Coding and the iPad: an Example of How It’s Done


I may have previously mentioned on here how the iPad continues to surprise me in so many ways with what can be done on it today as compared to a few years ago. How it continues to defy its own limitations and be utilized for much more than intended when steve Jobs unveiled it in 2010 as basically a larger iPhone.

I myself have started to replace — and more often than not expensive and time consuming to download and update — desktop apps or programs, such as Photoshop, with iPad alternatives such as Art Studio for iPad combined with say Aviary. Sure you may have to send the image you are working on across various apps before you complete the project, but in my opinion that isn’t much of a hassle for a project that becomes much more hands-on, fun, inventive and cheaper to produce while on the go.

Well, this morning when I opened up my two favorite iOS gaming websites, PocketGamer and TouchArcade respectively, I found that a game was on sale with pretty good ratings, especially since it is a standard old-school shooting affair from the looks of it. I dug further and guess what I discovered? Apparently it was coded on an iPad, and exclusively on the tablet, during a morning commute to work.

According to the iMore, the developer’s name is Richard Morgan and this is his second effort on the iOS platform. He is also a one-man development house and he calls his studio 8bit Magic Games.

A press release was issued that I dug up, which further proves how this one-man development srudio created the game. It also highlights the actual app he used to create the game on the iPad and it is called Codea.  The developer was quoted saying:

“My work commute is basically the only spare time I have. So I needed a way to make games in that time – on the move, on my iPad. And I found an iPad app called Codea that let me make games wherever and whenever.”

the press release goes further into the app called Codea saying it is a simple programming language tool similar to the original Basic. It also offers community sharing of code of sorts; this maybe another way of saying “open source.”

The App Store description further describes it as “Garage Band of Coding.” It currently costs $15, which is no slouch in App Store pricing sematics, thus it shows the app is at least serious by iPad’s App Store standards.

Either way, this developer created something incredible using this iPad-specific editor and at $15, plus an Apple Developer’s account is a very inexpensive and interesting ways to create iOS Apps . A game, highly rated on the App Store (over four stars last time I checked) using only an iPad while commuting.

I have recently done some coding myself, this very site to be exact. However, I used WordPress plugins, themes and visual-based WYSIWYG type of tools. I outlined my esperince here for those of you interested. It still seems like there are discrepancies between the mobile site editor and the actual WordPress app, but this could be a WordPress issue not based on the limitations of the iPad.

Codea seems much more code based and technical from the press release’s description, so this further shows the iPad’s potential in the future when it comes to coding. And by coding I am tslking about not just creating mobile apps, but potential HTML website creation, Web apps, and apps that work cross platform from the PC to tablets.

I have seen a couple HTML apps on the App Store that offer editing files in HTML, CSS, javascript and the like, however the App Store is mostly filled with teaching apps; basically, it offers apps teaching users how to use desktop editors. An example of a real editor with descent reviews on the App Store is Nitro HTML, which offers both HTML and Javascript coding and editing.

After finding out about this app and the dev’s effort, I searched further to notice Apple itself also offers an app for coding from the iPad. It is called Swift Playground. However, according to its description on Apple’s website, it seems to be limited to bit-sized apps:

In Swift Playgrounds you create small programs called “playgrounds” that instantly show the results of the code that you write. A single line of code can make amazing things happen. Interactive lessons teach key coding concepts, and additional challenges and templates encourage you to explore code in exciting new ways and to create something completely unique.

The day the iPad is used to create full custom professional websites or a Playstation 4 game, for instance, will be when the tablet truly makes its presence felt in professional developer circles. I believe that day may be sooner than later, the Pro lineup is Apple’s way of showing developers the demans is there and is pretty much built for such tasks.

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