Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/23/ipad_apps/

119 iPad apps for admins, coders and geeks

Useful || fun ! pointless; // for coders*

By Rik Myslewski

Posted in Phones, 23rd August 2010 04:38 GMT

Part two: Previously, The Reg pointed sysadmins toward a slew of iPad apps that might brighten their workaday worlds. The target market for today's second installment of our iPad-app round-up is coders.

If you missed our first installment of "119 iPad apps for admins, coders, and geeks", you might want to take a quick peek at its intro, and read our caveats on testing, ratings, and expectations.

The same rules apply to this week's episode, in which we delve into inexpensive apps for programmer training, code editing, user-interface development, programming-language reference, and two iPad-based clocks designed to tickle your inner geek.

Training

We all have to start somewhere, and the journey of a thousand lines of code starts with the first keystroke — so here are a few training tools available in the App Store, some to get you started, some to ease you along your way, and some to test or hone your smarts.

Said testing and honing is what C++ Cheat Sheet ($1.99, four and a half stars) is designed to do. According to its developer, this code sample–laden app is good for test preparation or for "reviewing for an interview." We would, however, have appreciated a keyword search.

C++ Cheat Sheet

C++ Cheat Sheet offers proof positive that coders have class

If you want to step back to basics, Learn C ($1.99, three stars) can give you help in the ur-language of ANSI C. If you spend your days wrestling with C++ or Objective C, Learn C can offer a pleasant stroll down memory lane.

An arguably more practical education can be had with JAVA Technologies ($9.99). According to this app's developer, in it you'll find info on both basic and advanced Java, basic and advanced swings, servlets and applets, security, and J2EE.

The same developer who put together JAVA Technologies, Impressol, offers SQL & PL/SQL ($9.99) and UNIX Programming ($5.99). We'll leave it up to you to determine what those two tutorials cover. Shouldn't be hard.

If you're not ready for quite as deep a dive as is offered by SQL & PL/SQL, iSQL Lite (99¢, two and a half stars) is, well, lite.

As might be assumed, the App Store has a few apps that focus on coding for the iPad/Phone/Pod. SDK Tutorials HD ($1.99, four stars) got high marks from App Store users for its tutorials and code snippets, although we found its UI — especially its black-on-blue text — more fussy than friendly.

SDK Tutorials HD

SDK Tutorials HD has good info buried in an eye-straining design

Both App Workshop ($4.99, three and a half stars) and CodingPad ($5.99, two and a half stars) are also iPad/Phone/Pod-centric, and both receive mixed reviews. But at least their textual info is easy to read.

Editing

When we talk with coders, we've discovered that their choice of editor is a highlly personal one — jEdit, UltraEdit, BBEdit ("It doesn't suck.®"), whatever. We'd be spanked if we didn't also mention Emacs and Vim, although we'll undoubtedly be spanked anyway for leaving out the rest of the dozens of editors out there.

Whatever your editor of choice may be, however, don't expect it to be replaced by anything offered on the iPad. With apologies to BBEdit, we're talking bare-bones.

That said, CodeToGo (99¢, three and a half stars) is well worth a buck to take a gander at. Although its marketing rap says "Finally, you can write and run code in your favorite programming language, on your iOS device!", you're not actually running the code on your iPad. Instead, CodeToGo links up with Ideone, an online compiler and debugger.

What CodeToGo lets you do is write code in any of 46 different languages, from Ada to the oddness that is Whitespace — then test it over an online link with Ideone. Think of CodeToGo more like a code sketchbook with proof-of-concept checking.

CodeToGo

Yes, that top-listed language here in CodeToGo is, indeed, Brainfuck

More of an editor than the entertainment and exploration apps that is CodeToGo, for i - Code Editor for the iPad ($9.99, two and a half stars) is a syntax-highlighting editor into which you can load code from your Wi-Fi–connected computer and edit away — a code-jotting carry-along.

InCode ($2.99, three and a half stars) can't mange syntax highlighting, but its tabbed interface and folder structure eases the chore of keeping track of your projects. Don't think of it as a code editor per se, but as a text editor with decent file-management capabilities.

InCode

InCode makes it easy to import and manage code files from any source through iTunes

Finally, Mides IDE ($1.99, two stars) is a PHP IDE that's in need of some work — wait for version 2.0 before you take a look — and The Lemon ADE (free) is a PHP ADE — abstract syntax tree development environment — with an unusual interface that's worth checking out, considering the price.

Coders' Calcs

If you search for "calculator" among iPad apps in the App Store, you'll discover well over 300, ranging from simple arithmetic helpers to specialized apps for finance, DASD tracks, solar eclipses, and more. We have two specifically designed for coders.

We particularly like 64 Bit Calculator HD (99¢, four and a half stars). Features include decimal, hexadecimal, octal, and binary conversions; ASCII and Unicode character displays; bitwise logic; unsigned 1's and 2's complements; byte and word flipping; and the ability to type in ASCII and Unicode strings; and more. Not bad for a buck, not bad at all.

