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A Round up of Online Code Playgrounds

Nowadays, there are a variety of code playgrounds available online. Some (such as JSFiddle or JSBin) are designed with sharing in mind, which is useful for building a reduced test case to demonstrate a bug or problem you are having. Some (such as ES6 Fiddle, or D3.js Playground) allow you to experiment with a specific library or technology without the fuss of creating files or setting up a build step. And others (such as CodePen) have an additional social aspect, enabling you to show off your latest creation and get feedback from your peers.

It goes without saying that all of them are awesome and make developers’ lives considerably easier!

At SitePoint we use CodePen to host most of our front-end demos and until recently, I thought I knew it pretty well. That was until I read Chris Coyier’s article on 10 Cool Things You Can Do with CodePen and JavaScript which taught me a couple of really neat tricks. For example, did you know that you can Ajax stuff from other Pens at special URLs? Or that you can have CodePen check your JavaScript with JS Hint? No? Well, you can. And, as an added bonus, CodePen will also provide handy Google it links for finding more information on a particular error. I’d urge you to read the article to find out what other cool tricks Chris has to offer.

So that’s the front-end. But what about if you want to share a code demo which includes a back-end component? That’s going to be tricky, right? Well, the good news is that it probably actually isn’t. With the explosion in popularity of server-side JavaScript, a number of sites have grown up which are suitable for hosting demos involving back-end code.

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