Running Eclipse Theia without a backend

January 29, 2024 | 3 min Read

When hosting cloud-based tools and IDEs, backend efficiency and cost-effectiveness are a key consideration. We are excited to present an ongoing development in the Eclipse Theia project that not only reduces the resource requirements of the tool backend, it makes it completely unnecessary! Surely, this deployment variant can’t fulfill all requirements, but there are certainly several important use cases that are unlocked by this exciting development.  If you want to learn how you can run Theia based tools and IDEs without a backend, read on!

Traditionally, hosting cloud-based tools and IDEs in a browser setting involves the complex setup of backend infrastructure for multiple users, often leading to considerable hosting expenses. At the same time, modern browsers combined with cutting edge technology, such as web workers, web APIs, web assembly, etc., become suitable for even hosting complex applications without the actual need for a backend. Therefore, our team has pioneered the “browser-only” target for Theia applications, allowing running Theia-based applications without a backend.

This new method allows developers to create Theia applications as static websites, eliminating the need for a traditional backend. This approach offers immense flexibility, allowing for hosting on various platforms, including CDNs, GitHub Pages, or any standard web server. By significantly reducing the complexity and cost of cloud hosting, this “browser-only” target marks a major shift in the development and deployment capabilities of Theia applications.

In our talk, we delve deep into the technicalities and benefits of running Theia without a backend. We explore various use cases, demonstrating how this approach can lead to substantial savings in both effort and hosting costs. The approach is an ongoing development, the first version of it is available in the very recent Theia 1.46 release. You can also follow the process on the corresponding pull request.

This advancement in Theia applications is not just a technical feat; it’s a strategic move towards more accessible, efficient, and cost-effective cloud-based tooling. The “browser-only” target opens up new possibilities for deploying and managing applications, making Theia more versatile and adaptable to diverse hosting environments. If you want to join this ongoing development or become a sponsor, please get in contact with us!

At EclipseSource, we’re committed to the development of web and cloud-based custom tools and IDEs. Whether your interest lies in hosting tools and IDEs in the cloud, Theia Cloud, Eclipse Theia, Code OSS, or related technologies, our team is equipped to provide expert consulting and implementation services to make sure you reach the best possible support for your specific project requirements. Get in contact with us to discuss your use case!

Jonas, Maximilian & Philip

Jonas Helming, Maximilian Koegel and Philip Langer co-lead EclipseSource. They work as consultants and software engineers for building web-based and desktop-based tools. …