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Android does not have the App support to be 100% effective as a web developer. When I got my Transformer Pad Infinity I had this romantic idea that I was going to go full Android for everything!

“Kiss off Windows. My little Tablet and I are going to show the world it can be done!”

I tried and I got really close but not ALL the way there. The biggest bottle neck for using Android as web development environment is moving around the system quickly, working with funky file type extensions (it doesn’t quite know what to do with a *.sql file for example) and Photoshop.

All that being said- In a pinch and even for an overnight trip I’ll take the TF700t. It is totally capable of FTP, SSH, Skype (of course), Email, Remote Desktop, a local web server even and many of the other required tools for doing a web developers’ job. Let’s go through the apps I use.

Code Editor

droideditpro

DroidEdit Pro

DroidEdit Pro – I tried a few other Code Editors before I settled on DroidEdit. New stuff pops up all the time but I always come back to this one. The interface is very intuitive to what you would be used to on a PC so the transition was easy. Here is the list of features from the Playstore.

DroidEdit is a text and source code editor (similar to Notepad++ or gedit) for android tablets and phones with the following features:

  • Syntax Highlighting for several languages (C, C++, C#, Java, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python, Ruby, Lua, LaTeX, SQL, …)
  • Several color themes
  • Infinite undo & redo
  • Search & replace
  • Auto & block indentation
  • Keep opened files and changes between sessions
  • Open files directly from dropbox or a file manager
  • Character encoding support
  • Keyboard shortcuts (List below)
  • Share documents with other services (dropbox, email, …)
  • Preview HTML files in browser
  • Bracket matching
  • Go to line
  • Run Scripts in SL4A directly
  • Configurable Shortcuts

Pro version only features:

  • SFTP/FTP support
  • Dropbox support
  • Custom themes
  • Run external commands through SSH
  • Root mode

Filesystem

filemanagerhd

File Manager HD (Explorer)

File Manager HD is what I use on all of my Android devices for moving around the Filesystem for a few simple reasons:

  1. File Manager HD has the best “Network” capabilities for me to move files around between the Tablet and my PC.
  2. The ability to zip/unzip archives. This is a big one for web developers.
  3. Favorite your file paths so they are easily accessible. Navigating around the whole Android directory tree to get to your “Work Files” folder can be a big pain in the butt when you have to do it EVERY single time you need to open something.
  4. Optimized for tablets. A pain point for using Apps to do a PCs job is finding an App with killer features that doesn’t rotate to Landscape because it was designed solely for a phone. Luckily you don’t encounter this as much anymore; a year ago it was still a big issue.
  5. Multiple File selection for copy/paste/delete.

FTP

FtpCafe FTP Client

FtpCafe FTP Client

FtpCafe FTP Client – Again there are a bunch of options on the Playstore for FTP with Android. It really all comes down personal preference about what you are looking for and what jives with your workflow. I like FtpCafe because it gives you the ability to save your connections like most PC clients do. I also just really like the way the interface works. It doesn’t feel nearly as clunky as the other solutions out there when uploading and downloading files. It is a simple app with this simple list of features:

File transfers using:

  • FTP
  • FTPS (Implicit and Explicit FTP over SSL).
  • SFTP (FTP over SSH). Login with password or RSA/DSA OpenSSL (Traditional SSLeay PEM) or ConnectBot (PKCS#8 PEM) private key.
  • multiple file and directory transfers
  • resume transfers support
  • clean and simple UI

Remote Desktop

 

2X Remote Desktop Client

2X Remote Desktop Client

2X Remote Desktop Client – I use a remote Windows terminal on a VPS to do a lot of my work for my stateside employer so having a remote desktop app is mission critical for me. There is a ton of customization options with 2X.  It is full screen and also has a virtual mouse that works with the mouse pad on the TF700t (Bonus Awesome!).

Seamless and secure remote desktop and application access from your Android device! Whenever you want, wherever you are!

Stay connected to your home or office PC with the 2X RDP / Remote Desktop Client for Android. The 2X Client allows you to simply, and securely, connect via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to your remote Windows desktop and applications whenever you want, wherever you are.

Additionally, you can connect with 2X SecureRemoteDesktop which provides on-demand, proactive protection against both known and unknown attacks through remote desktop connections, ultimately securing access to your home Windows desktop or laptop.

