Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/06/ipad_apps/
119 iPad apps for admins, coders, and geeks
Stuff for web monkeys, iPad junkies, EE flunkies
Part three This – the third installment of apps for admins, coders and geeks – is our final foray into demonstrably useful apps for Apple's "magical and revolutionary" tablet.
Our first installment focused on iPad apps for sysadmins. Our second offered coders a collection of training tools, text editors, and other tasty bits. This time out, we've got web monkeys, iPad junkies, and EE flunkies in our sights, along with anyone interested in the end of life as we know it.
As before, we suggest that you take a quick look at our first go-round, and read our discussion on testing, ratings, and the suppression of high expectations for apps with such low prices.
It has been argued that devotees of the open source content-management platform Drupal can be likened to members of a cult. We think that's a wee bit overstated, but if you think you can pop three bucks and still maintain your objectivity, check out droo-puhl 101 HD ($2.99, five stars), an introductory training app with 20 videos showing you how to build your first Drupal website.
Over two hours of droo-puhl 101 HD's training videos can be your initiation into the Drupal cult
Maybe you're not yet ready to take on the a full-scale CMS-creation project. Maybe you are, in fact, a rank beginner when it comes to all thing webby. A good place to start might be Website Master - Learn HTML By Example ($1.99, three and a half stars), which will take you by the hand and explain such basics as HTML tags and syntax, all in a friendly interactive app.
After you've mastered the basics — well, after you mastered more than the mere basics — take a look at Web Services ($9.99), which will guide you to an understanding of XMl, SOAP, and JSON.
As the old saying goes, "Steal from the best; ignore the rest" — and a convenient way to crib ideas is to look at other sites' source code. Unfortunately, one of the weaknesses of the iPad's Safari browser is its lack of a View Source command. Fortunately, Code - Source Code Viewer ($1.99, two and a half stars) not only displays a site's source, but has syntax coloring and a search function.
iHTMLplus (free, three stars) lets you type in a URL and view the site's source code on the left of your iPad in landscape mode and a non-zoomable-but-pannable (is that a word?) web page on the right, but without the other niceties of Code - Source Code Viewer — but, hey, it's free.
The free viewer iHTMLplus displays code on the left and a non-zoomable page on the right
Source Viewer XL ($1.99, five stars) does much the same, but adds syntax coloring, plus CSS, link, and image info. If you want to look at more than mere source code, Web Analyzer (99¢) gives you a quick rundown on Flash content, scripts, images, frames, and the like.
But if you want to do more than simply examine code, you'll need an editor such as HTML Edit ($1.99, one and a half stars). Unfortunately, it's still a work in progress — as its developer says, "There's still work to be done, enhancements and improvements to be made." They've made a strong start though, so you might want to keep your eye on its release notes.
Markup for iPad ($9.99, two and a half stars) will let you connect to your website's over FTP and make simple text edits. It'll also render thumbnails of your pages and upload images from you photo library — but, like HTML Edit, seems to be off to a bit of a rough start. Web Page Developer ($5.99, three and a half stars) is another relatively ambitious work in progress, but its latest upgrade (version 2.5) has a strong features set and seems to have squashed a few nasty bugs.
Among the more popular editor and site-management tools is Gusto ($6.99, three and a half stars), an almost-there app that has a solid fan base, despite such niggles as its lack of syntax coloring and auto-wrap. In our experience it's a bit balky, but we're more generous than one reviewer, who faulted it for not including Dreamweaver-class capabilities. Note to complainer: Gusto is seven bucks; Dreamweaver is $399.
And then there's KyTekHTMLeditor ($9.99, two stars), which is a bit of an odd bird. It's not a true HTML editor — instead, it lets you create pages in a WYSIWYG interface. It's a bit bare-bones for its ten-buck price tag, although it does work directly with Google Docs.
And while you're entering code, if you can remember the HTML, ASCII, ISO/IEC 8859-1, and Unicode UTF8 codes for most any character you'll ever need, you won't need Entities HD (99¢, three stars). But if you're a normal human, you will. Quick, what the HTML for ∴? How about the Unicode for ♥?
Our memory isn't perfect — and neither is yours. That's why there's Entities
But there's more to web work than mere editing — checking your Google Analytics info with Analytics for iPad (free, two and a half stars), for example, or using Blasphemous robots.txt (99¢, three and a half stars) to create Robots Exclusion Protocol robots.txt files to help search-engine spiders to catgorize your website, and FTP Deluxe HD (99¢, two stars) to get your files to and from your FTP site.
Speaking of search-engine spiders, SEO Analyst (free, one and a half stars) is a quick-and-dirty way to search a web page for keywords and other info, and SEO Manager ($9.99) purports to be able to analyze your Google keyword rankings. As its developer boasts: "No Google API with useless shuffled results is used!"
Finally, there are of course a gaggle of other internet-related apps in the App Store. Check out, for example, the PuTTY-based pTerm — SSH, Telnet Client and Terminal Emulator ($4.99, three stars), and both SuperPing ($1.99, two and a half stars) and the minimalist iPing : Network Tool (99¢, three stars).
iPing turns your glitzy, multi-touch iPad into a dumb terminal with an added ping-time graph
And if you don't know what SSH, telnet, or ping are, you'll have no need for those three last apps, pobrecito.
DataAnalysis (free, three and a half stars) isn't strictly an engineering app per se, but we want it in this roundup because it's one of the slickest, most useful free apps that we've found in our expeditions through the muck and marvels of the App Store. Why its users have given it only three and a half stars as of this writing is a puzzlement.
