You Write Code For a Tablet, Now Try Coding On One

By Nathaniel Mott , written on August 31, 2012

From The News Desk

Most developers consider the iPad a device that you code for, not one that you code on. Kodiak PHP, released today, is one of the latest applications that wants to prove that developers can write code with their tablet.

Kodiak is an integrated development environment (IDE), which means it's more than just an app, it's a full-blooded software development tool. Apple's XCode, which every iOS or Mac developer has cursed at some point, is one of the more recognizable IDEs. Code written in Kodiak can be run from directly within the software, allowing developers to test their scripts without having to switch between Kodiak and an external program or other device.

Features familiar to any developer are also included in the suite, such as a tab-centric interface that provides easy access to more than one development window, and syntax highlighting. Where Kodiak gets interesting, however, is with its "Navigation Key". Users can double-tap the Navigation Key and then slide their finger on the iPad to select text, allowing for more accurate text selection with minimal movement. As someone that has tried and (repeatedly) failed to select text using iOS' default controls, I can safely say that I wish Apple would introduce a similar key or functionality to iOS as a whole.

Being able to code on the iPad would seem like a pipe dream if the demand for text editing software on mobile devices wasn't growing so quickly. One Mac developer, Panic, released a version of its popular Web development suite for the iPad earlier this year. Dubbed Diet Coda, the $19.99 application was designed specifically for the iPad and introduced alongside a new version of its $99 Mac counterpart. Other applications, such as Koder and Gusto, have been adding new features for a few years now.

Hell, one application, Textastic, recently made the jump to the iPhone. Developers can now develop applications on a phone that couldn't even download applications until a year after its introduction. It may never be possible to take an application from development to release with only an iPhone or iPad, but the ability to develop on a device that fits in your pocket shows just how mature the iOS platform has become.