The online programming tool, still in its early stages, is for writing Web apps within a Web browser. The open-source tool itself is built with Google's new Dart language.
Google likes Web apps, but one area where native software remains dominant is programming tools. A Google project called Spark that came to light Thursday could change that.
Spark is a Web-based IDE (integrated development environment) that runs in a browser for developers writing Chrome apps, according to Google's Francois Beaufort, who tracks Chrome developments closely. That means, among other things, that Chromebook coders would have a way to be productive without having to move to a Windows, Mac, or Linux box.
"This is still the very beginning," Beaufort said on Google+. "There's not much we can do for now."
What's a Chrome app? In short, it's a Web app that runs on Chrome. That means it can take advantage of Chrome abilities, such as Native Client, and be distributed through the Chrome Web Store. It's a concept that's somewhat antithetical to the cross-platform philosophy of the open Web, but it brings some order to a chaotic, fast-changing world.