"I also built this site entirely on my iPad using Textastic, iSSH, and Diet Coda all while paired to a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Case."
With that, several emails came my way asking similar questions. To sum it up:
Why use an iPad when you could've used an actual computer to develop your site?
There were several other points attached to that question such as:
- I'm making it harder for myself
- What point am I trying to make?
- Not a pragmatic solution
While I respect everyone's opinions as they are theirs and not my mine, I thought I'd reflect on the actual reasons why an iPad was used and not my MacBook Air.
Not to prove a point
First I'd like to state the fact that I didn't do this to prove a point. Far from it. Seeing all these posts about whether the iPad can be used for content creation, while a great topic for debate, was never my motivation for utilizing an iPad.
The sole reason why I used the iPad to create the site was because it was the device that was available at the moment — the moment when I decided to jump away from Tumblr. After deciding to host Gridwriter onto its own server, I took note of what I needed:
- A server
- A way to log into that server
- My CSS file
- Access to the blogging engines that I wanted to test.
- A way to code
With my iPad in mind, I mentally checked to see if there were apps that could achieve these things.
- Server - Sign up with Linode via Safari. There is also a Linode iPhone app that I installed on my iPad to handle the reboots.
- Access to server - iSSH for SSH access.
- My CSS file - All versions of it are stored in Evernote.
- Access to blogging engines - Clone from GitHub via iSSH.
- A way to code - Textastic combined with its FTP access. Then later, Diet Coda when it was released in order to test its functionality.
So thinking about it, all the tools I needed were available on a device that was in front of me. So why not?
Lastly I figured that since the bulk of the work was done remotely in an app with low graphical elements (iSSH), battery life would be awesome. To answer that — it was. I went numerous hours working on the site without ever having the need to charge.
Vs using a Mac
When thinking about using a regular computer instead of an iPad, I tried to think of the benefits that I would gain.
While a regular keyboard would've been more comfortable, I feel that having the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard case definitely prevented a lot of fatigue from occurring in my fingers that would've resulted if I used the on-screen keyboard. Now while it wasn't as comfortable as a full size keyboard, it definitely wasn't excruciating.
Having written the majority of my posts (before and after the switch to a Linode Server) on an iPad, the 9.7" screen never really bothered me. Could it have been more comfortable? Yes. But like the keyboard example, it wasn't excruciating.
If I had to list one disadvantage to working solely on the iPad, I would have to say that it was the limitations of iOS. With iOS, I was missing out on a few key features that OS X has: the functionality of Keyboard Maestro, the absence of the complete system-wide functionality of TextExpander, having the ability to have two or more apps visible at one time, and of course — Cmd-Tab.
But despite these limitations, they weren't roadblocks. All of those aforementioned features are luxuries — not necessities. There were ways to do what I needed to do, even if it meant being without the help of hotkeys doing magical things. I just had to do them either manually or with what I had at my disposal.
After going through the experience of setting up the website with an iPad1, there is one truly remarkable benefit that I gained — the knowledge and the awareness of the tools needed to set up the site.
With that, if any type of problem(s), major or minor, ever happens to the site, I know for sure that I can troubleshoot it with my iPad. Recently, I even documented how to set up the site in the event that the server goes through any catastrophic events. So if I'm ever abroad, on the road, or just away from my computer, I know that I have the proper knowledge and tools to bring the site back up in a theoretically short amount of time.
Hell, I can even resurrect it with an iPhone.
It's My Party
The last point I want to touch on in terms of why I used an iPad to set up this site is because frankly, it's my site. This is my party. I choose the content that goes on the site; the way I create the content that goes on my site; and even the method I choose to create the backend which displays the content. Thomas Brand has an excellent site called Egg Freckles in which he uses a MessagePad and an Alphasmart as some of the tools to write to his site. Why does he use them? He finds benefits in using them. It provides him a distraction free writing environment while using them. And most importantly, because he wants to.
Everybody has their own uses for their computers. Videographers, programmers, photographers, number crunchers, writers, gamers, Facebookers — they all have needs that either an iPad can or cannot fulfill. While I don't advocate the idea of everybody dumping their modern computers for a tablet whose true powers were unleashed by the help of some extremely talented app developers — for what I needed to accomplish, the iPad met my expectations — and in some areas, exceeded it.
While setting up the site was accomplished solely with an iPad, the posts were formatted with the proper Markdown headers on both an iPad and my MacBook Air. ↩