Is Cloud9 being replaced with AWS Cloud 9?


#1

Hi,

I was a little surprised when I logged into my cloud9 account to find a massive AWS landing page. I found the existing user button, but it’s got me worried.

AWS is some scary scary stuff, I’m writing for education and we use Cloud9 because it’s simple interface makes student interactions amazingly easy.

So my question is; is Cloud9 going away in the form we’ve used so far? Does amazon expect people to sign up with AWS instead of cloud 9’s pre-existing interface? If it is going away, when is it going away?

The students we have, are honestly barely couping with the simplicity of Cloud9 in it’s previous form, if we are going to be looking at AWS cloud 9… well there’s just way too much scary stuff going on there.

Anyway if anyone can tell me if Cloud9 is going away, and if it is when I’d be grateful, as I’ll need to start looking for another service.


#2

Amazon have not made any announcements about discontinuing old Cloud9, only that they plan on providing tools in the future to help people migrate. That said, AWS doesn’t have to be scary - you should be able to replicate your current user list in IAM and give them all access to AWS Cloud9, and AWS Educate is Amazon’s programme for giving free access and education about how AWS works.

My advice would be to start testing out the new service, maybe with a few more eager students, because there are definite benefits to migrating (updated environment, integration with other tools that are used in industry, etc). But there’s no need to start jumping ship, no news means no shutdown :slight_smile:


#3

Thanks for the reply.

I’ve decided to abandon this service and use something else instead.

My students need consistency, large changes like this, uncertainty about the products future, and the demonstration that Amazon are willing to interfere with the system this much as ended my trust in the platform.

I need to be focused on teaching and material production, not the unnecessary testing and experimentation of a platform that worked perfectly well before.

Thanks, but Cloud9 is losing myself and my students over this. We shall not be returning.

I’m also abandoning Cloud9 for my private developments primarily because AWS is more interested in selling me AWS then the system I originally signed up for.


#4

@dcforeman, I’m a student who’s dealing with the same frustrations. Can you tell us what you chose instead? It’s been very difficult trying to find a suitable replacement.


#5

We’re going for brackets installed on desktop machines combined with firefox to execute javascript for the moment.

I’m in the process of developing my own solution using Codiad as the base. You basically just copy it onto a server, let them sign up as the account owner and it covers the basics they need; http://codiad.com/

Using these tools we can maintain the consistency that students need, rather than dealing with sudden changes that cloud based IDE’s like to pull on us.


#6

I’m of two minds on this.

On one hand, tech changes quickly. “Move fast & break things” isn’t the commandment it once was, but it still reigns.

On another hand, I think that tech companies really underestimate the challenges of expanding tech to audiences without a history or experience, or the daunting nature of what is presented to some. I could see how this switch could be demoralizing when it’s intended to be encouraging.

I haven’t reviewed the AWS Educate material as of yet, but I do hope that this thread as well as other feedback is kept in mind.


#7

I respect where you are coming from. Yes tech does move quickly, and while I create teaching material, I also develop real world products, though those products are educational in nature. I’m sure with a week or two I could understand the system, and as a developer to deployment solution AWS is fine.

However, teaching first time developers, or developers with limited experience the AWS system is far too jargon heavy, the interface is too complicated and honestly upon first glance it was all a little bewildering. That’s with years of experience behind me. So a novice is going to have a very hard time of it.

The pricing structure is too complicated as well, 750 hours compute time. I presume on a single core system that’s a month of constant running without any issues. But I’m not 100% sure. Then there’s storage costs. I think I get 5gb free, but again I’m not sure. I’m also not sure if that 5gb is for a single instance, or if I can create multiple instances and they all get 5gb free. There’s plenty of extra features that, I’m not ashamed I have no idea if I’d be charged or not, or even sure if they are needed.

AWS makes a lot of sense of large developments and deployments. It’s excellent at scaling, It’s a very good system, and the pricing is probably very reasonable.

However, that’s not what students need unless they are doing some very advanced coursework at a far higher level than I teach.

What I need as an educator, is a way to bring students into my class. A front end that isn’t going to blow their minds. No danger if them getting charged or their spaces being shut down because they don’t understand the limits of the system.

I chose cloud9 originally because as an educator I could add students to a team, easily manage them, and view their spaces with the minimum of effort. The IDE was excellent, it exposed them to a little Linux, while allowing me to focus on web technologies. It even had the ability to expand into python and other languages later on.

While the same functionality is still there and a lot more besides it demonstrates several key issues for me:

  1. I am not in control of how and when the IDE might change. Students, especially new ones to coding are extremely sensitive when videos and documentation doesn’t match what is on screen.

  2. Updating course ware that takes months to put together when changes do happen is slow, if the changes happen in the middle of a semester then there’s not a lot I can do about it.

  3. The system appears unpolished and confusing to even moderately technical people. Which means a steeper learning curve.

  4. AWS seems to have a clear focus on developers going to market, rather than developers learning.

  5. I’m in doubt as to how long the existing cloud9 system will be around, as I have a ton of existing written and video material for the product it vanishing would basically throw all that work out the window.

These are my thoughts. Cloud9 was almost ideal for education. But my feeling is that they aren’t really keeping that in mind as they move forward. So I’d rather bail out now while I’ve got some holiday time to invest in a different system, and get ahead of this thing. Rather than finding six months down the line that the key product my work relies upon has gone.


