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Ajax announced that it is launching Cloud9, an online service for developing software, at the Demo 2011 Spring conference today.

Cloud9 is a website where developers using JavaScript and HTML5 — the modern lingua franca of interactive websites — can go to develop and run programs. It works exactly like a typical programming environment — it’s just accessed through a website. The service is also hosted on cloud servers — meaning all the computing happens on remote servers and users access it through a Web-based interface. Cloud9 users can get the results of any program they run through a pop-up window or through a hyperlink.

That means developers can work on more intense JavaScript programs without having to worry about computational requirements. The benefit of cloud computing is that it’s typically cheaper and gives developers access to more powerful computers. Even if it’s slightly slower due to network latency, it still ends up being faster because the servers provided by companies like Rackspace and Amazon are much more powerful than servers a developer can usually get.

The service is built on HTML5, the latest version of the standard language for Web pages that’s widely seen as replacing Adobe’s Flash technology for Web interactivity. Many video sites today use Flash to display and run their video content. Firefox browser creator Mozilla had a similar idea for an online development environment called SkyWriter — but they actually ended up combining their service with Ajax’s Cloud9. Mozilla developer Kevin Dangoor said Cloud9 is available on more browsers, so it made sense for the company to work with Ajax.

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