When a new thing is invented, we're often stuck with the old words to define it. The first car was a "horseless carriage," and the first computer was a "giant brain." In the same inaccurate way, Repl.it is an "online IDE."
Repl.it gets its name from "REPL", the Read Eval Print Loop, a basic language tool found in most modern programming languages and environments. It's a tool that allows you to interact with a program by reading, evaluating, and printing data.
If you think about development environments as a continuum from REPL to IDE, you can see how Repl.it is located closer to the REPL end. It's a tool for exploratory programming. It's for playing with ideas.
Repl.it is a reaction to the modern software development grind, where many developers spend their time waiting for builds, running tests, fighting with linters, and configuring frameworks. It's an attempt to get back to the basics of programming -- to make coding fun again.
To use Repl.it you don't have to ditch your IDE. You can use it to investigate a library's design, try out a new language feature, experiment with a new framework, or even use it to build and host a side-project.
Repl.it collapses the entire development lifecycle into a simple interface. No need for pull requests, continuous integration, or deployment. You simply code and its live! With Multiplayer, you can even do all this with other people in real-time.
If your IDE is a car, Repl.it is a motorcycle. If your IDE is a desktop computer, Repl.it is an iPad. If your IDE is a skyscraper, Repl.it is a cozy vacation house.
Repl.it is a tool for exploratory programming. It's for playing with ideas.
Repl.it is a tool for sharing code. It's for building community.
Repl.it is a tool for education. It's for learning to code.
Repl.it, however, is not a tool for building large-scale software. It's not for your legacy codebase.
Repl.it is a tool for building side-projects. It's for hosting fun apps.
Repl.it is a tool for experimenting with new ideas. It's for being creative.
Next time you have an idea, kickback on the couch and hit up repl.new. You can always go back to your IDE when you need it.
: It's unfortunately how we currently describe Repl.it on the marketing pages, which was necessary when Repl.it was unknown. However, this will change soon.