#9

Thank you all for your feedback, it’s really useful to us at this time :slightly_smiling_face: . I don’t have any specific details but just wanted to let you know that we are listening and taking your input on-board.

Thank you again for supporting Cloud9 and working with us to make it even better.


#10

This stock reply is not reassuring. It gives the impression that none of you have considered education’s needs before doing this. We just got slapped over, and now we’ve got to deal with the consciences. I’ve got a lot of students going through my course-ware, I also don’t have time to wait for Amazon to maybe, or maybe not do what they should have done in the first place. Protect the needs of your educational users, keep the IDE simple and powerful, so you end up with a bunch of students who can move on to AWS once trained to do so.

There is no logical learning to upgrade path for myself or the students. There’s just complicated, or complicated. No gradual steps.


#11

This is not exactly a solution, but there are companies who might be willing to support and/or create a product similar to c9 - specifically for education. It would take a few emails (or other communications), but it might be worth the effort.

And I would agree, the primary focus of Amazon AWS is not “education” - at least not the early stages of learning to code. If you were running educational programs for “Learn AWS Services” I’m sure having an easy to deploy c9 type environment would be exciting. But as you said, you are not.

Here are some alternatives to AWS - someone might be willing to provide support to the educational market (if for no other reason than for the PR) … it might worth tweeting at them (twitter account below)

Digital Ocean
HQ: NYC, NY
CEO: Ben Uretsky
Twitter:@ digitalocean

Rackspace
HQ: Windcrest, TX
CEO: Joe Easor
Twitter: @ rackspace

Linnode
HQ: Galloway, NJ
CEO: Christopher S. Aker
Twitter: @ linode

Those are some that have similar hosting setups. Big names such as IBM, Microsoft, Google also come to mind, each of those make significant investment either directly or via trust, into educational programs. I realize you’re not a crusade here - but thought I might provide an alternative.

One other alternative would be to reach out to one or both of the following:
Free Code Camp
Founder: Quincy Larson
Twitter: @ freecodecamp
Hacker Noon
Editor and Chief: David Smooke
Twitter:@ DavidSmooke


#12

You can still use your existing c9.io accounts as you have before, including inviting students on your education plan account.

I can’t offer specific details, but we are listening to your concerns regarding ease of use and the user interfaces in AWS, however for now I can point you to this in our announcement FAQ: We will release tools to aid migration of c9.io workspaces to AWS Cloud9.


#13

Original C9 had the attractive characteristics of reducing of some of the fuss and cognitive overhead of setting up and maintaining a development environment, with portability. But the AWS stuff adds more complexity back with intimidating interface and specialty jargon.

Hope the folks at C9 and AWS can pull this off.


#14

Also have a look at https://icecoder.net/ It maybe useful for your needs.


#15

I’m trying codenvy.io, the annoying thing is that it requires a manual request of whitelist to connect to hosting service as digitalocean, except that all good.
I think what disappoints people from c9 is their performance after Amazon acquisition, no news update, a kind of let it go attitude, I don’t think it’s original c9 team’s attitude, but a part of acquisition, all the peoples including c9 and users have no choice but accept that. Instead of expecting any change from aws/c9, more chance will be watching what google or MS’ answer to this.


#16

Asking companies to make an alternative education solution would be one way of doing it however here’s my concerns with that.

  1. Existing IDE’s simular to Cloud9 exist.
  2. They are all for profit, this means if Amazon/ google/ ms/ roll up with a big fat cheque that IDE goes away again.
  3. Existing IDE’s like to change update and basically make any education course-ware obsolete.
  4. Students can’t just sign up for free they need credit cards, this tends to happen with paid for solutions.

I’ve raised several issues, basically around the basis of “it’s not consistent, it’s not in our best interests, it’s not long term”.

What is my solution?

Open-source. It addresses several of the key issues I’ve raised.

  1. You can self deploy, integrate with common education solutions such as moodle so it is under your control.
  2. No one can buy it out.
  3. Community support would be about as good as we’ve had with Cloud9 to be honest.
  4. You can lock down the version you want simply by downloading that specific version. Meaning any updates made to course-ware are by your choice not because they’ve changed the live service.

I chose Cloud9 because I believed we’d get what we paid for. By that, I mean I had a full pro team account, not just an education account. That has turned out not to be true. When a platform becomes too successful it sells out.

Open source has it’s problems, but I think it has more to offer us at this point than yet another for profit company building something, only to abandon it when the right cash payout comes along.


#17

I’ve looked at that, it’s a “trusted user platform” this means that it doesn’t isolate spaces from other users on the system.


#18

Maybe this is an opportunity for the Cloud9 team to influence the AWS team IF Amazon will let them. You guys have a good eye for user experience. As @dcforeman mentioned, AWS is a complicated mess. There are hundreds of training courses out there to help the confused masses learn how to use it. And while this may make the few who have mastered AWS feel powerful, I see it as a failure of that system.


#19

I feel the same way. I teach at a community college and picked Cloud9 because it’s very accessible. I am not prepared to start teaching them how to deal with AWS before they are comfortable with basic programming.


#20

I tried it and it is not the same. You have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get it going a real pain and not like cloud 9 at all. Sad to see this go. There is always Codeanywhere https://codeanywhere.com/


#21

Gutted - and I mean really sad, Cloud9 has been amazing.

I deal with the mess that is Amazon on a daily basis and I will not be moving across to AWS.

Bye, bye (with a tear in my eye)