Originally under just the Mozilla Public License, the Bespin team has now gotten permission to add the GPL and LGPL so developers can choose whatever license they prefer.  Bespin has also changed its tooling so that developers using pre-reboot tools can still contribute to the project.  At this point, project developers say that you could even start making custom plugins.

The Bespin team wants to make their IDE into the kind of editor that people will want to use on a daily basis.  Bespin encourages a highly shared environment where data can be accessed from any machine through a web browser, regardless of location.  Bespin is free to anyone who registers on the Mozilla website.  Bespin currently supports syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, PHP, Python, C#, C, Ruby, Arduino and JavaScript.

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