Numenera Character Generator and Developing In the Browser


3 minutes


So, today has some exciting things to wake up to! A couple of days ago I announced a little Numenera Character Generator I knocked up to the world. A few people commented on it positively but this morning I woke up to find it mentioned by Shanna Germaine on her G+ account and mentioned by the Numenera facebook page! It’s always exciting and humbling when the creators of the work that inspires you discovers your fan-work and promotes it.

However, this post isn’t just an exercise in ego-stroking, I thought it would be interesting to talk about how I developed it.

It all begins with laziness.

I happened to be booted into Windows on my laptop for playing games and I just couldn’t be arsed to

  1. Set up Windows as a development environment

  2. Reboot into my usual Linux environment

As a result, I had to find an alternate solution that required no effort on my part that would allow me to scratch the itch that had formed in my brain that demanded I make a character generator.

One of the projects I’ve used previously was Cloud9 IDE, so I jumped into that and started hacking away. This was fine for a while, but I later decided I wanted to put the whole thing it a github repository, so I logged into my github account, created a repo for it, then on the Cloud9 terminal, checked in and pushed the code. I then deleted and recreated the project in Cloud9 to work on a clone from my github repo. So far all of this was done in the browser - I had a nice, usable programmers IDE and a sweet Linux terminal without having to install or fiddle with anything!

Eventually I decided I didn’t want to host the application on Cloud9’s servers (I’m not even sure if that’s possible long term) so I instead installed a Chrome SSH client, logged into my server and checked out the code from github.

So far I’m very impressed with how easy it was to have an entirely browser- and cloud-based workflow and it makes me even more tempted to invest in something like a Chromebook in the future (the Chromebook Pixel looks particularly sexy). While this was only a simple web-app that doesn’t even have any server-side components, there are plenty of services out there that look really interesting and cover server-side stuff as well. The aforementioned Cloud9 supports deploying via various platforms and has tools for ruby, node, python and more. Another cool service I’ve been meaning to play with is Nitrous.io which looks like another class act.

Of course, all of this relies on me having an internet connection, which isn’t always the case, so I don’t think I’d ever truly want to be without the ability to just do things on my local machine. However, having the ability to just jump on any internet-connected computer and be in a position to actually get some work done is pretty cool.

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