The iPad has a reputation as being only for media consumption. It wasn’t possible to really create with the device. Any serious computer work had to be done on your laptop or desktop. I needed to prove this wrong.
This write-up has some bias. I very much want my iPad to be a computer replacement, for battery life, size, and ease of use alone. I set out to see if I could develop and maintain a website using only the iPad.
The project chosen was Quotey.net. A WordPress based site filled with quotes, poems, and essays. To be clear this was created from scratch on the iPad. There was no previous version I was updating
- Google – purchase domain
- Media Temple Grid-Server – host website
- PlainText – getting thoughts to ‘paper’ and saving blog posts
- SketchBook Pro – minor sketches and outlining of website
- Note Taker HD – notes on the site as well as writing on mock ups
- Textastic – WordPress Theme development connected through FTP to server
- WordPress – for a management system
- Whiteboard Framework – for a more rapid theme development
Getting the domain and server set up.
I purchased the domain name on Google and already had the server space on Media Temple. Media Temple has a nice one-click install program that set up a generic WordPress install on my domain. All this was done through Safari on the iPad.
Planning the website.
I knew the site would be simple. Mostly text-based, no images. I used Sketchbook Pro to draw mock-ups of the site. Get an idea for the look and feel I wanted. PlainText was used for any notes I needed (features to add, colors used, etc.). Note Taker HD was also used occasionally to make corrections to mock-ups.
There wasn’t any wire-framing needed for the site. There are Apps for this though.
Building and coding
Here is where I strayed from the path a bit. I installed the Whiteboard Framework on my WordPress installation. It’s made for more rapid development, not styling is included in it. To install the framework, I uploaded it through FTP on my computer, not the iPad (see additional notes for further explanation).
All the HTML, CSS, and PHP work was done in Textastic. I can’t speak highly enough about using this App. I connected directly through FTP to my theme files on WordPress, edited them, and view changes on Safari. My only complaint was the onscreen keyboard. It bcan be hard to use for extended time. I would strongly recommend using a wireless keyboard with the iPad.
Launch and additional notes
You can see the finished project now on Quotey.net. I have no plans to develop this website on software outside of my iPad.
Since this project, I have developed several other websites on the iPad. Most of this is updating and maintaining code, not starting from scratch. My workflow and app use has changed. Almost all of the planning phase is done in Evernote. It keeps everything in one place and is easier to manage. If I need to draw something out, good old paper and pen is used.
To use the Whiteboard Framework, I had to download and upload it to WordPress on my laptop. I haven’t figured out a good way to do this with the iPad. It is a shortcut step to getting the initial documents on the server. There is no reason you couldn’t go the extra mile and create the theme from scratch entirely on the iPad in Textastic (or using the now bundled WordPress Twenty-Eleven theme).