The secret way to edit your code in Microsoft's SkyDrive

Embedded, IntelliSense-enabled text editor supports JavaScript, CSS, HTML, C#, PowerShell, and more

Microsoft has rolled out a new SkyDrive feature that lets you edit text files in place on your storage cloud. You might think of it as Notepad Web App, except there is no application to open or launch, nor can you create a text file directly on SkyDrive, at least not yet (Word Web App creates only .docx files). But if you create a text file on your local computer, then either upload it through the browser or let it sync to your SkyDrive account, when you double-click the file icon on SkyDrive the file will open and the new code editing tools will be available.

Any recognized file type (.html, .css, .js, and so on) will be shown in the browser window with the appropriate editing context. This works really well with PowerShell files, as you can see in the screenshot above.

Notice the pop-up box below line 16. This will appear when you type part of a command, then use the Control-spacebar key combination. From there, you can toggle through the options using the up and down arrow keys and press the Enter key to make your selection.

Even Notepad has simple functions like search and replace, and you'll find them here as well. To search for text, simply use the normal Control-F key combination to display a Web page search box. Click the small triangle to the left of the Find box to open a Replace box. The search tool even supports regular expressions; just click the asterisk symbol in that same search box.

The secret way to edit your code in Microsoft's SkyDrive

For recognized programming languages, you'll get tab completion and more. The list of recognized file types includes JavaScript, CSS, HTML, C#, Ruby, PHP, Python, SQL cmd files, and clearly, PowerShell. One thing I noticed about the PowerShell script is that it only provided completion for commands already in the file -- like get-history and get-location. Other languages, like CSS, have more complete IntelliSense built right in.

Also of interest are the built-in collaboration features. You can quickly share any document on SkyDrive by getting a link to the file and sending that out. If someone else happens to edit and save a document you have open, you'll be given a chance to view changes when you click Save.

Here you get a handy side-by-side view of the document in your browser window and the version saved to SkyDrive. You can choose to merge or discard the changes and save the result back to SkyDrive. Add this simple collaboration with easy Web access and the inherent syncing capability of SkyDrive, and you have a handy editing tool.

This article, "The secret way to edit your code in Microsoft's SkyDrive," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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