Local development environments can be a pain to set up by hand, despite ready-made deployment environments offered by platform-as-a-service providers. Meanwhile, programmers still need to keep project dependencies consistent between development systems. Installing a private PaaS like Cloud Foundry or OpenShift locally is an option even if you're not planning to deploy to those particular systems, but a new startup called Action wants to make it even easier.
Founders AJ Solimine, Arun Thampi and Peter Jihoon Kim founded the company to scratch their own itch. Solimine and Thampi worked together at Anideo, the mobile application company backed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. There, they had a hard time keeping development environments consistent. "We kept running into situations where something would work on one machine but not the other," Solimine says. So they started a project to solve the problem. The result is Action, a fully hosted development environment. The team calls it a Heroku for development environments.
Action is more than just a cloud-hosted IDE like Cloud9 IDE. Action includes a full Unix-like environment for app development, complete with an in-browser shell. Action has its own IDE, or you can use VIM or eMacs in the shell. Eventually, Kim says, you'll be able to use your native desktop IDE or text editor and sync your project with Action. That means Action will be able to accommodate Visual Studio, Eclipse, Sublime text or whatever tools with which you feel comfortable.
Some other features in the pipeline include a one-click deploy option for cloud providers like Heroku and Engine Yard, and an add-on system that will allow developers to integrate services like Heroku PostGres or MongoHQ.
Pricing will be based on usage, typical of cloud services. The service is launching today in private beta. ReadWriteWeb readers who want an invitation to take an early look can sign up here. Invitations will roll out over the next few days.