TechWeb

Diet Coda: Visual Tour Of An iPad Code Editor

May 30, 2012 (08:05 AM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=240001141


Panic, Inc., promotes Diet Coda with the tag line, "Make quick web fixes to go." However, I have found to be potentially much more useful than that in the few days I have used it. The adaptive keyboard layouts, code completion, and Bluetooth keyboard support work well for coding sessions longer than just a quick fix. Backed by reference documentation on a companion smartphone or even an Amazon Kindle, Diet Coda might tempt some developers to leave their notebooks behind.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda..




Diet Coda can work with multiple servers. You can see the two servers I regularly work with here. Tapping the plus (+) thumbnail lets you add more servers.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




Remote code editing using FTP or SFTP is configured separately from SSH terminal access to the same server. You can see the FTP/SFTP configuration screen for remote file editing here. An arbitrary file name can be assigned to identify each server. The usual information required for remote FTP access is provided in the rest of the configuration screen. Ports other than the standard TCP port 21 are supported.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




Configuration for SSH terminal access is similar to FTP access. You also have the option to indicate a command that should be run after the login, whether autocompletion is turned on or off, and define a custom prompt string. Configuring for a port other than the usual 22 for SSH access is also supported.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




The paneled window view of a remote server lets you select a file for editing ("Edit in Diet Coda"). You can also manipulate remote files and directories from this screen view.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




Diet Coda provides color coded highlighting for CSS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby. It can edit any plain text file. However, code highlighting and other kinds of coding support for other popular languages such as Perl and Python are not available.

Diet Coda's keyboard adds several keys to the visual keyboard that are very important to programmers such as Undo, indent, and left-and-right cursor movement keys. When in the mode to work with PHP code, it also displays additional keys such as "//" (line comment), ";", and "$" that are specifically useful for PHP coding. This eliminates the need to switch to the symbols plus numerals key view, which is extremely important to maintain coding rhythm. The app also provides support for storing blocks of code in clips. Several are predefined for the PHP code mode.

Important note: The green check button in the upper right of the display saves your current editing session to the remote server.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




The Diet Coda editor's JavaScript keyboard is slightly different from its PHP keyboard with the addition of keys for curly braces. We wish Panic would add curly braces to the PHP keyboard, too, and replace the parentheses keys with ones for the angle brackets frequently used in HTML and JavaScript code.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




I've been showing Diet Coda in landscape viewing mode up until this point. However, it also works in portrait mode if you need to work with a remote file while standing up. You can see in this screenshot that it also supports iOS 5's split keyboard for quick standup editing.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




The SSH remote terminal component also has its own custom keyboard as seen in this screenshot. Diet Coda works with Bluetooth wireless keyboards, too. If you use one (see the first slide), the entire screen area is available for editing or terminal use. Note that Diet Coda is not limited for remote work with UNIX and Linux servers. Apple's Mac OS X includes an SSH server for remote access. And, there are free Open Source SSH servers that can be used with Microsoft Windows Server, too. freeSSHd is the one I use with Microsoft Windows. It has improved quite a bit since I first used it back in 2008. This could allow you to, for example, work with Microsoft PowerShell from your iPad.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda..




In these last few screenshots we return to Diet Coda's code editor options. The app's document settings (gear icon in the upper right) provide options for individual syntax modes for CSS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby. Panic says there is "more to come." It also supports end-of-line character conventions for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows as well as international character encoding options.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




Note the drop-down menu for setting the syntax mode for CSS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP, or Ruby.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




Forward and backward search and replace can be brought up by tapping the magnifying glass icon.


We also wrote a review of Diet Coda. Click here to read it.




Finally, text clips can be defined globally, by site, and for the current language syntax.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




Once you are in the editor, Diet Coda interprets what you type and displays possible completions for code words and function names.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.




If a recognized function is typed, Diet Coda displays the function's input variable type.


Click here to read our full review of Diet Coda.