Ask coding questions

← Back to all posts
How and when was the initial idea for what would become repl.it conceived?
ifvictr (10)

Did it just suddenly come to you one day, or was it something you had thought about for some time?

Commentshotnewtop
amasad (1258)

Back in college, I had to setup the development environment for every programming class I took. I didn't have a laptop so it was a pain in the butt to always lose 30 minutes trying to set it up. Sometimes the computers were locked down and you can't install a compiler so you have to find someone in IT.

So I started dreaming up a world where I can control+t open a new tab and start coding. Back then (2010) everything was moving to the cloud so I thought that, naturally, programming would too. So I started working with @hayaodeh and some friends from college on running language interpreters in the browser.

The first thing we did was put a Scheme implementation in JavaScript on a web page with a simple console and that's how the first browser REPL was born. We started using it ourselves and loved it and thought we had something special going on. We were able to work on homework and practice programming on the go: whether at school, the office, or even from our phones!

Fast forward a year later and after a lot of hard work, we released the first open source multi-language in-browser interpreter. After the release, the internet went crazy over it and everyone loved the idea. We even had the inventor of JavaScript, Brendan Eich, tweet about the project. It was so cool. Later on, lots of companies that were teaching programming online, like Codecademy and Udacity, used our open source projects to build their interactive coding platforms.

After that, I went to work for Codecademy and then Facebook and didn't return to work on Repl.it until 2016 where I quit my job at Facebook to go back and work on the problem of making programming more accessible.

FreedomC (0)

@amasad This is amazing! Is there a way we can integrate repl.it with some of the most commonly used learning management systems so that teachers can implement this easily? Also, is there a way some of the work being published here could be considered scholarly work for peer review? I am excited to see this in all schools globally! Would love to connect with you!