Developing Meteor.js apps on an iPad

It has been a dream of mine to have the option of developing on an iPad when my laptop is unavailable or when I just don't want to lug a full laptop around. Recently I have started developing apps in Meteor.js and I came across a web service and some techniques which allow me to develop Meteor apps on my iPad.

NITROUS.IO on an iPad
NITROUS.IO on an iPad

The main component to develop on the iPad is the fantastic web service Nitrous.io. Nitrous.io allows you to quickly deploy dev environments for a number of languages and frameworks. One of the framework options is node.js. Since Meteor is built on node, the Nitrous.io folks released this blog post to explain how to quickly get a Meteor development environment going.

Nitrous.io provides a really nice web based IDE for desktop browsers. While the web IDE isn't available by default for iPad browsers, you can still do everything you need in the terminal provided by Nitrous.io as long as you know how to use VIM. I did email support to ask when web IDE will be available for the iPad. They reported that it is coming, but you can also get it to work by using the Chrome browser and requesting the desktop version of their website.

Another option is the Panic terminal app "Prompt". You can use Prompt to SSH into your Nitrous.io box. The ssh URI is listed on the web page with the details for your Nitrous.io box.

Once you have your Meteor app created, you can click the + symbol to open an additional terminal window. In the new window, you can start up your Meteor server. At this point, it is time to open a browser tab to see your Meteor web app. Select "port 3000" from the "Preview" menu in the Nitrous.io terminal page and a new browser tab will open up with a view of your app.

Now you can edit your code with VIM and watch changes appear in the browser tab with the live app. This is great, but I think it is important to to develop with git. Nitrous.io has included git in all of their boxes. I recommend using github. Setup a github repo and follow these instructions to add the Nitrous.io box public key to github.

With just a few browser tabs open and an Internet connected iPad, you can develop Meteor apps with ease!

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