Do You Think Chromebooks Have a Future with Your App Developers?

For individuals seeking a simpler and safer computing experience without the complexity and potential hazards of conventional operating systems like Windows, Chromebooks have proved to be a game-changer. ChromeOS forms the foundation of these devices and is generally accessed through web browsers rather than traditional methods.

The goal for ChromeOS was to offer a less complicated, more protected, and more efficient substitute to older options in the market. This strategy resonated well with the public, as Canalys reports a boost of around 275% in Chromebook shipments during Q1 of 2023. HP was the leader in this trend, having delivered approximately 4.5 million of these devices.

As more regions around the globe are impacted by the pandemic, it is projected that the demand for Chromebooks will continue to surge. This is largely due to their cost-effectiveness, ease of deployment, and user-friendly interface. This benefits companies by providing them with a highly functional solution that is also economical and hassle-free.

Do software developers recognise Chromebooks as a feasible option for customers facing difficulty installing conventional applications?

Supposing that…

Alright, let’s get down to business.

The emphasis is on Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).

It’s reasonable for the development team to have reservations about the restricted abilities of Chrome OS in terms of conventional software installation. However, there are a variety of web-based Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) that developers can leverage, which may provide the desired flexibility.

Your team of engineers can indeed utilise cloud-based IDEs.

Below is a brief list.

Virtual Version of Visual Studio Code Online

We are pleased to notify the development team that VS Code has a browser-based version (VS Code for the Web) that performs smoothly on Chromebooks. This is fantastic news, given that VS Code is one of the most widely used IDEs. Moreover, developers can benefit from the familiar capabilities of VS Code, including syntax highlight, extension support, integration with GitHub and Azure repositories, and local storage support via VS Code for the Web.

Visual Studio Code on the Web is available to any developer free of charge.

Google Apps Script

Our frontend teams can leverage Google Apps Script to produce automations, add-ons, custom functions, and chatbots, provided they are proficient in JavaScript. This Integrated Development Environment (IDE) gives the essential APIs to establish custom applications that can automate procedures across Google Workspace and third-party solutions. Quick Starts provide examples to help our developers initiate and begin promptly.

Utilising Google Apps Script will not incur any cost.

AWS Cloud9

Amazon acquired the well-known Cloud9 IDE in 2023 to fully incorporate it with AWS. This user-friendly UI enables developers to start quickly. When utilising AWS Cloud9, the development environment can be hosted on an Amazon EC2 instance or any other Linux server that supports SSH. Thanks to its web-based design, it is compatible with Chrome OS as well.

With AWS Cloud9, code-sharing and editing are made simple, featuring pre-installed SDKs, plugins, and libraries to facilitate trouble-free development, deployment, and debugging of serverless applications. Developers have the freedom to work with widely used programming languages such as JavaScript, Node.js, Python, Ruby, Go, and C++.

If you are already paying for an Amazon EC2 instance, AWS Cloud9 is provided at no additional expense.


CodeTasty is a cloud-based Integrated Development Environment that offers an assortment of features, such as real-time language tools, a robust in-built editor, simplified setup, and an extensive collection of downloadable extensions. It also offers advanced collaboration, revision control, terminal access, and desktop-like performance. Moreover, a Chrome extension is available for use by your team’s developers.

CodeTasty provides a free plan that allows you to start with 1 sandbox workspace, 2 SSH/FTP workspaces, 2 collaborators and terminal access. Furthermore, there are different options available at varying costs, from £4.00 up to £50.00 per month. Please refer to the cost/benefits table for more comprehensive information.

Linux: Once More, with Feeling

Google’s engineers have enabled the installation of Linux on a Chromebook without discarding ChromeOS. This feature is similar to Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem and enables users to install and run applications like Eclipse Java IDE, Flatpak, Bluefish, Geany and Gedit.

In contrast, the command line offers a more extensive range of possibilities. Those who are familiar with its usage can benefit from a wide variety of powerful tools, such as Git, a repository integration tool that can be installed. Additionally, developers can use Linux to execute Docker and manage containerised deployments.

Terms and Conditions

It may be tempting to buy low-powered Chromebooks to save money when providing your development team with equipment; nonetheless, it is crucial to remember that developers require powerful hardware. Consequently, it is recommended to invest in the best equipment available instead of opting for a cheaper alternative.

Furthermore, some steps have to be taken before Linux programs can obtain access to the local disk on a Chromebook. Although not a complex procedure, one more task needs to be accomplished before complete functionality can be achieved.

Final Thoughts

Chromebooks can be considered as a viable option for teams whose engineers can utilise a web-based Integrated Development Environment depending on their necessities. Chromebooks are notable for their user-friendly interface, swiftness, security, and cost-effectiveness.

Nevertheless, a Chromebook may not be an optimal choice for your teams if your developers require an Integrated Development Environment that isn’t accessible online or if they aren’t interested in using Linux on ChromeOS. Conducting a trial with only one or two developers may be valuable in determining whether there is a functional dynamic. The low cost of Chromebooks implies that substantial costs won’t be incurred, and if the trial proves successful, you may experience a profitable return on your investment.

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