Programming on the iPad

It seems that many programmers who are actually programming on iPads are writing code that runs elsewhere, either on a web server, or on a remote system they SSH into. That doesn’t describe what I do anymore. My non-work programming has shifted almost entirely to Swift, due to my obvious love of Apple platforms and my love of the language. This makes the iPad Pro less than useful for my programming needs.

I code in Xcode. Developers have been awaiting Xcode for iPad for years now, despite nearly nothing coming out of Cupertino to indicate that this will ever happen. Xcode on iPad would be great, I guess, but it seems too big and too complicated for me to even contemplate on iOS. I don’t think I would even want to develop full apps on the iPad, but I would love to work on models, custom subclasses to iOS controls, and creating unit tests, even when I’m away from my MacBook.

I know Swift Playgrounds exists, but I really wish there was something more fully-featured than it available. It doesn’t let me export my work to anywhere I can use it, which is the largest problem. I know I could code Swift on an simple text editor on the iPad, but what I really want is a compiler. Coding in Xcode is like having a conversation with the compiler, and seeing what it will allow you to do. I like that. I wish I could do that on the iPad, perhaps in a multi-file playground and export it to a Git client like Working Copy. I could get a ton of work done that way, without even trying to build and test a full app.

Perhaps Apple will make me happy this fall, when iOS 11 is finalized, or next year with iOS 12.