Google Creative Lab Launches Coder To Turn Raspberry Pi Into A Basic Web Development Platform

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Coder, a new project that’s coming out of Google’s Creative Lab, is an open source tool that allows you to easily turn a Raspberry Pi into a basic web server with a web-based development environment. The tool, which was developed by Googler Jason Striegel, designer Jeff Baxter and a small team in New York, is meant to be an environment for educators and parents to teach kids “the basics of building for the web.”

Setting Coder up should only take 10 minutes. The project, the team argues, gives learners a private platform for building a web program. For those who already know to code, though, it’s also a nifty platform to play and provides a cheap sandboxed environment for experimenting with new ideas.

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To get started, all you need to do is download the Coder Installer onto an SD card, insert it into the Pi and point your browser to coder.local. The tool includes a web-based code editor and everything else you need to start building HTML, CSS and JavaScript-based applications.

The team says it first wanted to turn Coder into an even more complete package but then decided to just release it because the team believes that “the sooner this gets into the open source and maker communities, the more we’ll learn about how it might be used.”

With the Raspberry Pi going for $35 (plus a few more dollars for power supplies and a Wi-Fi dongle), the Pi makes a pretty nice development environment to play around with. While Google is mostly targeting learners with this project, I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned it into a more fully featured web-development environment.