This Xcode iPad app can make you enjoy the Mac


For some reason, a segment of the iOS developer community would love to have Xcode (the IDE for macOS, iOS, and other Apple platforms) on the iPad. An enterprising soul created a proof of concept for it, and – that’s Something.

Software developer Louis D’hauwe took on the task of creating Xcode for iPad as a side project. He also has legs. The app supports side-by-side and windowed views for iPad, and has a familiar file tree in a sidebar. The application launch screen is a list of the projects you are working on.

But maybe this is where the magic ends. As D’hauwe notes, the code created in this Xcode for iPad concept is compiled on a Mac, “which acts as a remote server.” It says it “generates an .ipa which is downloaded by the Mac”, which is then installed on an iPad.

In a subsequent tweet, D’hauwe said that the Xcode iPad app will allow developers to write code on a mobile device and compile it directly on a Mac server. In his opinion, suddenly there is no longer a need for a Mac.

But the project is also patched. It uses D’hauwe’s Savanna mobile IDE (built for the Cub programming language) and regular expressions for syntax highlighting. It also requires raw XML editing; there is no storyboard support.

There is a lot to unwrap with this. It is a very interesting tool. It’s also not the one most developers would want as an end-to-end app building tool. Storyboards work great in this Xcode for iPad project, but there is no visual editor. This is great for making minor adjustments, but creating in an appropriate design environment is much faster (and probably gives better results).

But as a way to pick an Xcode project on the fly, this might be just what we need. If you’re the type to take an iPad on vacation instead of a Mac, Xcode for iPad means those inspirational moments could deliver instant results instead of notes.

Even so, for many professionals, there is simply no replacement for the Mac. It is much more powerful, has a suitable keyboard, and allows access to other professional applications (such as Sketch).

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