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Coding on an iPad with Codespaces and Blink

written by Eric J. Ma on 2022-09-16 | tags: ipad coding data science mobile blink codespaces github

After many attempts at doing coding on an iPad, I finally have hit a solution that works well for me.

I'm a VSCode user. I enjoy using VSCode because of the many extensions that make my work productive. While I enjoy using my MacBook Air, I've sometimes wanted to lug around nothing more than my iPad and its keyboard to do my blogging, coding, and other work.

I've tried many different solutions to do coding on an iPad. For example, I test-drove GitHub's Codespaces in the built-in Safari browser, but the experience was a little less than ideal. I'd frequently find myself unable to scroll in the Jupyter notebook interface, or the notebook would never load. Then, I tried using plain text editors, such as a combination of tmux and nano with syntax highlighting, but I found that I was missing the ability to execute code in a notebook.

One day, however, I stumbled upon VSCode in Blink. I was trying to open up my personal website's Codespace in Safari, but instead, iOS opened up Blink. And there it was: Visual Studio Code working on my iPad! At first, I thought I was still in Safari, and tried to switch to a different tab - only for the action to not work. Only later did I realize I was in Blink!

One thing notable is that all of my settings are synchronized correctly, including my theme configurations, extensions, and keybindings! Trackpad usage allows me to operate as if I were on my laptop. In other repos where I have Jupyter notebooks, I can open them up and run code in them as well. Even the built-in terminal works too! This was pretty amazing to see in action.

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