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All I Want for Christmas: CodePen Pro

By Tim Evko

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.

Not too familiar with CodePen? In short, CodePen is an online internal development environment (IDE), which allows you to write HTML, CSS, and Javascript, while getting a preview of your code in real time.

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!

Live View

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!

Asset Hosting

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.

Collab Mode

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

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!

Theming

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.

Comments
Fotiman

I would love a CodePen Pro account for Christmas. I was going to ask Santa for it, but couldn't find a way to "gift" a pro account on the CodePen site.
If I had a CodePen Pro account, I would end world hunger. I would rid the world of all disease. I would end crime and cruelty. I would be a coding mastermind by day. I would be a super hero by night. I'm pretty sure at least one of these things would happen.
Also, I've been good this year... I promise!

musgrove

Having a pro account would make my life so much easier. I could show clients what I'm doing in a private pen in a collaborative way and get feedback. So any benefits, but I just haven't been able to justify in my head it for some reason.

chriscoyier

Thanks for the shoutout Tim! My heart just grew a size I think.

In reaction to your article here (and because we've had a few requests for it and it's probably just a good idea to have) we made a page for Gifting CodePen PRO. So if anyone is feeling generous to the a fellow CodePenner (we need a better name. codependent?) go for it and upgrade them! I already know one lucky boy who's getting it for Christmas from his super cool mom.

And I also can't help my co-founder-ness coming through: we're actively developing all of CodePen, including PRO features, both existing and new, and 2015 should be a wonderful year where having a CodePen account is more valuable than ever.

DDA

I can't compete with @Fotiman but I would use a CodePen Pro account to both prototype and test code at work and to make it easier to help and teach folks coding and HTML/CSS at home. A CodePen Pro account is a lot easier than the "Well, send me your code and I'll take a look at it" method of helping people, that's for sure!

jrsmx

I'm a high school Technology teacher. We just introduced a basic web design course this year as a beta test for the district. I've been using Codepen in the class as well as my students. A pro account would allow me to use the Professor mode as I so the students about new topics. I've included Codepen in new course description as one of our code editors. Our school budget is small and any extras we can come across is always great. Either way, the students love using Codepen and so do I. Thanks Sitepoint and Codepen.

tevko

The gifting page is awesome! Can't wait to see what you guys do next!

sanjayen

I have started on my own and a CodePen Pro account would be a blessing in disguise when sharing working code with my co-coders who work from different locations.

molona

The article is great. I love CodePen although I never went Pro.

On another matter, I maybe wrong because I'm not a native English speaker but I believe there's a typo.

"I have to say that it’s lived up to it’s hype"... Shouldn't it be "to its hype"?

TechnoBear

Off Topic:

Yes.
molona

Off Topic:

Can't believe that I "know" more of the English language than a native English speaker
ralphm

You're not a real developer if you know where to put apostrophes in English. Don't you realise it's not cool to know that stuff?

molona

OMG!! I'm not cool! How am I going to live now?

dragospaul

Wow, this is so cool! I'd use a pro account to collaboratively work with my students (I'm an IT University TA) and my co-workers (I also work for an IT start-up)! Great article, btw!

Terrance

a pro account would be the perfect christmas gift for my laptop! trying to keep up with all the younger smarter people around my office is a serious task. lol a pro account would be the perfect companion tool for everything i already do to try and stay current. more importantly, it puts my sandbox in the cloud which means i can play anywhere. even better, it frees up precious space on my poor little laptop. she's been so good to me......she could really use a break!

happy holidays everyone!

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