I have recently had the mad idea that I want to be able to start prototyping apps from anywhere with a stable internet connection. Also it was a nice thought to be able to do it from my iPad (or even iPhone if I am feeling brave), which meant that I couldn’t really think in terms of traditional IDE environments.

After a fair bit of thought I had a minor brainwave while working on a Node.js script in vim on Ubuntu (this is relevant, but not right now!) and the following questions needed answering rather quickly:

  • Is there a decent iPad / iPhone SSH client?
  • Can that client use Amazon EC2 keys?
  • Could I really learn Vim?
  • Where are the biscuits? (I get distracted easily)

After a little bit of searching it turned out that all of the above questions could easily be answered. So you may be thinking what exactly was that brainwave? Well it basically boils down to this: Use Ubuntu via SSH from the iPad to develop and just man up and use Vim for it!

I first tried to use “SSH Term Pro” from the Apple App Store, but this turned out to be a no-go as it doesn’t support Amazons “pem” keys. However with a little googling I found “Prompt” and with the aid of jchen’s guide I was up and running with the minimum of fuss (ok I had to check up on this to see how to transfer the keys).

The set-up part of EC2 was relatively straightforward. I just provisioned the official Ubuntu image (I used Natty Narwhal from their guide) and ran it on a extra large instance for all the installs of Ruby/Rails/Node.js/Redis etc and then scaled it down to a micro instance afterwards.

All I have left to do is buy a wireless keyboard and my plan is complete!

Now where did I leave those biscuits ….