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  • FTP Almost Done Right for iPad with Codosaurus


    I got an email with a promo code a couple days ago from Konstantin Schmoll, developer of an iPad FTP app called Codosaurus ($5.99 in the App Store). I've been checking it out the past couple days. Schmoll almost has it right, with some big updates needed before this is the perfect iPad FTP app.

    I've been a web admin for over a decade (my first site was a Warcraft - no numbers, just Warcraft - fan site which was fully awesome in it's animated gif's and background midi, took 3 minutes to load, and was probably hosted on GeoCities). The iPhone and iPad have obviously been huge advancements in mobile computing, but I've struggled to find a good app or suite of apps for webmasterdom. Actually, I'll write another article soon with my favorites for Being an iPad Webmaster. For now let's look at Codosaurus.



    My favorite OS X site editing tool is Coda, by the guys at Panic. Their slogan is "shockingly good Mac software," which they live up to. Codosaurus has taken a page from their book in its simplicity and design. Opening the app for the first time invites you to "enjoy the world of saurus" and pick a password which will protect your FTP sites' logins from prying fingers and iPad borrowers.



    You're then greeted with a well laid out page which will become a grid of your FTP bookmarks and favorites. You can also change the color scheme in the Settings.app, multiple colors are offered. BTW - the little buffalo-looking Triceratops guy opens their website in Safari... tricked me the first time. Connecting to a server is easy, simply tap "CONNECT TO A SERVER" and fill out the necessary info.



    Here we start getting into some glaring issues. There's no support for SFTP (which I use often), and also no support for SSH or any type of command line work (not that SSH is necessary for an FTP app, but it would be a nice addition). Schmoll cites US law as the reason SFTP is not yet supported (which is actually legit - hoops to jump through is all):

    Please keep in mind that SFTP and SSH connections currently not supported by Codosaurus because of the US law, as soon as we get the approval from the Bureau of Industry and Security we will include it.
    Once you DO log in to an FTP server, Codosaurus has by far the best layout of any current iPad app (and many desktop FTP apps!) for moving through the directories.



    There's a host of tools available while viewing/editing a file. From top left in above screenshot, you've got Back, Go to Line (I'd prefer to also have an option to show line numbers while in view/edit mode), Search (works great, although not quite perfect - no multiple finds, find and replace, or find and replace all), Email (emails the file to whomever), and Save (you can edit and save without having to download the file first, unlike existing iPad FTP apps). There's also no undo option - so be careful if you hit save. From the file lists in any directory, you can also hit NEW FILE if you'd like to make a new file.

    Again a major missing component here - syntax highlighting. Scrolling through Javascript, PHP, CSS and XHTML with no syntax highlighting made me feel like I was doing web editing in 2001 again. Or on an iPad. I asked Schmoll if he was planning on adding that soon, and he said:

    Syntax highglight will come within the next 2 weeks, its quite hard to implement it because the sdk dont allow it that easily but we'll do it among other features
    Hopefully he's serious - that'd be an awesome and necessary addition to the app.

    Codosaurus is not quite there. But they're close. If I could get those two things (SFTP support and syntax highlighting) in there it'd be exactly what I want in an iPad FTP app, which no one else has been able to deliver yet. The rest of the app is beautiful, simple, and makes perfect sense. I noticed a few minor navigational things which could be improved as well. For instance, clicking back in directory view sometimes takes a sec to take effect, but if you hit it multiple times not sure it worked, you'll go back a bunch all of a sudden. Some sort of notification letting me know when an FTP connecting is connecting would also be nice - if it doesn't connect right away, there's no indication at all if you even pressed connect. I found myself a couple times pressing connect multiple times only to find out it was timing out and I'd already pressed it.

    That being said, I still think this is the best iPad FTP app. It's got some major missing pieces, but the developer assures me they're already in the works for an updated version. If those come, it'd be far and above the best, and as far as I'm concerned the only iPad app to do FTP right.

    You can pick up Codosaurus for $5.99 in the App Store.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FTP Almost Done Right for iPad with Codosaurus started by Kyle Matthews View original post