How to turn your android tablet into a devstation
First of all, is it possible? The answer is yes.
Let’s see what we need to do, so that we can have an almost fully functional tiny devstation in our backpack.
Just to be clear, don’t expect to have the same experience with a laptop. Just don’t. A tablet might be convenient for some adhoc tasks, but in the end, it simply cannot offer you the feeling and the flexibility that you can have with your beloved laptop.
Apart from that, you could of course use the tablet’s keyboard that occupies half of the tablet’s screen but I would strongly suggest you to use a bluetooth keyboard. Yes you can connect a bluetooth keyboard on your tablet and even use the mousepad of the keyboard as a mouse on it. Really convenient, makes the development experience much more user-friendly.
In my opinion, there are two basic things, that are necessary for coding. A text editor and a terminal. And there is an app for both of these things.
You can easily open and save files on your tablet and this feature is for free! There is a Pro version as well, which includes Dropbox support and STP/FTP support. This essentially means, that you can access a droplet of yours and edit files directly on it. The price is 2.45 Euros.
Termux is a terminal app that makes you feel like you are on a real Linux terminal. It provides you with a package manager from which you can install whatever you need (ssh, vim, curl etc.)
If you also need a web server to serve and test your files locally, there is even an app for that.
KSWeb 2.71 is what you can use for a webserver. It literally transforms your tablet into a webserver. If you have ever used LAMP, WAMP or XAMPP you will be familiar with how it works. It creates a folder that is used as the root directory and can be accessed via a web browser by hitting “localhost:8080”.
It also comes with an SQL and can setup phpMyAdmin for you automatically. The app is free to download and you can try it for 5 days. After that, you have to make an in-app purchase to acquire a code and unlock the full version. But in any case, it is an excellent app in terms of its features and it provides everything that you might need for developing web applications.
Finally, in case you need an app for browsing your files, I would suggest the free ES File Explorer.
In general, I would never substitute my laptop with a tablet, but sometimes I find it inconvenient to carry my 15” macbook everywhere (for example on a ski excursion or during my summer vacation). On the other hand, I find it really handy to have a way of interefering when an unexpected bug shows up, a website of mine goes down or a webserver of mine has high load.
And keeping a small devstation inside my Samsung tablet, gives me the ability to act in such cases.
So go ahead, if you have an Android tablet, make it count!