We recently announced that we will be sunsetting the original Nitrous product in favor of our new Nitrous Pro offering.
We worked hard to ensure that Nitrous Pro has all of the great features you loved in the original Nitrous product, and we’ve added a ton of improvements. Below you’ll find most of the details you need regarding Nitrous Pro and the migration. If there’s something missing, please send us an email.
What are the biggest differences between Nitrous Pro and the original Nitrous (Nitrous Lite)?
Nitrous Pro is a completely new and separate platform that requires a new account login. The biggest difference is that Nitrous Pro runs on your own, dedicated cloud machine. This enables us to provide root access to all users, and also improves stability and performance across the board.
We’ve also made a ton of other improvements to the IDE, collaboration, as well as added first-class Docker integration for advanced users.
How long will I be able to access my old Nitrous account?
Your old Nitrous account will be accessible at https://lite.nitrous.io until we sunset the old product on July 1st, 2015. If you have files that you would like to move to Nitrous Pro, you can read about migration options here:
If you were using the original Nitrous (Nitrous Lite) for a workshop or class, please contact us and we will discuss migration options for your class and students.
Can I still sign up for a paid plan on the original Nitrous?
As of Wednesday April 22nd, you can only purchase paid plans on Nitrous Pro.
Will my account be converted to Pro automatically?
Your account will not be converted automatically. Nitrous Pro and Nitrous Lite (the original Nitrous) are completely separate products. You will need to create a new account for Nitrous Pro. If you are having trouble creating a new account or you are a paid user on Nitrous Lite, please send us an email.
Do I need to migrate my boxes to Nitrous Pro?
We provide all of the same starter templates on Nitrous Pro that we had on previous versions, so you are not required to migrate boxes. If you have some customizations that you would like to migrate, you can check out this help article with more details:
If you made specific customizations that you’re having difficulty getting up and running on Nitrous Pro, please contact us.
I'm an educator and you just borked my workflow! What do I do now?
We will continue to support educational organizations with Nitrous Pro and do have a free tier available, especially for qualified educational, not-for-profit organizations. Please contact us so we can set up your organization with the appropriate transition plan.
I’m a paid user on the original Nitrous (Nitrous Lite). How do I move to Nitrous Pro?
Individual pricing plans on Nitrous are currently $15, $30, and $65 for Basic, Standard, and Pro plans respectively.
In what ways did you improve the IDE?
We’ve added split pane editing, a more intuitive collaboration workflow, additional themes, better GitHub integration, and have generally streamlined the design to allow for more focus on your code. More details on Nitrous Pro features can be found here:
Providing dedicated cloud virtual machines to hundreds of thousands of developers while maintaining superior performance is a difficult technical problem. A minority of users also unfortunately don’t follow our terms of service, which makes providing an unlimited free tier a difficult task.
In an effort to maintain the best user experience for all of our users, the free workspace on Nitrous Pro is limited to 2 hours of usage per day, and then will automatically shut down. We also require free users to verify themselves with a mobile phone number, to restrict the amount of abuse on free accounts.
We’ve found the 2 hour limit is sufficient for a reasonable amount of usage and enables most developers to benefit from the system while still allowing us to provide the best experience possible.
If you are using Nitrous for more than 2 hours per day, we hope you consider a paid subscription with unlimited hours.
We believe the software development process is faster and more enjoyable when developers can easily connect and work together from anywhere in the world. We’ve been hard at work improving the everyday experience on the Nitrous platform. Today, we’re excited to share a new product we’re calling Nitrous Pro.
Each workspace on Nitrous Pro runs on its own dedicated virtual machine. Workspaces are more secure, and top-notch performance is guaranteed. Dedicated resources mean that our workspaces are also safely root-enabled, so you can install anything you need.
One of our early goals with the new product was to get to the point where we could build Nitrous Pro entirely on Nitrous Pro. We’re very proud to announce that the Nitrous team now fully develops Nitrous Pro inside the production website.
We think dogfooding is absolutely the best way to build the best products; so much so that we didn’t have to make it a company requirement -- everyone on our team gravitated to using Nitrous Pro naturally. This means you can expect an already great product to get even better, virtually every day.
