First impressions of a developer going full time on an iPad

Written by Eric L. Barnes - - Aggregated on Friday December 14, 2018
Tags: general, apple, ipad, vim

Since breaking my hand I’ve been trying to find an ideal workflow using the iPad as a primary device and today marks my first complete week doing it. Bellow are some of my quick observations.

First, iOS apps that only open links in their web view can die in a fire. I’ve never been so frustrated at clicking links then not being logged in, then hitting open in Safari only to open the same login page again. Loosing the place I originally wanted to visit.

I know many developers can’t get enough screen real estate but I love the tiny screen. Running every app with no choice but full screen is awesome. Sure you can do full screen on the Mac but it isn’t as smooth. I’ve never felt so focused by having everything except what I’m working on out of sight.

I’ve embraced learning Vim and I set up a dev server, so I just ssh into it, and do all my work. It is surprisingly smooth and feels snappy. The only downside is I can’t find a console for frontend debugging anywhere. Luckily for me this week has been doing a lot of bug fixes and pull requests, so I’ve been able to get by but that is going to be a problem if I can’t find a solution.

The battery life is amazing. I’m working 8 hours then doing Laravel News tasks at night and still going to bed with 20-30% battery life left. I could never get this out of my MacBook.

I originally got the Apple Pencil for drawing cartoons, but it’s been surprisingly useful as a point and click mouse.

As I said in the opening these are my quick obsverations after spending a week with it as my primary machine, and I’ll write more about my development workflow next week when I’ve spent more time with it.


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