iPad Coding


I have decided to field-test the iPad as a work tool on our trip to the US. I will be definitely cut off from 3G, and will have only occasional Wi-Fi (unless the bus has it, in which case I’ll be laughing). I bought Textastic on a sale today and it’s very impressive with its code handling abilities, though I think there will still be an issue if I want to do in-browser testing with included files.

Either way, I’m sure that I will appreciate it for the ability to do quick code changes when on the go.

Dropbox, FTP and SFTP integration are the whole key to making this work. Editing is done completely locally. The files may be linked to one or more remote files, and after editing you can upload your changes. The Dropbox integration is a great idea. You can also do simple FTP manipulation like renaming and deleting files, as well as creating new ones. No permissions changing, duplicating or moving though, you would have to do the two latter by downloading and uploading. I’m fine with that.

Code highlighting works great, I tested it with markdown, JavaScript and jQuery, HTML and CSS, it was very good even with embedded code. It uses textmate bundles so there should be a huge capacity for more languages and syntaxes.

Text completion was impressive, it pops up a list of completions based on the bundle I presume was recognized.  JavaScript seems to bring up a seemingly relevant list, but jQuery selectors didn’t seem to work. I didn’t test out HTML or CSS yet.

Document navigation is really cool! There is a button that will give you a breakdown or outline of notable heading points in the document. HTML picks out the IDs in the document. I can see this as being incredibly useful, especially on the smaller interface of the iPad.

The other thing in the same category is a great popup cursor manipulation widget. There is a selection start and selection finish button, which is great in theory but I don’t think it works exactly as you’d think. I had to fall back on dragging the end selection manually to where I wanted it.

Search and replace is impressive enough but he went and added in regular expressions. Without question this is a great app, I can see using it for real work.

Yikes! It has Firebug (lite) support built in! (for small values of “built in”, ie you must be connected to the net for it to work)

Amazing app that pushes the boundaries of what is possible on this device.

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