A New, Powerful Cloud IDE
The Nitrous Pro IDE is faster, more functional and more beautiful than ever. Our new IDE includes seamless real-time collaboration, split pane editing, file watching, and multiple terminals. It’s incredibly easy to invite teammates to your workspace and start coding together in a fully-loaded development environment. You can give teammates access to your workspace, allowing collaboration whenever is best for them.
The new system is also fully compatible with Docker. This means users on Nitrous Pro can create development environments using thousands of readily available Docker images on Docker Hub. This topic deserves its own blog post -- we’ll be following up with more details about Docker and Nitrous Pro!
Transitioning to the new Nitrous Pro Platform
With the launch of Nitrous Pro, we will be phasing out support for the original Nitrous product on July 1st 2015. We are confident that you will find Nitrous Pro a better fit for your needs, as we’ve improved every aspect of the experience. There is a free tier available on Nitrous Pro that will allow you to utilize the platform up to 2 hours per day without paying or needing to add a credit card. You can read more about migrating your boxes to your new Nitrous Pro workspace here.
If you’re running a class or workshop using the original version of Nitrous, we’re happy to help you transition to the new system and work with you personally to leverage all the new benefits. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
We’re super proud of the new Nitrous Pro platform, and hope that the changes help you work better than ever before. We’d love to hear what you think!
Nitrous Releases Professional Software Development Platform
Pro Cloud-Based IDE Launches with Real-Time Collaboration, Root Access and Docker Integration
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (April 22, 2015) Nitrous today released Nitrous Pro, a cloud-based software development platform designed for professional software developers. Building on the tremendous success of its free version, the company has designed Nitrous Pro to meet the growing demand for powerful and secure software development environments that streamline sharing and collaboration.
As the only professional-grade cloud-based development environment platform, Nitrous Pro features full support for Docker images, desktop file system synchronization, full Linux shell environment, split pane editing, and real-time collaboration. Dedicated resources with root access make Nitrous Pro the most secure cloud-based development platform. Since 2013, over 200,000 people have registered and built applications using the first free version of Nitrous. Users included everyone from undergraduates learning to code, to professional developers at start-ups and consultancies, government and large enterprises.
Seamless real-time collaboration is a key feature of Nitrous Pro. Developers can invite anyone to their workspace and start coding together in a full development environment. Developers can also provide teammates temporary or permanent access to a workspace, enabling flexible collaboration.
“Collaboration is so central to the software development experience that developers go to great trouble to do this today. Nitrous Pro’s powerful cloud environments make sharing development environments a breeze. And this isn’t just techno-rhetoric: Every engineer on our team uses Nitrous Pro exclusively to build Nitrous Pro. This ‘dogfooding’ means that you can expect an already great product to get even better, virtually every day.”
— Andrew Solimine, co-founder of Nitrous.
“Highly distributed development teams are a challenge for large enterprises. Project teams with the right skills and access to the right tools and environments will span locations and timezones, complicating collaboration. Nitrous is built from ground up to solve collaborative development challenges, giving all developers access to the powerful tools and environments they need for picking up new skills, developing and testing, and enabling team members to work together real-time in the style of Google Docs or Etherpad. By allowing developers to share common templates for projects and environments, we can ensure teams are working with the same libraries, dependencies, and best practices, reducing integration risk, saving time and money,”
— Richard Tibbetts, former CTO at TIBCO Software (TIBCO Software is an investor in Nitrous).
Nitrous provides powerful, fast, preconfigured development environments in the cloud. Developers can create and start programming in a brand new PHP, Java, Node.JS, Python, Ruby or Go development environment - in a matter of seconds - from any modern browser or using their favorite desktop editors. Rich collaboration features enable developers worldwide to work together while using the individual tools they love combined with the convenience of cloud. Over 200,000 developers have created, used, and shared Nitrous development environments for professional, open-source, and personal projects. Sign up at www.nitrous.io. Learn about product updates and announcements via Twitter @nitrousio. Read more on our blog at blog.nitrous.io.
Hiring decisions are often the hardest ones a software company has to make. A pressure-filled 45-minute interview is often an insufficient assessment of a candidate’s true potential. The hiring process is further encumbered by the pervasive usage of whiteboard interviews for technical assessments. While the whiteboard is excellent for determining candidates’ knowledge on software architecture, it is limited when it comes to assessing their practical ability to write clean and elegant code.
