One of the computing classes that I teach at school is HTML, and being a 1:1 iPad school I wanted to refresh my scheme of work to take advantage of using the iPad. Now, let’s get one thing out of the way, coding on the iPad may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the fact that I can work on it in class and get the students to take the same software home and continue working is a real bonus for me. I had a good look around for an app which would fit my needs and zeroed in on Koder. My reasons for choosing this were mainly because it offered a browser preview of your code and it also wasn’t rated 17+ (Apple rates pretty much any app with a browser 17+ for unrestricted web access unfortunately). It is worth noting that it offers other coding languages, but for the purposes of this review I’m going to concentrate on HTML.
If you read my reviews on this site, you’ll know that the apps which get the thumbs up from me have been well designed with the end user in mind. Koder is certainly one of those. Upon opening the app you can start a project and organise your files easily into folders and it has all the usual FTP options for getting your site online. The only thing missing currently is easy import and export of files. Currently Dropbox is the only thing supported directly in the app, but if you have Google Drive for example, you can use the ‘Open in’ option from Drive to put files into Koder. Looking at their Twitter feed it seems that iCloud Drive extensions may be on the way in the next version and this would be a massive help. Koder did also crash on occasion, but your work is constantly saved automatically so I never lost any work when it did.
Once you have your folder structure and files either set up or imported, the real nuts and bolts of the app is entering the code itself. Koder has augmented the iOS keyboard to add a string of shortcuts which making entering all of the various symbols used in programming much easier. It also includes cursor keys if the finger navigation is a little awkward. There is also an undo and redo button, which while useful, seems to forget about what you have done if you go into preview mode to check your code. It would be really useful, especially in light of using this app in school, if this issue was fixed. Having said this, I found writing, and copy and pasting HTML code super easy in Koder. I don’t pretend to be the world’s best coder (I’m a teacher, if I could code I’d be working for Google!!) but I managed to quickly produce a couple of webpages, whilst admittedly looking like they’d come out of the 1990’s, worked well, and I strangley enjoyed working on them in Koder.
I can image that Koder would be really useful for hacks like me who are constantly learning, or pros who maintain sites and want a way to update on the move without too much fuss. I will be interested to see what my students make of it next week in comparison to using good old Notepad. There are a few tiny niggles with the app, but they don’t detract from the convenience of being able to crack out a few lines of code and preview them where ever you are.
Koder is available here in the App Store priced at $5.99
Disclosure: I bought Koder with my own hard earned cash.