How To Turn Your Android Tablet Into A Web Development Environment

I may never substitute my laptop with a tablet computer. I will never substitute my desktop computer for a laptop. But all of these things can be useful in different ways. This guide will show you how you can potentially use your Android device to write code for web development and test it.

I use the term “Android device” loosely. While this guide works for phones and tablets alike, I would recommend it more for a tablet. Simply because I can’t imagine myself coding on a tiny screen.

For the best results, I would also recommend getting one of those cases with a Bluetooth keyboards. This will effectively transform your tablet into a mini laptop.

There are just two things necessary for coding for the web. A text editor and a webserver. Lucky for us, there is an app for both of these things.

DroidEdit is a fantastic editor that provides syntax highlighting for a wide range of languages, but for our benefit: PHP, HTML, javascript and SQL are covered.

You can easily open and save files on your tablet and it is free! There is a Pro version that is not free which includes Dropbox support and STP/FTP support.

KSWeb 2.71 is what you can use for a webserver. It transforms your tablet into a webserver. If you have ever used LAMP, WAMP or XAMPP you will be familiar with how it works. It creates a folder that is used as the root directory and can be accessed via a web browser using by hitting “localhost”. In this case you have to hit “localhost:8080″.

It also comes with an SQL and can setup phpMyAdmin for you automatically. The latest version comes with PHP 5.4.11 (which at the time of writing is the very latest) but I am sure updates to the app are done as when PHP updates. An interesting feature would have been to allow the developer to choose between 5.4 and 5.3 to develop on.

The app is free to download and try for 5 days. But you must make an in-app purchase (of $2.99) to get a code to unlock full version. I found this annoying because I am not sure how it would handle it if I need to reinstall in the future.

But it is an excellent app in terms of the features that it provides everything that you need for developing web applications.

In the Android Play Store, you can easily find the Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers. I would still recomend testing on a real computer though.

You may need an app for browsing files and/or transferring from your memory stick. For this I would suggest the free ES File Explorer. This lets you look around your file system easily. Also Nexus Media Importer ($2.99) can be used on most tablets with version 3.2 and above to get files from a memory stick. Most apps of this nature require your device to be rooted. This is not the case for NMI.

So there you have it! Clicking the links will take you to the app websites. There a lot of apps out there that you can experiment with. These are just the ones that I have tried.


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