Developers write code on the keyboard, yet they are more often than not denied this during interviews and forced into using the whiteboard - a very different medium from the one they code in. This interview format hasn’t been changed for years -- popular books like ‘Cracking the Coding Interview’ even emphasize to candidates the importance of practising writing code on a whiteboard or on paper. Put in such a foreign environment, there’s often a disparity between candidates’ performance using a whiteboard as compared to a familiar development environment.
Assess your Candidate's Coding Ability in Realtime
Nitrous.IO + tmux makes it possible for candidates to stick to tools they are most comfortable with - a terminal shell and IDE editor. This will result in a more accurate representation of a candidate’s true potential. Typically used for pair programming, Nitrous.IO in Collab Mode extends to interviews since interviewers can upload coding problems and view how the candidates solve them in realtime - Google-Docs style. Terminals can be shared using a tmux session that can be re-attached to and continued where they left off. Code written can be compiled, tested and subsequently saved for review by the relevant team a candidate is hoping to join. Instead of working through hypothetical situations, interviewers can see first-hand the exact workflow and problem-solving process candidates adopt when writing and executing real code.
Discuss Architecture using the Whiteboard
So, should interviewers continue to adopt the whiteboard method? Certainly, there ought to be a reason why leading tech companies have been using it for years. A valuable benefit is that a whiteboard is handy for candidates to conjure diagrams and data structures to simulate the thinking that goes behind it. Software architecture and principles can be better explained on a whiteboard than with a keyboard.
Best of Both
Ideally, interviewers should optimize their hiring process with these two complementary tools that assess different capabilities of a candidate. It makes perfect sense to discuss architecture using a whiteboard instead of a keyboard. At the same time, collaborative IDEs like Nitrous.IO can plug the gap where a whiteboard interview falls short by enabling the actual writing and testing of code.
For starters, hiring managers can begin by using Nitrous.IO’s collaborative editor as a form of live programming screening on top of phone screening. This helps them to decide which candidates to bring in for an in-person whiteboard/coding interview (saving costs), or even base their hiring decisions off that remote coding interview. What sets us apart from products dedicated entirely for coding interviews is our full-fledged web development environment that hobbyists and professionals alike use in their everyday development. Besides, you can already perform unlimited coding interviews with just a free plan on Nitrous.IO.
Many developers dreamt of turning their iPad into a full-fledged development machine. It’s the promise of freedom to work on the go and not being chained to a primary machine that’s too heavy to carry along. No doubt, coding on iPad has also been a facet of Nitrous.IO’s vision. Pete, our CTO, had always wanted to develop on his iPad before Bluetooth keyboards were even sold on the market.
While the iPad itself is still in its infancy as a dev machine, it is a viable option when coupled with cloud IDE platforms like Nitrous.IO. In a way, we have fast-forwarded into the future as our cloud IDE transforms iPads (and Chromebooks, for that matter) into powerful software development tools. This translates into workspace accessibility, as you can work across devices while using the same, consistent development environment, maintained in the cloud.
Benefits of Coding on iPad
Be that as it may, do note that Nitrous.IO’s support for iPad is still experimental i.e. things might still break. However, it is more than sufficient for small edits and bug fixes. Here are some of the benefits we find coding on iPad provides –
iPad is the ideal contingency plan while on vacation/on-the-go. Whenever you need to travel light or happen to be on the move, you can just take your iPad with you instead of a clunky laptop. The need to code on the fly can switch from non-existent to that of utmost immediacy in a matter of seconds whenever a complication arises. Make a quick code edit/bug fix regardless of where you are, without having to cut short your vacation plans.
No complicated setup required, just code from your browser for free. There are several paid iOS apps out there that allow coding on iPad. But with Nitrous.IO, no installation is required, just code off a box within your browser itself.
Consistent development environments regardless of your primary machine’s OS. Whether you are a Windows/Mac/Linux user, you can set up similar development environments in the cloud, without worrying about wrestling with different environments across devices.
Alright, that’s enough self-plugging. Here comes the trade-offs.
