Agnel L Nieves Fuentes

Web Designer / Developer

iPad pro for web developers

“close-up photo of black iPad on brown wooden end table” by Henry Ascroft on Unsplash

If you are reading this, you might know that Apple announced its new iPad Pro. This new iPad shows enhanced performance and capacity, making it the fastest iPad to date. Some claim this is the ultimate laptop killer, not quite. While the iPad is an absolute beast, it takes some configuration and money to be able to do some code on it.

Getting the Right Apps

It should come without saying, but in order to have a decent configuration, you’ll have to spend some money, as you’ll have to purchase some of these apps. Getting the right apps is all about meeting your personal criteria. The following apps are based on my own opinion based on my personal experience.

Text Editors

Coda ($24.99)

Coda is a well-known text editor for MacOS, now available on IOS. This text editor features remote connections with FTP, SFTP, SSH, and WebDAV. It also has a built-in command prompt. While this app is super solid and offers a lot of awesome features, It does not offers mobile git management, which, Is a dealbreaker for me. Now, If you use Coda for MacOS this could be a good addition for your workflow, as it syncs with the MacOS app.

Textastic ($9.99)

This is my preferred text editor app at the moment. This app features a decent text editor with syntax highlighting and emmet support. It also features remote connection with FTP, SFTP, SSH, WebDAV and even Dropbox & Google Drive. The reason I prefer this app over Coda is that it integrates seamlessly with WorkingCopy (A git management app for iPad). I use this app to code on the go and I’ve had no complaints at the moment.

VIM (Free)

VIM is a well-known code editor. While I haven’t used this app (I’m a more visual kind of guy) I think it could be an honorable mention. It’s all up to you.

Git Management

Working copy (Free — $15.99 for pro version)

As I mentioned before, this git management app integrates seamlessly with Textastic, which makes it a crucial tool for my iPad development workflow. The app itself is very solid, it allows you to do commits, merge, solve conflicts and really anything you do with git. You can also add repositories from GitLab, Github, Bitbucket and your own remote server. While the app itself is free, you might end up getting the paid version. The free version does not allow you to do push to remote which makes it kind of useless. The Pro version adds the following features: Push to remote, Dark mode, SSH Uploads & SSH commands, Repository Folders, and font customization.

Codehub (Free — $2.99 for enterprise)

Codehub is basically a Github client to see and manage your git repositories. It allows you to keep track of your repositories, comment and watch other repos. While the free version is pretty complete, it does not allow you to access private repos, for that you’ll have to buy the pro version. I personally, don’t use this app a lot but I know some people will find it useful.

Command Line

Terminus (Free — $6.99/montly for Pro features)

Terminus is an app for MacOS, Windows & Linux, now available on IOS. The app itself offers a very simple, yet useful UI with a ton of features on the Free version. Terminus features:

  • Termius is available for all major mobile and desktop systems.
  • Support for SSH, Mosh, and Telnet sessions.
  • Supports ECDSA and ed25519 keys as well as chacha20-poly1305 cipher.
  • Pair credentials and servers for quick access.
  • Create groups to define shared settings and themes.
  • Tag your servers to stay organized.
  • Terminal touch with support for CTRL, ALT, and arrow keys.
  • Multitask with split-view support.
  • 12 colorful themes and adjustable fonts, including Dark Mode.
  • Make multiple connections to the same host or connect to multiple hosts.
  • Import keys with iTunes file sharing in ext, OpenSSH, and PPK formats.
  • Protect your credentials with PIN
  • Background mode and termination notifications.
  • Port forwarding and tunneling let you encrypt nearly any service or connection.
  • Preview active SSH sessions with an adaptive user interface.

Terminus is my preferred command line for the iPad because it provides a complete terminal experience out of the box. The pro features just adds ad few productivity features, such as, setting custom environment variables, syncing terminal and credentials with both desktop and mobile versions, importing your desktop’s ~/.ssh/config file via the command line and more...

Prompt 2 ($15.99)

Prompt 2 is from the same people that created Coda. This terminal client is a simpler alternative to Terminus. I haven’t spent a lot of time with it because I use Terminus but I thought it’s a honorable mention.

Exploring Other Options

While I prefer native development tools, there’s always other options we could use when developing on mobile devices. Ofcourse, you’ll need internet access but these are nice options to check out.

Coder.com

Coder is an online virtual development tool that uses VS Code. I’ve tried this online tool for only two days, and here’s what I found. While still in Alpha, is a very powerful tool and could be game changing. Coder.com brings you the full VS Code experience for free, at least for now. The only setback I found is, when using a bluetooth keyboard, such as magic keyboard 2, you wont be able to use the right and left arrow keys for some reason. Maybe this would be fixed in the future, but as of now is very annoying.

Cloud9

This virtual playground is actually a full featured IDE based on Linux. what this means? It means that you could do everything you do on a Linux machine via the terminal, even install libraries.

Codepen

I use this one a lot. Codepen is the Holy grail for web developers. It is more of an online community for testing and showcasing user-created HTML, CSS and JavaScript code snippets.

Glitch

Glitch is almost the same concept as Codepen. Except it’s a little more “friendly”. It’s pretty powerful as well. I still like more Codepen tho.

Codeanywhere

Codeanywhere is a cross-platform cloud IDE. It enables users to instantly write, edit, collaborate and run web development projects from a web browser and any mobile device.

Repl.it

This virtual programming platform allows you to create virtual playgrounds to develop, test and even deploy applications. It also includes a pretty awesome 🔥 teaching platform feature with its own grading system.

Codesandbox.io

I came up with this neat resource while I was attending on the 10th Miami Wordcamp. One of the speakers used for a live coding demo and I fell in love with it. It’s another quick and reliable cloud based solution to create application prototypes on the move.

Final Verdict

As developers, having most of the desktop development workflow is a must, but if you are looking for a laptop replacement, you should get a surface instead. For me, the iPad is the perfect tool for a designer with development skills. At the end of the day, the iPad is just another tool to take advantage of if you own a MacBook.

I’m always open to meet new people so feel free to contact me on Twitter or Instagram

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