Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coding in the Cloud... Linux Shell in a Web Browser

The last few weeks I've been exploring how to use an iPad, tablet or netbook to write programs in the cloud with just a Web browser connected to my Linux servers.

I've played with the recent Web based source code editors from Google (Code Mirror), Mozilla (SkyWriter), and Eclipse (Orion). They're OK, but a source code editor is just not enough for me...

I also need a browser-based Linux shell window. There's some good ones out there. I've tried Ajaxterm (a little slow and not all keys worked), Anyterm (keyboard issues as well), and finally settled for Shellinabox.

Shellinabox gets pretty close to a real xterm. I've been using it for two days for various tasks including coding (with vi). I like it a lot! and am starting to think that vi in a shell in shellinabox compares favorably to these new fancy Web based editors...

I've patched it to allow a shell to set the browser title using a VT escape sequence in an environment variable (PS1='\\033]0; [\W]\007\\w \$ ' for example), like people usually do with xterms. 

The patch is there on my Github account. I find it useful to help distinguish Shellinabox browser windows and tabs and see what directory they're in.

If I find time, I'll post the steps I'm using to configure Shellinabox, build it and connect to it through a secure HTTPD reverse proxy... later this week.

1 comment:

Philippe said...

You are always the great tinkering trailblazer. This is awesome JS!

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