The one annoying thing about the iPad. No programming!


The iPad is awesome. You can create artwork, music, videos and write blog posts on it. You can also use hundreds of thousands of pre-made apps available for download at apple’s app store. However, it does have one major downfall. You need a Mac computer to code for it.

There are some ways around this. None of them result in a fully-fledged app store app though.

My favorite choice is an app called codea. It costs $1 and is very easy to use. You program in the Lua programming language and there is an included code reference and sprites that are well made. It is very easy to program for the iPad with this. I had a cool accelerometer graphics thingy running in about half an hour after looking through the examples to find what I needed here and there. It even makes having adjustable parameters in your program easy with pre made sliders. It also has a text output window that you can easily write to using the print function. It’s by far the best and is great for testing out a coding idea. It doesn’t produce anything that looks like normal iPad apps as it doesn’t have support for all the fancy UI elements.

The other option that I’ve read about quite a bit is using JavaScript and other web technologies to develop for mobile devices. This means that you can code web based apps for the iPad using an on board web code editor like textastic. However, this has it’s issues as textastic doesn’t support server side technologies like php in its previews. Also, this is often quite a messy solution relying on complex libraries and extensions.

This is a problem that apple needs to solve if it wants people to chuck out their laptops for iPads.

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3 thoughts on “The one annoying thing about the iPad. No programming!

  1. The iPad is a ‘consumption’ device first. The ‘creation’ part is limited to the music and graphic apps that are around. Mostly it’s for consuming movies/video/picture and casual web. The most ‘work’ you can do on it is manage email and show presentations (that you created somewhere else) in one-on-one scenarios.

    Apple doesn’t really want it to be a development device! But hey that doesn’t stop devs like you and me getting creative and turning it into one :-)…

    • Ah after writing this post I was looking at some other articles on this and found out that they actually have a rule saying that you can’t make an app that compiles or makes code. So basically you can’t make apps that make apps.I’m not sure how codea gets around this though…..

  2. If you jailbreak your iPad you can run any of your own software on it, as far as I know. But of course this would still be harder because you wouldn’t be using apples developer toolkit. But I’m also pretty sure this way you can use libraries for other language like python. Really though, I should have done some research before typing this.

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