Nowadays the majority of cloud applications are developed based on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm. Large-scale applications are structured as a collection of well-integrated services that are deployed in public, private or hybrid cloud. Despite the inherent benefits that service-based cloud development provides, the process is far from trivial, in the sense that it requires the software engineer to be (at least) comfortable with the use of various technologies in the long cloud development toolchain: programming in various languages, testing tools, build / CI tools, repositories, deployment mechanisms, etc. In this paper, we propose an approach and corresponding toolkit (termed SmartCLIDE-as part of the results of an EU-funded research project) for facilitating SOA-based software development for the cloud, by extending a well-known cloud IDE from Eclipse. The approach aims at shortening the toolchain for cloud development, hiding the process complexity and lowering the required level of knowledge from software engineers. The approach and tool underwent an initial validation from professional cloud software developers. The results underline the potential of such an automation approach, as well as the usability of the research prototype, opening further research opportunities and providing benefits for practitioners.