Guest Post by Mike Eaton

If there was anything I could honestly say I truly missed from my days of building Microsoft solutions, it was Visual Studio.  From the early days of annoying floating windows to the introduction of .NET and dock-ability, there was always something new to find traversing the endless menus.  

I remember anxiously awaiting the next release to find out what new, shiny gem Santa Bill brought us this year. Oh, and the buffet of 3rd party controls available? Each partner trying to one up the other until we practically begged them to put all of their savory widgets into a single suite.  

Fond memories indeed.

Alas, when I made the career switch to Salesforce.com solutions you can imagine my horror at having to go back to a text editor!

I was nearly inconsolable. How could this be, I demanded?  So much promise in the cloud yet so few tools.  It was a dark and gloomy time for sure.  

As the years went by I thought I would never be that happy again. Sure the addition of the Force.com IDE plugin for Eclipse was a vast improvement, but a poor substitute for my old IDE flame.  Oh how I miss thee…

But what’s this on the horizon?  Is that a silver lining I see!?  Well, you may have heard that Salesforce.com has been hard at work on a new Tooling API for Force.com.  This is what the relatively young, native Developer Console leverages. 

Side note - the Developer Console is a little too cramped for my tastes! 

Dreamforce 2012 had its share of exciting keynotes and product announcements to be sure, but what really caught my eye was a couple of 3rd party developer IDEs!  BrainEngine and Cloud9 are offering shiny, new alternatives to the Force.com IDE, Developer Console or text editor you have been using. Both are building on the promise of this new Tooling API.  As of this writing, they are both still in beta.  Be sure to visit their sites for a closer look!

Brain Engine

BrainEngine, Studio 4 represents the next generation in Force.com development.  With BrainEngine, developers and administrators now have a comprehensive environment that makes it easier to design, develop, deploy and maintain Force.com applications.

Cloud9

Cloud9 has gone back to the drawing board.  With real-time collaboration, a local client with offline sync, and the raw power of per-project workspaces, Cloud9 is a revolutionary new direction for development.  Cloud9 is a leading cloud-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE).


I'm so excited, I feel like a little kid at Christmas time!  In the coming weeks, John and I will be reviewing these IDEs, comparing notes and sharing our findings right here.  But in the meantime, try them out for yourself and check back soon.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts as well!