Rushing Labs

A Blogging Ideal

Intro§

I bought an iPad because it looked like the perfect "almost computer". It checks all these boxes I didn't know I had. A great touchscreen experience. Fully-featured apps. A magic keyboard! Even pencil support! It is the perfect tool for nearly every possible task I use a computer for.

Except coding.

Why just use a traditional laptop, right? It runs any binary, can handle nearly any web development task. And most any computing task. Except...limited touchscreen for easier photo manipulation. Most have no pencil support for drawing capabilities. And it's heavier, less battery life, larger package, etc.

I still had computers at home, and could definitely get my hands on a laptop should I need to eject from my iPad idea. So, I set off to see if I could solve this "coding on an iPad" problem.

What Do I Want?§

Most of what I'm looking for is web development. It can largely be achieved with a text editor and (some type of) live preview mechanism. And by far, the most web development I still do these days is for my personal website. Blogging mostly. Authoring MDX files.

It'd be great if I could do this from the convenience of an iPad, right?

So, blogging.§

Yes, but why MDX? Well, let's back up.

The original idea for this was for Markdown. Editing Markdown on an iPad is pretty straightforward, and doing so within VSCode's web editor is possible on an iPad. And if that doesn't work then there are a few git client apps, and a couple Markdown editor apps too. (EDITOR'S NOTE: add links to apps for the git, Markdown apps)

Problem solved, right? Hardly.

  • Writing Markdown for prose content
  • Handle images (centering, left-, and right-aligned)
  • Captions, credits, alt-text for images
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Interactive code demonstrations

...explain the rest of how I found myself needing to edit MDX from an iPad

VSCode Extensions§

If this is all going to be possible directly from VS Code--or as much as possible--then we're going to need a few extensions.

Front Matter - Headless CMS§

https://frontmatter.codes/

An extension that attempts to be a full-blown CMS directly inside the VS Code editor. In my experience it works great from a local install. You even get a preview panel directly embedded in VSCode, via a URL pointing at your local instance. But the whole extension isn't available in VS Code for web. So, it's a non-starter for the iPad experience.

AWS Console§

This is a full iOS/iPadOS app for managing your AWS services. So, it's plenty for S3 😜

There is an "AWS Toolkit" extension for VS Code, but (again) it's only available for local installs... so it's not much help trying to keep everything in VS Code for web. But since we're ultimately trying to bring all of this functionality to the iPad, at least something is available.

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