Saturday, September 22, 2012

Portable Programming on a SmartPhone or Tablet

I can't believe I've not written about this before ... anyway...

As people who know me will probably know, I'm interested in portable programming. It's a difficult question since there doesn't appear to be a good solution. A good desktop/tower with multiple monitors is great for programming - but not portable. A laptop - with a big external monitor as a second display is a good option - but the portability (having it with you everywhere, getting it out and putting it away quickly, and using it standing up) leaves a lot of be desired.

So maybe two devices - a 'real' computer and something else?

One option for a 'second computer' might be something like this: - although due to a backlog of orders and a lack of cash on their part, the waiting is not necessarily short. However, there have been a long list of similar devices - but nothing as good (from my perspective) currently for the portable programming. Also apparently there are better tiny keyboards like this ancient DOS box

So what about Smartphones and tablets?

Whether phones and tablets are the right platform to code on (ever), is an interesting question. A normal computer is way more powerful and has a read keyboard and you can use multiple
applications at the same time, bigger screen and more pixels, better file system, etc.

Also a tablet (certainly the 10" ones and maybe the 7" ones) are a bit big to carry around. Probably something like an ultraportable PC/netbook or an 11" Macbook air would be a better option if you are going to carry a bag.

But let's not dismiss them totally ... people have written novels on Blackberry's... what options are there in terms of apps?

Android has got things like AIDE and others. AIDE appears to be a full development environment. Whether you *could* write a full application is a different matter...

But currently you can't write native apps on iOS (iPhone or iPad) on the machine ... but there are a few solutions for prorammers now (since Apple relaxed rules a while ago) ...
A lot of this are pay-for ... but are interesting never-the-less, and it might be worth getting a decent user interface for the limited display/soft-keyboard.

Whether these are useful is a different matter... I'm going to try a few of the Python and Lua environments.

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