iPad Week: Thursday

I just checked the fast app switching bar on my iPad and Screens is on the 4th page!  

Today wasn't what I would call a hardcore development day, but I did take on a bit of coding today including a new challenge: adding files to the Xcode project file from the command line.

What went well?

Diet Coda continues to perform quite well for me.  I fiddled with the syntax highlighting options and the Javascript setting actually works pretty well.  It dims out comments and highlights parenthesis and some keywords.  It's better than nothing, though not nearly as full-featured as Textastic, but it works for me since I just can't use Textastic for my workflow.

Prompt is also great.  The interesting thing about Prompt and Textastic is that they both provide excellent solutions to user experience issues when you don't have an external keyboard.  Textastic, for example, has these ingenious side-swipe keys for adding parens, numbers, square brackets, etc. that you would otherwise have to switch keyboards for.  Prompt has similar keys for things like arrows (obviously required for a terminal app).  But since I am using the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard this isn't really a concern for me.  That's why I am able to get by entirely with Diet Coda for both code editing and terminal usage.

What didn't go well?

I was dreading needing to add files to an Xcode project.  I've had to do that already this week, but in those cases I just used Screens to do it on my Mac.  I wanted to try and see if I could do it without using Xcode through remote access.  I initially tried modifying the project file manually.  Bad idea.  Even though I understand the internal structure of the project file, there's just too many details to get wrong and too many steps to go through.  Even if I could make it work once, it wouldn't be repeatable over time.

Not long into this attempt I realized that there must be scripts out there to do this.  Otherwise apps like AppCode from JetBrains would be impossible.   I was able to find two command line tools for managing the project file that I've linked below.  I only tried the one from CocoaPods, but I would lean towards that since it seems maintained more actively than xcs.



As this experiment is drawing to an end, I'm trying to collect my thoughts on what my takeaways are.  Are we at the point where a developer would be as productive on an iPad as they are on a Mac?  Certainly not.  But I can absolutely see us getting there.  The catch is that it's going to take a rethinking of the process of software development to get us there.  But maybe that's the key takeaway from this.  We see it all the time at Mutual Mobile: the iPad is changing the way entire industries conduct business.  It's amazing to watch.  And as a developer, its fitting to expect that eventually the software development industry will be changed by it too.