You can also experience the full benefits of published remote Windows desktops and applications by connecting to 2X ApplicationServer XG. This way, the 2X Client seamlessly runs published Windows desktops and applications from Windows Terminal Server and all the major VDI Hypervisors including Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware or Citrix Xen.
Features
– Support for Android 1.6 onwards
– Unlimited connections
– Unique mouse with right click
– Full keyboard
– SSL security
– Full screen experience
– Minimal bandwidth usage
– Clipboard redirection
– Support for external Mouse & Keyboard
– Supports 2 & 3 finger gestures
– Support NLA

If you have any support related questions, please visit the product forum: http://www.2x.com/forums/

SSH

connectbotConnectBot – It is old and getting dated but I still love it. Just like FTPcafe you can save your connections. It also keeps your sessions alive in the background so you can do other things and come back to it.  SSH is a pretty simple concept and you are free to use whatever you want here. You don’t really even need to use an app for SSH. You can usually just use the default terminal in Android.

Web Server

Bit Web Server (Full)

Bit Web Server (Full)

Bit Web Server (Full) – This effectively turns your Android device into a full LAMP stacked server. I’ve ran Joomla installs and WordPress installs ON my TF700t. How crazy is that?

There is a free version if you want to try it out. I use the full one and it has been a very useful part of my toolkit. It is also just fun to mess around with if you want to fire up a quick hobby project using PHP.

Some specs here:

This application is a web server application for android, include:
– LIGHTTPD as Web Server ,
– PHP as PHP Server ,
– MYSQL as MySQL Server ,
– PhpMyAdmin as MySQL Client , and
– MSMTP as SMTP Client 
It all wrapped into one application called Bit Web Server. So easy to run on android device, just single click then you can run web dynamic scripts.
This application is specially designed for the mobile n tablet, so this application requires very small memory.

For running this application the first time after you download it from google play your internal memory in device requirements should not be less than 50MB. Because this application does not download any data on internet, all data is wrapped into a (apk). And this application can also be accessed from a computer network via wifi or tethering.

This application runs without an internet connection, requires internet only when first run to check the license, if you install the app from google play this otherwise licensed, then to run this application so it does not require internet access (OFFLINE Application).

BitWebServer can run a variety of CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Prestashop, etc. Besides CMS can also run PHP frameworks like Code Igniter, YII, CakePHP, etc.
It is the same as WAMP or LAMP or XAMPP on your computer or laptop, but this is for android devices with lighttpd instead of apache.

Modules/extensions which compiled on PHP is:
– bcmath
– bz2
– calendar
– cgi-fcgi
– Core
– ctype
– curl
– date
– dom
– ereg
– exif
– fileinfo
– filter
– ftp
– gd
– gettext
– gmp
– hash
– http
– iconv
– json
– libxml
– magickwand
– mbstring
– mcrypt
– mhash
– mongo
– mysql
– mysqli
– openssl
– pcre
– PDO
– pdo_mysql
– pdo_sqlite
– Phar
– posix
– Reflection
– session
– shmop
– SimpleXML
– soap
– sockets
– SPL
– sqlite3
– ssh2
– standard
– sysvmsg
– sysvsem
– tokenizer
– wddx
– xdebug
– xml
– xmlreader
– xmlrpc
– xmlwriter
– xsl
– zip
– zlib
– and more libraries like as freetype, jpeg, png, openssl, etc.

Storage Engine support on MySQL is:
– MyISAM
– MRG_MYISAM
– BLACKHOLE
– CSV
– MEMORY
– INNODB
– ARCHIVE

Images

pstouch

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Adobe Photoshop Touch – There is no replacement for Photoshop on mobile. The fine tuning you need to do on image for web designers/developers just isn’t replicated yet in an App. One of the big things is image quality when editing. The rendering and clean up on images saved with any Android app just isn’t as clean as it is on a computer. But if you need to do something quick and dirty this is the best app for it. It has a lot of the core Photoshop features loaded so you can crop, recolor, layer, combine and re-size images.

