/ Apple Opinion

Web Development on the iPad

My blog used to be powered by Kirby. I'd write and edit it all on my Mac. It was all fairly straightforward, nothing fancy. Recently I started to wonder if I could recreate that setup on my iPad Pro.

To do this I would need to have a local copy of the website and be able to push any changes I made up to GitHub. I found an app called Working Copy, this is a great GitHub client that has a built-in code editor. I downloaded the source for the website from the GitHub repo, made some changes and pushed it back up. It worked flawlessly.

Once those changes are up on GitHub, DeployHQ will publish it to the live server. That's pretty nifty, it means I don't have to waste my time trying to get the source out of Working Copy and uploaded with an FTP client.

However, we're missing a piece of the puzzle, I'm essentially working blind on the iPad as I can't preview the site locally.

On the Mac I run MAMP and use Safari to preview before committing those changes, it's a common workflow and something I wanted to replicate on the iPad. This is where the real problems start.

After a little bit of googling, I came across an app called DraftCode. It's essentially a code editor with a built-in web server allowing you to run PHP locally. Unfortunately, iOS has this little thing called Sandboxing.

In short, this means DraftCode can't see the source I've already checked out into the Working Copy app. They only way to get the source into DraftCode so I can preview my website locally is to import it from iCloud Drive, but I'm not sure if that will even work as It looks like it can only import a single file at a time. Urgh.

I guess I could set up a new dev server and push the changes to that instead, this would work but it does mean the workflow would be a little disjointed as I'd need to deploy the site everytime I wanted to see a change. A better way is to have the same setup I have on the Mac, but it seems this is not possible on the iPad yet…

I want to love the iPad, it's more than powerful enough to do what I'm asking of it but yet it's been hobbled by software. As far as I can tell I can't use the iPad to edit and publish this site the way I'd like to and that's a shame. For a computing platform that is over 7 years old this is a bit of joke and arguably one of the reasons why people keep saying the iPad is no good for "real work".