Gray Matter


Web Development on an Android Tablet

RT Cunningham | August 20, 2020 (UTC) | Web Development

android tablet web developmentI’m looking to the future when I think about web development on an Android tablet. Although I could probably use a tablet instead of one of my laptop computers today, I prefer not to.

I can still get laptop computers for under $300.00 that will do the job just fine. In fact, the last three I’ve owned were all under $300.00 each. A decent tablet with a decent keyboard could cost more than a third of that. Without being a third as good, I might add.

Installing the BlueStacks Android emulator allows me to experiment. I can see for myself how difficult it would be to do all my web development on an actual Android tablet.

An Android Web Server

After I updated my previous post, I started testing applications on BlueStacks. BlueStacks wouldn’t install properly on my VirtualBox Windows 10 installation, so I had to install it on my regular Windows 10 installation. I used to dual-boot on one drive, but now I have Windows on one drive and Linux on another.

The last time I did this, I used KSWEB. This time, I used Termux. It’s like a mini-Linux emulator, but it’s a full-fledged Linux distribution designed to run on top of Android. I set it up with Nginx and SSH before calling it quits for the day. There are plenty of instructions at the Termux wiki on how to install certain software.

Termux is so versatile, it seems like it can take care of all the command-line driven software I might need. If you do a search for “termux (insert phrase)”, you’ll probably find an answer to your question.

Other Android Software

Although I don’t need it, I’m sure I can install MySQL (or MariaDB) Server on Termux. AndFTP works fine as an FTP client. It even supports TLS connections.

I wouldn’t use an HTML editor (or IDE) for anything, but a good text editor is a necessity. QuickEdit Text Editor is at least as good as Notepad++ on Windows. The free version doesn’t support tabs and would make it difficult to move from file to file while editing.

Android software always seems less expensive than on other platforms. If you’re serious about using Android to do web development, you should invest in the “pro” version (if it exists) of everything you use.

My Definition of Decent for Android Tablets

If your mobile device of choice uses an Apple or Microsoft operating system, I can’t help you. I’ll never use either. Their branding makes everything overpriced. That’s not to say you can’t find overpriced Android devices. Samsung tablets are just as overpriced as the others.

I try to ignore branding and focus on specifications. Right now, I could get a 10.5-inch or 11.5-inch “no name” tablet for under $100. I wouldn’t be able to work with anything smaller comfortably. Also, I would need a tablet stand and a wireless keyboard and mouse combination. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable with a keyboard display and touching the screen all the time. I don’t even like doing it with my phone.

The whole point of this exercise was to see if I could make it all work for me as a web development set up, and I could. That doesn’t mean I will. The future is uncertain, of course, and I just need to know if I could do things this way if I have no other choice.

Photo Attribution: Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in September 2018.

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