I wrote previously about how I write blog posts and deploy my (statically-generated) site using an iPad. That article also covers how I stage the site; i.e. create a temporary test version of it while I make edits, to check how everything looks before I actually update the main site.
That’s all well and good for writing articles, but periodically I make tweaks to the site’s appearance, design, and structure. While I could certainly do so using the workflow I described in the aforementioned piece, there are better options available — without leaving the iPad.
Here are screenshots of a terminal tab, and a preview browser tab too.
It has snippets, code-completion, dual local/remote file browsers, Markdown support and live reloading for previews, and it works on the iPhone as well as the iPad. It also talks to its Mac counterpart, as you’d expect. Pretty good. The one thing it doesn’t yet do is support Dropbox as a local file store, which I’d really like — but my specific setup sort of obviates the need for it (I have Dropbox on my server too). Panic, Coda’s makers, have said they’re considering it.
So far, so good. The two things I need to do during/after tweaking the site, though, are checking responsiveness on various screen sizes and devices, and browser testing in something other than Safari. The iPad essentially only runs Safari (unlike on the desktop, even the iOS version of Firefox uses WebKit, and the iOS version of Chrome uses Safari’s own variant of WebKit, not Chromium’s). Thus, your options are: use a desktop computer with some browsers (and virtual machines, for browsers on other operating systems), or use an online remote browser testing service. There are lots of those services, some free (usually static screenshots, in a queue), and some quite expensive (which pretty much let you VNC into a freshly-spun-up VM), and you can find them yourself by searching online for “browser testing”. I haven’t checked which ones work via Safari on iOS yet.
Lastly, you can also grab the incredibly-customisable iCab for iOS, which can spoof user-agents, and which includes Firebug Lite.
With so many validators, references, code samples, and in-browser testing services available online now, you can do a hell of a lot without recourse to a desktop machine. I’ve made CSS and template changes to the site in the last week, and all entirely from my iPad.
There’s also Adobe Comp, Autodesk Graphic, OmniGraffle, Pixelmator and more for site design and graphics work. We’ll talk about that stuff in a future instalment. You can keep up to date with new articles by following me on Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next time.