Today is a good day to code

Coding Using Mides the PHP IDE for iPhone

Posted: December 31st, 1969 | Author: | Filed under: iPhone, java, mides, Programming, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Coding Using Mides the PHP IDE for iPhone

Picture of IrvinSo I have been checking out twitter, and it seems that people think that I am either crazy or sadistic for writing Mides so that one could code using PHP, JavaScript, and HTML on iPhone. The truth is that I am neither, well perhaps a little crazy.

What made me write it is that I was thinking it would be awesome if I could work on my sites on the iPhone. Everyone has downtime every once and a while where you wish you could do a little work. Mides does that for me. Working on projects here and there, it is amazing how much one can get done.

The way I came up with it was actually working in NetBeans and playing around with the code-collapse. That started the thought process that lead to the code collapsing metaphor present in Mides. I know that some hate it, and others love it, but for me it seemed to be a quick easy way to drill down into your code. Also, an additional benefit was that it allowed me to focus on the class, function, or loop that I was writing.

To me, the keyboard has never really been too much of an obstacle. I understand that for others it can be a problem, but having had my iPhone since it came out, the last time I thought about the keyboard was about two weeks after I had bought it. I really wanted a flexible bluetooth keyboard for blogging from the phone, but later I really didn't need it.

While not perfect, the code completion does help a lot, and once you get used to it writing markup can be really quick. I will keep working on ways, other than the ones already present, to allow Mides to accelerate text entry.

Some of the things that frustrate me while using it, even though I wrote it, are that I can't easily look up reference material on code that I am writing without leaving the code. Clearly copy and paste would be nice, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it in a subsequent release. The ability to debug JavaScript, and a real HTTP server running locally would be awesome, to help with resolving absolute paths. Ideally, I'd be able to process PHP directly on the iPhone, but that is complicated for a number of reasons.

Many of these features will be coming, but actually most of the effort has gone into thinking about how to achieve the complexity of a full modern IDE, while keeping the UI cluttered. I feel that I have succeeded in many places, where others need work. It is my aim, however insane, to build Mides into as feature complete an IDE as is possible given the hardware and software stack provided by Apple.

I used Mides to build the mides site, including all of the canvas tag work. I think I only did about 5% of the coding on the Mac. There were some interesting incidents working with alpha quality code trying to build a site on the iPhone.

Well, feedback is always welcome, and I am not above listening to rational criticism. I want Mides to be useful to everyone, and am looking forward to the day when I can do just about all of my work from my phone!