RT Cunningham

Web Development on an Android Tablet is Going to be Difficult

android tablet web development I’m looking to the future when I think about web development on an Android tablet. I could probably use a tablet instead of a laptop computer but I won’t be doing that any time soon.

I can get laptop computers for under $300.00 that will do the job just fine. In fact, the last three I’ve owned were all under $300.00 each. A decent tablet with a decent keyboard could cost more than a third of that. Without being a third as good, I might add.

Installing the BlueStacks Android emulator allows me to experiment. I can see firsthand how difficult it would be to do all my web development on an actual Android tablet. I wouldn’t even try it on anything smaller.

Web Development with an Android Web Server

Using the local host for web development is a given. Using anything less than a laptop computer isn’t. Last night I started testing the related Android applications on BlueStacks.

I examined a few web server applications from the Google Play Store. I think KSWEB Pro for $3.99 is the best choice for the web server component. You can choose from Lighttpd, Apache or Nginx. Almost everything else you need is included in the application. Unless you actually want to use your tablet as a server, I recommend ignoring everything else other than PHP and MySQL.

Web Development with Android Clients

As I mentioned when I wrote about an SSH tunnel, ConnectBot works well for SSH access. I converted my PuTTY public key to an OpenSSH public key with PuTTYgen. The only issue I had with ConnectBot was that I had to open the padlock in the settings so it wouldn’t look for a password.

AndFTP works fine as an FTP client. It even supports TLS (SSH) connections. It isn’t as good as FileZilla or other FTP clients but it’s good enough.

Web Development with Android Text Editors

I wouldn’t use an HTML editor (or IDE) for anything, but a good text editor is a necessity. QuickEdit Text Editor Pro (for $2.99) is at least as good as Notepad++ on my laptop computer. The free version doesn’t support tabs and would make it difficult to move from file to file while editing.

I tested a couple of other decently-rated text editors but they didn’t even come close to this one.

My Definition of Decent  for Android Tablets

If your mobile device of choice uses an Apple or Microsoft operating system, I can’t help you. I’ll never use either. Never have and never will. Their branding makes everything overpriced. That’s not to say you can’t find overpriced Android devices.

I won’t buy Samsung branded devices either. Again, overpriced. I try to ignore branding and focus on specifications. Right now, I can get a 10.5-inch or 11.5-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard for under $100. It isn’t a brand most people would recognize. I can, but I won’t. I want to wait for the tablet market to mature a bit more and I would want a bigger keyboard for my fat fingers.

The whole point of this exercise was to see if I could make it all work for me as a web development set up, and I could. That doesn’t mean I will. The future is uncertain, of course, and I just need to know if I could do things this way if I have no other choice.

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RT Cunningham
September 20, 2018
Web Development