Web Browsers

I use Chrome for nearly EVERYTHING because it is fast and has the REQUEST Desktop Site feature that remains persistent whenever you visit the site so you never have to check it again. You won’t really be doing any cross browser compatibility testing here but I’ve found it useful to have the most popular options available. Every once in a while you will hit a bug on a site that won’t work in Chrome but will work in another. Usually this is in the form of some Javascript being handled differently by the different apps.

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To continue to find fun and exciting uses for my Sixaxis Dualshock 3 I’ve been driven to emulate as much as possible.  We have already shown what can be done with n64oid to turn your Transformer Infinity into a Nintendo 64. Now we will move on to something a little more cool, “Playstation.” To emulate the first generation Playstation and play any PSX roms you need a couple of things.

Things you will need:

  • The app I’ve decided to use was FPse. Available on the Google Play Store.
  • PSX Bios File… Google it or …
  • You are going to want the Open GL plugin so your games don’t look like jaggy-edged-butt. Open GL plugin info/downloads.
  • Some Roms (.bin files is what you are shooting for here.)
  • Some Rom files are going to be .ecm. I believe these are direct from disc Playstation rips. You’ll need ECM Tools to turn these into a bin files. Specifically you will use “unecm.exe.”

There are a TON of settings you can tweak inside the app so you should be able to get it working on your device if you are persistent.  The setup is basic:

Install the App -> Download Bios File -> Download Optional Open GL plugin ->  The app will ask you the location of the Bios File right away -> Download .bin/.ecm (to convert to bin) PSX roms -> Play.

There was only one funky thing with my Dualshock 3 and that was that the square-triangle-circle-cross buttons where all rotated clockwise one button.  So when playing a game: square was the triangle button, Circle was triangle and so on. I was too lazy to try and go through to fix it so I just play with them like that.

Games I’ve played so far: Crash Bandicoot 2, Tomb Raider Chronicles, Harry Potter and Philosophers Stone, and Spyro the Dragon.  Here is a list of working/nonworking Roms so you know what to spend your time trying to get.  Sadly FFVII is still just as bad as it is on any other emulated platform. Doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get it this way.. but… “Sup Bro!”

 

Resources

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Popular with me that is!

While I’m on a role of blog posting here are the games I played on my Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T for the month of March!

minecraftpeMost Played

Most played this month has to be Minecraft P.E. I’ve got an 8 year old in the house and she uses the iPad to play with me over WiFi. She LOVES it and constantly bugs me to play it. There are some screen shots in the gallery of our “Candy Kingdom” and her Adventure Time creations. She has made nearly 99% of all the stuff in the land on her own.

 

ravenswordNewest Game

Ravensword 2 aka Ravensword: Shadowlands. Great game so far. Really makes a good effort to create an Elderscrolls experience on the Tablet/Phone. I also play Aralon: Sword and Shadow but it is becoming dated and it isn’t nearly as polished as Ravensword 2 is. The graphics are better with Ravensword 2 and there are multiple quest lines to do and areas to explore. Aralon is very linear. I don’t have a rating system but if I did this would get all the points but the last one. Nothing ever gets ALL the points.

 

ffdimensionsEnjoying

I’m enjoying a few different titles sporadically.  These are the games you fire up once in a while for about 10 minutes and then stop. Final Fantasy Dimensions is one of those.  Blah blah all the shit you have heard before. In the end it is what it looks like. If you liked Final Fantasy on the NES or SNES you will like this.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Star Wars Pinball – cool to play but I wish you got all three tables when you bought the damn app
  • Machinarium – a real headscratcher and easy to get stuck
  • Dead Trigger – kill zombies.. use your gamepad
  • SG: Dead Zone – kill people.. use your gamepad
  • Snark Busters 2 – I understand the move to in app purchases. But when it is STOPPING my advancement of the game 100%. That sucks. The first one was much better.
  • Xelorians – Space Shooter.. top down.. lots of explosions. Fun stuff.
  • Eufloria HD – Lags a lot on the big maps with many planets. Made it not fun in the end and I stopped playing.

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My wonderful girlfriend got me a Dualshock 3 Sixaxis controller for my birthday.  This was super exciting for me because it opens up the Infinity to a whole new level of gaming as this controller is Bluetooth.

