Building an app (or doing any other development work) using solely a tablet or other mobile device is not currently an efficient workflow. It’s possible to do it all - from wireframing to design to development to testing - which is a testament to how far mobile devices and apps have come, but the aggravation resulting from not being able to easily see network traffic and tweak CSS in-browser isn’t worth it. That being said, there were some aspects of using the tablet that I did enjoy. Hey, how about a couple of lists -
- Testing complex PHP and JS is just brutal.
- Using the “old school” method of tweaking CSS (adjust a number in text editor, save, switch to browser, reload, repeat as necessary) is unacceptable, with the advent of desktop browsers’ layout inspectors. What could take seconds to adjust on a desktop can take minutes in a browser.
- Lack of windows slows things down a little.
- Wireframing simple (and possibly complex) applications is quick and to the point. Lack of options and granularity can be liberating and let you focus on important things like flow, rather than trying to use the right button theme or making sure everything is perfectly lined up.
- Roughing out the HTML/JS/CSS framework is just as fast as on a desktop.
- So much nicer to use my finger to control things.
- The tablet form-factor recalls days of yore when “laptops” could be used on one’s lap and in all manner of positions.
Final assessment: I’m not going to try to build anything using solely mobile apps, but I will for sure use my tablet to take care of the simpler, more straightforward aspects of design and development. Troubleshoot a database connection? No. Sit on the back deck while I throw together a mental map or user flow? Absolutely.
Thanks for following along. This was a fun experiment, and I hope that some of the things I’ve found and learned have been of some use to someone. Excelsior!
There is no new thing under the sun.
Turns out that there’s already a fairly popular (in the niche market I was targeting) and robust product that does what I was intending my application to do. It’s not mobile, but it works fine. Time to regroup.