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This article was published on June 20, 2012

Code from an iPad? Cloud-based Action.IO wants to revolutionise the way developers work

Code from an iPad? Cloud-based Action.IO wants to revolutionise the way developers work
Jon Russell
Story by

Jon Russell

Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

Developers could soon be coding their projects from iPads and other lightweight devices if a new company launching today has its way. San Francisco-based Action.IO has introduced its fully cloud-based development system that takes all the ‘heavy loading’ behind coding and development, and puts it in the cloud.

The initial platform is available in private beta supporting Ruby on Rails, but plans are in place for the service to be extended to support Django, Node.js and Vanilla, among others.

It is inspired by a number of startups who already utilise cloud-based services to help developers manage environments with greater efficiency and teams collaborate remotely. Engineers at Facebook and Quora, for example, use internal web-based systems that allows developers to log-in remotely, with full transparency of all stacks and other work that colleagues are busy with.

Equally, new starters don’t require days of configuring and mountains of software updates before they are all set to begin coding as, using cloud-based systems, all that is required is the creation of a new account.

Action.IO proposes to take this ideology and bring it to other developers and firms, with additional functionality.

While cloud-based development systems are not entirely new, through firms like Cloud9, many are limited to writing code without being able to run it. Action.IO says it is taking the concept to the next level by allowing all code, testing and running to be done through the platform.

Furthermore Action.IO has plans to introduce an active sync feature that would allow developers to continue to use their preferred platforms and still use the service. So rather than being forced into adopting proprietary systems — as is the case at Quora, for example — they can keep on working with their chosen tools, with Action.IO simply syncing their work back to the cloud-based server.

“This is really cutting edge and the aim is to make actual hardware pretty trivial”, says Andrew Solimine, co-founder of Action.IO, who goes on to explain that, among its planned updates is support for thin-clients like the iPad and, essentially, any device with an Internet connection.

Initially, a web-system that provides a full Linux-system within a browser has launched but Solimine believes that there “is a huge amount of opportunity and a long list of things we can do and add to it.”

Just out of alpha testing, Action.IO will be free for ‘a limited time’ before a usage-based pricing system is introduced, based on metrics like RAM and bandwidth. There are also plans for monthly subscriptions for premium features like ‘Action Sync’ and support for databases like MongoHQ and Couchbase.

In the longer term, the Action.IO team is optimistic that it could partner with these, and other, third parties to offer a greater selection of add-ons to users.

The team behind Action.IO are also partners at Singapore-based Anideo — the development firm that created Flipboard-like video app Vidyou, formerly known as Denso — however they have set the company (and the bulk of its operations) up Stateside as it represents the ‘fat of the land’ for prospective customers.

A full-time team remains dedicated to developing Vidyou, but Solimine and partner Arun Thampi are now working full-time on Action.IO.

Thampi jokes that the aim is to develop Action.IO from within Action.IO, and it’s very clear that the duo — and third co-founder Pete Kim — believe that the cloud-based platform has huge potential for the global developer community.

Anideo is backed by billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin but Action.IO is not revealing the source of its funding just yet. The company is, however, hiring new staff to help expand its support and features as it looks to offer developers a revolutionary new approach.

We have a limited number of invites to the closed beta service, so if you’re curious about its potential, check out the video below and visit

➤ Action.IO

Image via Shutterstock / Vibrant Image Studio