Truth time. I am not a huge fan of touch screens for controlling games. Navigating around, manipulating media, and the general day to day is fine. Typing? Prefer the physical keyboard. Gaming? Prefer a keyboard and mouse but will be happy with a controller.

I use the Sixaxis app to connect the controller to my Transformer Infinity. There are plenty of tutorials and instructions out there on how to use this utility to pair your PS3 controller. Here is one.

I’m using a popular Nintendo 64 emulator called n64oid. It is no longer on the Play Store so you will have to track it down manually if that is the one you want to use.  There are others available but I’ve not used any of them.

You’ll notice the screen shots below of Super Mario 64 are using the high resolution texture packs. These things are awesome!  and make the game look so much nicer.

Download n64oid

Tips and Tricks I learned along the way:

  • I find that running n64oid after a fresh reboot helps things run smoother.
  • Putting the CPU in performance mode reduces the chance for stuttering or slow downs dramatically. Nearly non-existent in some cases.  (In CM 10.1 this is located in Settings -> Advanced -> CPU Mode Switch -> Performance)
  • When you initially load a rom and it can sometimes just hang at the black screen. I’ve found that if I just bring up the n64oid menu options the rom seems to be “Jump-started” to life/loading faster. I could just be superstitious about this though. Try it?
  • Sadly GoldenEye is still crap when Emulated. I’ve never had it be playable on any platform.
  • Lots of roms don’t work and you will be disappointed in their performance. The games below work about 90%. They are totally playable but there is still that, “aww man it isn’t perfect…” Factor. When we are chasing nostalgia like this it pops our little perfect bubble. We remember the good times on the TV where everything graphical was blowing our minds. This will take you back slightly but know what you are getting into. You won’t be totally taken back and immersed. Go get an n64 at a thrift shop for that.

I’ve not tested the whole heap of roms but I have tested quite a few.  Below are some screen shots from my favorites.

  • Super Mario 64
  • Paper Mario
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Mario Kart
  • Quest64 (not pictured)

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THIS IS NOT AN INSTALL GUIDE! JUST MY OWN ACCOUNT OF INSTALLING CYANOGENMOD! 

Why install a custom rom at all?

We all have our reasons for wanting to stray away from the guidance of the manufacturers of our devices. ASUS has been good to us.  The have been pushing out regular updates for the Transformer Pad Infinity since I got it a couple months ago. However any Infinity owner will tell you there is a problem with their devices and that is, SPEED!  The community as a whole from the novice to the expert scratches their heads and says, “How come this expensive top of the line tablet is slowing down for the mundane tasks but totally kicks butt when it comes to graphical performance in apps?

One big issue it deals with, though, is yet another I/O speed throttling issue. Sadly, the Infinity has inherited the Transformer Prime I/O bottleneck problem. For those who aren’t on the latest from ASUS, the answer so far has been using the SIO I/O scheduler to try to squeeze a little more performance out of the tablet. However, ASUS seems to actually want to fix this problem, as the latest OTA actually has a slightly faster I/O scheduler than SIO. It doesn’t make the problem go away, but it’s a little more manageable until a more permanent fix can be found. – Source

If you follow the rabbit hole of links from above and read all the forum posts you’ll find a whole host of tweaks and mods to try and squeeze out performance. I decided to just install Cyanogenmod to try and correct it all in one swoop. I also wanted to root the device for some other apps I was wanting to run anyway.

Is it dangerous?

If you have no experience with technology modifications, YES. You can learn just enough to really hurt your device and build yourself such a headache you won’t want to spend the effort to fix it. So know what you are getting yourself into. I cut my teeth on the NOOK Color with Cyanogenmod. Anyone who has run that gambit knows the headaches I mean. It took me about three days to FINALLY get it stable and working correctly. In the end I still went back to the Barnes and Noble rom as Cyanogenmod wasn’t stable enough for me to put up with. It worked and it was nice for a while but in the end I just wanted to read books. Check out the Cyanogenmod forums for help if you are stuck. A lot of people seem to think its fairly easy to “brick” a device. I have always found that the communities available to those with enough patience ALWAYS seem to provide a solution. That is what makes them all great.

How did I do it?