64 Bit Calculator HD

64 Bit Calculator HD can provide multiple equivalencies for an ASCII El Reg

CoderCalc (99¢, three stars) has standard or reverse Polish notation modes and a multiline stack display. A scratch pad lets you flick around stack values, and a host of scientific, engineering, and programming functions are also provided. As with 64 Bit Calculator HD, CoderClac is a mere 99¢, so don't whine if it doesn't write your code for you as well.

User-Interface Tools

We turned up three apps that provide help in designing iPad user interfaces — that is, apps that let you drag and drop UI elements onto simulated displays to create mock-ups. Unfortunately, we can only recommend one — and with reservations.

App Layout ($4.99, five stars) provides a broad range of interface elements that you can drag onto iPad/Phone/Pod templates, resize them, rotate them, add text to buttons and other elements, and more. Unfortunately you can't save a project in mid-development, although you can send a snapshot of it to your iPad's photo library or email it. Also, manipulating small UI element can be frustrating — at least for our ham hands. One odd "feature": a choice of four background tunes — and, yes, you can mute them.

App Layout

App Layout won't generate code, but it will let you mock up an app's UI

Don't bother with the more-expensive App Designer for iPad ($9.99, two stars) or bargain-basement App Designer HD (99¢, one star). Neither are worth the trouble.

Of more-general interest are two apps that can help you define colors to use in your UI designs. Blasphemous RGB/HSB/Hex ($1.99, four stars) will provide colors based on those three systems when you set their values using sliders — and as an added nicety it generates six complementary colors for your edification and enjoyment, and provides their hex values.

Parsley (99¢) also provides color values, but works by letting you import images into your iPad, then zero in on areas of them to obtain their color values. If you install Parsely on your iPhone, by the way, you can use its camera to capture the images to be analyzed.

Finally, Touches - Touch Event Recorder (free, two and a half stars) is an odd little freebie that allows you to record, then play back touch gestures, then use the coordinates that the app displays in your gesture-based app's code.

Reference

Reference apps for the iPad are mostly document collections — at a comparatively svelte pound and a half, an iPad is easier to lug around than a ton of manuals.

In addition to the document viewers, however, a couple of more-complete reference works stand out — Code Monkey ($7.99, three and a half stars), for example. This barrel o' fun includes a UML editor and programmers notebook, an RPN-capable calculator ("in the spirit of the old HP calculators," the developer says) with hex, octal, decimal, base-10, and binary support, a regex "cheat sheet", and more.

Speaking of regular expressions, a buck will get you RegEx Pad (99¢), which its developer describes as an "evaluation and learning tool".

Other reference apps that go the more-traditional docment-based route have names that pretty much describe what they contain: JavaDocReader ($1.99, two and a half stars), jQuery Reference ($1.99, four stars), Python Documentation (99¢, three and a half stars), and PHP ($1.99, five stars) and PhpRiot.com Web Developer Tools (free, two stars), which both include include bookmarking capabilities.

And then there's developer Bob Withers' jRef series, which includes the complete documentation for a laundry list of Java products. In each case, all the documentation is stored on your iPad — you don't need an internet connection to access some online repository.

jRef Java 7.0

The jRef series may not be pretty, but it's chock full of truth

Finally, here's one last tool that we're placing in the Reference category simply because we couldn't figure out where else to stick it: OpenGL Extensions Viewer (free, two stars), which will display the vendor, version, renderer, and extensions of a device's OpenGL ES 3D accelerator — which could be mighty useful if you're developing for multiple iPad/Phone/Pod versions.

Time Keepers

Any coder worth his or her salt has a sense of history, an appreciation of elegance, and a bit of lunacy engendered by all those solo hours spent grinding away, line by line by line.

What better way, then, to keep track of those hours than by watching them pass by in the guise of a circa–early 1970s Pong Clock (99¢, two and a half stars). Witness two animated paddles fighting to the death — and watch as the minutes or hours are incremented when the appropriate paddle misses. Multiple colors are available and speed is adjustable, as are a number of other parameters.

Pong Clock

Pong Clock — if you don't love it, it's impossible explain why we do

We really, really wanted to recommend 0'Clock (99¢), an iPad version of the famous LED Binary Clock offered by ThinkGeek and others, which displays the time in a binary grid. Unfortunately, 0'Clock currently and consistently crashes after only five minutes of use — hardly a "feature" for a time-telling device. But there's good news: 0'Clock's developer tells us that a debugged version has been submitted to Apple and should be available in the App Store "very soon." Check it out.

And that's it for this week's installment of "119 iPad apps for admins, coders, and geeks" — and we've only made it up to number 79. Tune in next week for the final forty, a collection of apps for engineers, web monkeys, and anyone who wants to feel the pulse of their iPad's system or to calculate the devastation that would be wreaked by an asteroid impacting earth, calculated to the nearest Hiroshima. ®

* Useful or fun, not pointless (for coders)