← home ← blog

Coding on The Go

On a brisk and chilly night back in 2010 on September 16th, the newest device to hit the market was coming out the next day; the almighty iPad. As someone who had camped out for the original iPhone back in 2007, bought every device subsequently, and genuinely at the time was a “fanboy,” camping out for the next revolution made sense and I had a dream…

...work from anywhere...

This was before working remotely was common, but I was starting with an agency out of the state, enjoyed working from home, and wanted some freedom to go places without a laptop but still have the ability to code; tThe problem was that this was a 1st generation Apple device, and surprise, it wasn’t all it was hyped up to me (at least to me) and I barely used the device.

Fast forwarding to a few days weeks ago (eh, delayed in writing this post), sitting in a small courthouse (long story - crazy lady hit one of my cars), staring idly into this room with 150+ folks, I started thinking about this all again and had things changed? Not in a “you must work all of the time,” but instead “can I be creative where ever I may be?”

So, almost ten years since the release, have things changed? Armed with a new iPad Pro, can a developer use this as a daily machine? As a secondary device? While no definitive answer will be made today, it’s part of the process to test this out over the next few weeks (with an update coming at a later date), but for today - let’s talk about how I’m planning to attack.

Prerequisites:

  • iPad or iPad Pro
  • Bluetooth Keyboard (can’t recommend Apple’s Folio Keyboard enough)
  • Little bit of cash (it’s not cheap, might could get a cheap laptop for same price)
  • You (I) must lower your expectations

What are we learning today?

Before diving into tools, coding isn’t new to me; I’ve been at this a long time, but as I previously said, it’s time for something more fun and for a chance to somewhat “start over.” In order to do that, and to kick off this post since my needs might be different than yours, I want to share a bit of what I’m planning to work on and share over the next few months.

JS/NodeJS/React - I’m 1000% aware how much developers love JavaScript; literally 10 seconds on Twitter and I’ll quick see someone talking about [framework_here] and how much they love all these new features/abilities.

So, it’s clear, JavaScript REALLY excites some folks, and I’m unforunately not one of those folks at the moment - but I want to spend some more time to see what all of the hype is all about. At the same time, I do a lot of WordPress development and most people know, React is an absolutle requirement at this point thanks to Gutenberg.

Python - If you know me, you know that I <3 Python, but… I don’t get to use it as much as I’d like; with tons of data processes and tools written in this beautiful language, I want to spend a lot more time outside of my day job with it - working with data analysis, automation, and a little bit of Django.

Go - As a kid (LONG time ago), I started writing with BASIC and then moved onto C/C++ after someone was awesome enough to pick up a “for dummies” book for me; since then though, I’ll be honest, I’ve barely written any applications and instead focused on web development. I want to change that a bit, I want to start writing some more actual applications and Go is fast, lightweight, well supported, and has a great community.

Laravel - Having built many applications with Laravel, one of which went in front of a massive venture capitalist (we built it, did not own), and being one of the “few” who love appreciates PHP in 2020, I’m going to spend a bit more time here and write a few applications that have been sitting in my notebooks for a while.

Server

For me, unlike a lot of folks attempting to do this, my goal is truly to be able to “work offline” and avoid distractions, yet I know a server is going to be required at some points whether for tuning, testing an image, or just having a few commands at your fingertips. To make this as cheap and simple as possible, I’m going to be looking at the following two services1:

  • DigitalOcean (2GB Droplet)
  • Google Cloud Platform (Free Tier)

Tools & Software

  1. Termius - Terminal

  2. Blink - Terminal (alternative to Termius)

  3. Working Copy

  4. Coda… er “Code Editor”

  5. Pythonista3 w/ Black Mamba

  6. Dash for iOS2

  7. Continuous

  8. GoCoEdit

  9. iVim

  10. Things

  11. Paper

  12. iA Writer

  13. Ulysses (alternative to iA Writer, requires subscription)

  14. SSH Tunnel

  15. Inspect Browser iPad

Small, but noteworthy:
  • Alfred
  • 1Password
  • Slack
  • Lightroom

What’s Next?

Who knows if this adventure will turn into anything worthwhile or if I’ll just be selling my iPad again in a few months, but it’s a interesting test/concept as a lightweight device for carrying around / using for side projects & education.

Within a few weeks, I’ll add a follow up post to this based on my findings, but in the mean time - expect a lot more posts and code (forcing my self to write more and share more) on this site.


  1. Visual Studio Code: As someone who loves VS Code on Mac/Windows/Linux, I don’t want to have my actual editor forcing me to be online with a service such as VS Code Online, but it is an option for some folks. 

  2. Dash: While this an AWESOME application, it appears to have been discontinued as of a few days ago… 1/30.