You can only use Editors with Console support in Nitrous.IO for iPad. This means that Nitrous.IO’s built-in File Directory and Editor won’t be available in iPad mode. But if Vim, Emacs and Nano happen to be your tools of choice, you’re in luck.
iPad’s native keyboard eats up much of your screen’s real estate. This can be an annoying hindrance especially if you code for longer lengths of time. That being said, it can be gotten used to if you’re just making a quick bug fix/code edit. A quick get-around is purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard or using the native virtual keyboard in split-pane mode. For your convenience, we built a Softkey panel with shortcuts for tab, ctrl, alt, esc and directional keys, which don’t appear on the virtual keyboard.
All things considered, if you think you can’t live with these shortcomings, there are great choices out there such as Textastic, Diet Coda, iOS Vim + Firebug Lite. Check out our tutorial post on using Diet Coda with Nitrous.IO. However, these options might be costly and take time to install and set up.
So, yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty great if you’re looking for a simple, fast and free solution to coding on iPad. Sign up for a free account and follow our iPad tutorial to experience the benefits of developing on iPad for yourself. Share with us your experiences, we’ll send you some swag (hoodie & stickers) if your story happens to be published on our blog!
Now the question is, whose iPad are you going to filch if you didn’t even bring that on vacation? And if you have children or teenagers, try not to start a family drama.
Pair Programming, an element of Extreme Programming, remains a controversial Agile Development practice that developers tend to love or loathe. Experiences vary drastically upon the various combinations of developer proficiency, personality and habits. For the uninitiated, pair programming can be described as something akin to continuous code review - the overarching theme is that an extra pair of eyes ensures improved software quality and fewer defects.
Pair programming isn't all pixie dust and fairy tales however. The additional set of eyes comes with an opportunity cost since developers spend on average 15% more time during the initial development phase. This additional time sink is likely due to differences in developer proficiencies and general working styles.
Incredible benefits, when done right
Although pair programming might not be the perfect solution for every team, the rewards are tremendous once you’ve found the right programming partner. The benefits of pair programming are numerous: A clean, well designed code base that facilitates maintainability, improved developer awareness of the code base, less time fixing bugs, as well as improved learning & communication. San Francisco’s Pivotal Labs and Toronto’s Xtreme Labs are successful examples of companies who have adopted and benefited from the pair programming methodology.
Collaborate in real-time using Nitrous.IO
Whether pair programming works for you or not, here’s how you can utilize Nitrous.IO to better your collaboration experience. Our real-time collaborative editor allows you and your colleagues to pair program in the cloud from anywhere. To pair program on Nitrous.IO, create a free account to begin if you haven’t got one. Next, simply follow the steps in this tutorial to kick start your pair programming experience.
You might have heard of the Hour of Code movement recently - it’s a one-hour introduction to computer science targeted at demystifying code and showing that anybody can learn programming. It has gained tremendous traction since its launch and has already attracted 97 million participants. The organization behind the movement, Code.org, won the support of politicians (President Obama), major tech companies (Apple, Google), educators and students, signifying their commitment to the vision of inspiring students to learn coding.
But what happens after an Hour of introduction to programming? How are students going to continue their coding education? Educators need to continually feed students’ interest and excitement around learning to code.
Typically, the introduction to coding begins with setting up the developer environment on the student’s local machine. This isn’t as simple as you’d think and many novice students find it a bewildering and confusing process, ending up doubting their own abilities just because of failure to get the environmental variables correct, needless to say this process is fraught with frustration and they lose excitement before they even are able to write their first line of code. The typical “learn to code process”, where educators and student have to get through the painful setup process, is built to fail.
Cloud-based software development
This is exactly how cloud-based web IDEs like Nitrous.IO help promote continuous learning. Nitrous.IO obviates the need to setup local development environments, leading to immense time savings that can be better spent on teaching and learning coding. Working with a cloud-based IDE allows students to start coding immediately within a web browser in the classroom, and then continue where they left off at home by signing into the same development box from their home computer.
Teachers are able to log into the students’ boxes from time to time to troubleshoot or make necessary edits to facilitate the students’ learning progress. Remote coding lessons are even made possible with our collaboration feature. Students can preview their app in the cloud instead of localhost and share their work with friends and families using a simple url link of the preview site - a little something to take home from the lesson.
To get started, simply create a free account - Nitrous.IO offers free accounts with basic functionality, you can upgrade your plan anytime along the way if you find that you need more speed and a faster box with additional features. Follow the steps in this tutorial once you have your account set up.