Mozilla Labs releases open web based code editor BespinNearly everything can be stored and accessed in the cloud. But until now, an HTML coding editor has not been on that list. In an effort to increase the use of open web technology, Mozilla Labs, innovators of a variety of web technologies, has released an open web HTML editor framework.

With a nerdy name straight from Star Wars, Bespin hopes to be a quick, collaborative, easy-to-use web based editing option for developers. The prototype released aims to allow for increased productivity and collaboration in a lightweight, fast, open source web-based framework for code editing.

Although, not a suitable alternative to code/visual based desktop applications like Adobe Dreamweaver, Bespin offers a flexible framework for developers looking for a different experience with coding.

Bespin HTML editor provides coding in the Cloud
Bespin HTML Editor Interface

Bespin Proposed Features and Plans

Built around Mozilla Labs own experiences and input from hundreds of developers, Bespin boasts a unique set of features and future plans. The application is entirely based on HTML 5 technology.

Bespin’s Initial Prototype Core Basic Editing Features

  • Syntax highlighting – This is just simple highlighting.
  • Large file sizes – You can save fairly large file sizes but no specific information could be located on actual size limits.
  • Undo/redo – It contains basic undo and redo features.
  • Previewing files in the browser – It offers easy previewing in the browser with just a click. Of course it only works on HTML 5 enabled browsers and has only been tested on FireFox 3.x and WebKit Nightly.
  • Importing/exporting projects – Easily import and export projects to and from your hard drive.

What Bespin Hopes to Offer Eventually

  • Simplicity – It has a clean interface that focuses on the coding (not excess fluff) to enable an ease-of-use necessary to coding programs.
  • Real-Time Collaboration – Allows for real-time collaboration between multiple people.
  • Fast Operating – Navigating, saving and editing all happen with speed. Upon testing the speed seems to be quicker than many desktop applications.
  • Open Accessibility – Bespin is accessible from anywhere.
  • Command-Line Integration – Plans for command-line integration are in the work similar to tools like vi and Emacs.

Aside from the above features and plans, Mozilla Labs has left the core code of Bespin open source and encourages developers to hack the core code as well as use the editor’s current features.

Mozilla’s main goal with Bespin at this point is to see what the public thinks and what the public wants. Check out the video for a great intro into Bespin.


Introducing Bespin from Dion Almaer on Vimeo.

Community Involvement Makes the Cloud Better

In Mozilla Labs blog post regarding the release there is a big push for community involvement. They have set up discussion groups and are encouraging people to assist in adding to the design, working with the source code, fixing bugs you know how to fix from the bug list or report bugs you find.

While not a replacement for those who desire a visual editor as well, Bespin offers simplicity and speed for the hard-core developer. Registration takes virtually no time at all and you can enter the application immediately. They even provide a couple of example documents to play with.