DataAnalysis is good-looking, powerful, versatile — and, mirabile dictu, free
This straightforward app plots and analyzes most any data that can be expressed in x,y pairs. Said data can be entered using the keyboard, imported through the iPad's Mail app, or loaded through iTunes, then bent to your will in a ton of different ways. If you enjoy numbers, you owe it to yourself to install this free gift.
A couple of other number-mungers that you might find of more-specific interest are Transmission Line Calc ($2.99, three stars), which — as you might have guessed — will help you with day-to-day RF transmission-line calculations, and e-ENGineer ($1.99), which will crank out answers to a number of common electrical engineeting calculations.
Speaking of things EE, the developers of iCircuit ($9.99, four stars), a respected analog and digital circuit simulator and analyzer, refer to it as the "the premier iPad and iPhone app for designing and experimenting with circuits." We have no reason to doubt them — and it's pretty damn good-looking, as well.
We found ourselves a bit tripped up by the English-as-a-second-language description of the transistor-designing TrCalc ($1.99), although it appears to be worthy of checking out, and we found electrical engineering 1 ($7.99, four stars) to be an entry-level reference for such EE basics as circuits, digital logic, electric fields, power, Fourier-transform pairs, and Laplace-transform pairs.
It's unlikely that electrical engineering 1 will change you life — maybe invest in a soldering iron?
Over on the audio side of things, dB Calc (99¢, three stars) is a straightforward calculator that'd be useful if your working life requires making decibel-related conversions. Nothing fancy, to be sure, but neither are decibel-related conversions.
Function Generator Pad ($2.99) is a 13-channel combo audio function generator and audio sweep generator, with channel-panning, frequencies from one to 20KHz, and wave forms that include sine, triangle, sawtooth, and square, plus the ability to generate both white and pink noise. Not insanely useful, maybe, but clearly worth three simoleans for audio buffs such as your humble Reg reporter.
Spectrum Pad lets you toggle its logarithmic mode
You know you're a proud, self-realized geek when you simply must know what's going on under the hood of any electronic device that you own — even if the information you divine is not of any particularly practical value.
Pad Info (free - for now, two and a half stars), for example, will fill you in on just about all the basics about your iPad's system state: memory breakdown, battery life, general device info, storage space, and address info. For the average user, the stats are just of passing interest, but for an iPad-app developer, they can come in mighty handy.
Pad Info provides — what else? — info about you iPad, all for free (though you'll see rotating ads)
Pad info is by no means alone in the iPad system-monitoring sphere. System Activity Monitor for iPad ($2.99, three stars), does pretty much the same duty, but the developer proudly states that it frees iPad memory when it launches — well, actually, they say "FREES MEMORY AUTOMATICALLY ON START." They seem awfully proud of that capability.
System Manager for iPad ($1.99, four stars) adds a few features such as battery-saving tips, detailed background-process monitoring, more-complete wireless info (including connection speed), and other fun stuff. It's also, in our opinion, the most attractive of the system-monitoring bunch.
Finally, there's SystemInfo for iPad ($1.99, four stars), which also provides a goodly amount of info, including estimates of the amount of battery life you have remaining for a few different usage scenarios. It's a bit garish for our refined tastes, but as the Romans would say, "De gustibus non est disputandum."
We're puzzled by the cough-drop-on-foil in the upper right corner of SystemInfo's Processes Information screen
If you don't need a full-scale system-info app, there are a few specialized freebies available, as well: MAC Address (free, three stars) provides your UDID, internal and external IP addresses, and — as might be guessed — your MAC address. Two Toasters UDID Finder/Sender (free, three stars) has a long name for an app so short on abilities: it displays your iPad's UDID and lets you email it. UDID Tool (free, four and a half stars) does the same, but with a more-compact moniker.
We're not even going to bother to list all the various and sundry battery-monitoring apps available — we counted well over a dozen. We confess to not examining them all, but we did discover two, Battery HD Pro (99¢, three and a half stars) and Battery Acid - Battery Health Monitor for iPad ($1.99, three stars), that let you adjust their time-available estimates for different usage scenarios based upon the health and age of your battery.
We'd be remiss, however, if we didn't point out that Battery HD Pro has a lovely bubbling-battery animation, and that Battery Acid lets you use your own photos as background images. Both meaningless-though-fun features, to be sure, but Battery Acid wins our love due to its developer's name: ALL CAPS APPS, LLC.
Battery HD Pro may not improve your overall iPad experience, but it will let you pick its battery-image color
"Geek", by the way, is in no way a pejorative — the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, for example, defines the term as "an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity."
We will extend that definition to include the type of person who would appreciate our penultimate offering, CraterSizeXL (99¢), which calculates how much damage an asteroid of your choice of size, composition, and velocity would inflict upon Earth should it come for a high-speed visit.
Just for the proverbial shits 'n' giggles, CraterSizeXL calculates burn severity at expanding distances from impact, and expresses global havoc in units of gigajoules, kilotons of TNT, and the equivalent number of Little Boys dropped upon Hiroshima.
Devs: 'Want to know the kind of damage an impacting asteroid might do to Earth or another planet?' Who wouldn't?
Our final geeky treat, weighing in at 119 (apps, that is, not Little Boys), is Pi to 1 Million Digits for iPad (99¢). Simplicity itself, this app lists every true geek's favorite irrational number, π, to a million places.
And, yes, we looked up the proper HTML entity needed to display the mathematical symbol for 3.141592653589793238462-and-so-on-and-so-on-and-so-on using by using one of our previously revealed web-monkey recommendations, Entities HD.
Eight hundred and twelve pages of π — with bookmarks, no less
After 119 apps, it's time to declare this case to be closed — and the verdict is incontrovertible: there's more for the discriminating iPad owner in Apple's quarter-million-app online repository than merely fart app after fart app after fart app after fart app after fart app and fart app after fart app after fart app after fart app after... ®