We asked SitePoint authors what developer toys they would want for Christmas, then managed to source them — without relying on Santa.
I’ve been a CodePen user for quite some time, and for most of that time, I’ve been content with using their free plan. That is until I had a chance to look at the benefits of becoming a pro member.
Why I wanted a Pro account
I had wanted a pro account for quite some time, mainly because I really enjoyed using the product, as well as the level of support that comes with it. Alex, Tim, and Chris are very responsive to user feedback, and have even gone so far as to write code for me when I was having trouble adding a feature to The Practice App.
Secondly, the prices are straight up ridiculous. A Pro account only costs $9 a month, which is about 1/5th of what I spend for coffee every week.
Of course, one of the more obvious reasons for wanting a pro account was the extra features that come with it.
Unlimited Private Pens
Need to test out some super top secret code for work or the CIA? No problem! With a Pro account, you can make super secret pens only visible to you, or you can make super secret pens that are only viewable to those who have the super secret link!
Writing some code that needs to work on a mobile sized screen? CodePen Pro has you covered with live view! As soon as you save the pen, all other instances of that pen will get updated on the spot!
A Pro account gets you 1GB of space to store any type of asset you need. The UI for this feature is particularly useful, especially when you need to pull an asset while you’re in the middle of creating a pen.
Having the urge to do some good-old-fashioned pair programming with someone who may be 1000 miles away? Collab mode will let you and your pair programming friend edit the same pen in real time!
Professor mode allows a group of people to watch you write code live in a real time classroom. Every character you type, line you select, or setting you change is immediately shown on your viewers’ (students
) screens, as if you were all together looking at the same screen.
100 Send To Phone Messages
This is a brilliant idea, and speaks to the amount of thought the CodePen team puts into their product. This feature allows you to send an SMS containing the URL of the pen to you or anyone you’d like. Just enter in the number!
With a Pro account, CodePen lets you adjust the look and feel of your pen embeds and your CodePen profile!
The experience so far
Now that I’ve had a chance to use CodePen as a pro member, I have to say that it’s lived up to it’s hype. I haven’t had a chance to use all of the pro features, but I’m more than satisfied with the ones that I have used. The private pens, asset hosting, and live view features have greatly increased my level of productivity, especially when I need to create a quick demo for a project at work. It’s also nice to have a better chance at one of my pens being featured (which totally happened and was very exciting).
I’ve been a free and Pro user of CodePen, and I’ll never regret going Pro. The features, design, and usability of a Pro account make it a tool that has become an essential part of my workflow as a web developer.
What would you do with a CodePen Pro account? Answer in the comments, we’ll pick the best three and give away three free yearly Pro accounts to the winners.