Why isn’t browser based programming or browser based IDEs more popular?

My Quora answer :

Basically because most programmers use a bunch of other tools that are local, on their hard disk. These include compilers, libraries, source control, unit-testing frameworks, CI/CD pipelines etc. etc.

And browsers, because of their security model, are really bad at talking to the local disk.

So, if you want to use a browser-based / web-IDE all your other tools and resources have to be in the cloud too.

And the problem with that is you can’t mix and match your own custom configuration of those resources. You are basically stuck with the ones that your cloud IDE offers. Obviously most cloud IDEs are for-profit companies, and few of them have the resources to replicate the best of breed other tools you are using. Or to successfully integrate all the possible third-party options within their cloud.

So … cloud development IDEs should be a really obvious and cool win.

But … they aren’t because of the problem of bridging the cloud and the local disk.

I often wonder why browser makers haven’t solved this problem. Eg. why not have a special “mode” – just like “incognito mode” is a special mode – that allows web-applications to actually read and write to the disk just as native apps do. Of course it would need some extra security etc. But if they had it, we could do wonderful applications in the browser to compete with everything on the local file system. Including fantastic IDEs.

But until we bridge the cloud-local gap, web IDEs are stuck with whatever resources the cloud offers but also the downsides of latency, limited tools, less control and flexibility for the users etc.

Source: Why isn’t browser based programming or browser based IDEs more popular? Why do you not like or use one? – Quora

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