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“Real Work” and iPad

At some point, the difference vanishes. Most people never did “real work”, by whatever metric, on their computer; they were happy to browse web pages, send emails, Skype friends, whatever. Yet the redoubt of “real work” is defended valiantly, perhaps by those whose jobs depend not on the work, but on the tools used for it – the PC. It’s very notable how often those defending the “real work” divide are also systems administrators of some sort. It’s as if, like the London cabbie, they felt their employment was in peril, while everyone else adapts around them.

For myself, I ask “What do I need to be able to do my job?” LAMP environment? I set up a Digital Ocean droplet that I can SSH/SFTP into. Sass and Grunt? All set up on the droplet. FTP client and code editor? Coda for iPad is fantastic. But I’m a front-end developer, so the browser is a key tool in my toolbox. I need a web inspector to see what styles are applied to an element. I need a way to test responsive websites across many sizes. I need a JavaScript console to look for errors and help with debugging. There are a few apps for viewing the source of a page, but that doesn’t quite scratch my itch. There are a few apps with a simple console, but none of them really work well with the iPad’s big screen. They all seem built for iPhone and enbiggened for iPad.

So what is a front-end web developer to do? Before Thanksgiving I started doing a lot of research and over Thanksgiving weekend (which was nice and extended for me) I started to build something special.

I call it Web Tools. Keep it simple, right? To start (1.0), Web Tools has a scalable web view that allows you to test any width you want and a web inspector to allow you to easily drill down through the DOM tree and see what styles are applied to each element. And this is just the start. More great features are coming to Web Tools in the coming months, including a powerful JavaScript console.

Building websites on the iPad, even an iPad mini like mine, is a joy when you have the right tools. So I am working to bring desktop-level tools to the iPad to remove excuses. As Twitter says, it’s the #yearofticci.

Web Tools launched today and can be had for a $5.99 introductory price. Head over to the App Store andbuy a copy!