I started here http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Install_CM_for_tf700t 

On the whole the instructions were good. But there were some holes in my own education that caused me problems. Namely being that I hadn’t ever used the Android SDK tools from a terminal (start -> run -> CMD,  that black box is the terminal). I had it in my brain that Google had created some packaged software with a GUI interface so I spent some time trying to riddle that one out before it “clicked” that it was all command line.

Which rom to get?

With Cyanogenmod you have basically two option choices for the rom you want to run. There is the “stable” tried and true version and the “nightly” build(s). The first rom I tried was the stable cm-10.0.0-tf700t version. In the end I opted for the nightly build and it worked better for me. I also got the latest version of the gapps package that worked with 10.1. I’m using this combination now and it is working VERY WELL.

Problems I had

1) Make sure your device is ready to be poked at: One thing the instructions assumed I knew but since it had been a while I didn’t remember, was that “You need to put your device in developer mode and enable USB debugging.” Your computer won’t talk to the device without this enabled.

2) There are drivers that your computer needs to talk to the device to issue it the ADB/Fastboot commands: When I initially plugged in the Infinity to my computer (Windows 7) it installed these drivers for me. But if you are having trouble getting the ADB or Fastboot to work you might have to hunt them down. I did have trouble getting the ASUS Android Bootloader to work properly. So I fetched a driver manually from here.

3) Get the correct version of gapps for your CyanogenMod build. In my first install of the rom with 10.0 I installed the 10.1 version of the gapps package (gapps-jb-20121212-signed.zip). This caused ALL kinds of issues including multiple crashes and apps stopping left and right. I could barely get the device stable enough for it to reboot. I did try to re-flash with the 10.0 version of gapps (gapps-jb-20121011-signed.zip) but it didn’t work and all the problems persisted so I had to start over.

4) Wi-Fi wouldn’t turn on. This happened on the 10.0 version on the first install and I learned it was quite common. I just had to reboot after that first initial boot and the Wi-Fi was fine. This was not the case when I re-flashed the 10.1 nightly build. Everything worked right away.

5) Copying over the gapps and rom zips. The instructions have you push the files to the device via the terminal by putting them in the same folder as the Android SDK Tools. I was having a lot of trouble getting the correct responses from my terminal so I ended up copying the files directly to the internal SD card by dragging and dropping them into the folder on the device in Windows. This meant that when the instructions said to “Install from SD Card” I actually had to use “Install from Internal SD card” instead.

6) There is a command for Fastboot that tells you whether or not your device is being seen. “Fastboot Devices” – This command sometimes will NOT return anything but it is there. I spent a lot of time thinking something was totally wrong and I could not advance before I read some thread that said, “Just do it. Windows sucks sometimes.” Here is a screen shot of my banging out commands before it finally worked. As soon as you get “clockwork recovery”  working it is all uphill from there. Everything went fine after this and I was able to proceed to mess things up the incorrect version of gapps as I said above. I was also able to easily clear out my mistakes and install the nightly build.

terminalss

 

7) Clear that “dalvik cache.” In the advanced area of clockwork there is this option. It is the Java Virtual Machine environment responsible for running apps. I don’t understand it entirely but the community seems to agree it is important to clear it between installing new roms or packages. I assume it clears any old associations/configurations that it was using for your apps on the old rom.  I remember having a lot of problems on my NOOK Color by not paying attention to this and so I made sure that whenever I did something in clockwork I ran this first. If you too are having some trouble you might to clear it. It never seemed to hurt anything.

Conclusion. Did it fix the Infinity’s speeds or not?

Initially things were faster than ever. Scrolling was smooth and NOTHING hung up. After a few days (as I started to get all my apps back on) a couple of the old bad habits started to creep back in (sometimes a small hang when opening a new tab in the browser as an example) but no where near the level I was having with the stock rom. My device has not ONCE rebooted on its own for no reason. If nothing else this is the #1 Reason to use CyanogenMod. This rebooting would happen constantly before. I’m also enjoying all the sweet speed of the default launcher and sometimes I will switch the CPU to performance mode if I am doing some heavy things just to make sure I’m getting peak performance. So I’m going with about an 85% yes on the fixing. From what I understand it is ASUS’s fault at the hardware level for the performance issues of the TF700t but Cyanogenmod did right by me this time and I’m glad I did it.

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