Title: Textastic
Platform: iPad

textastic logo Textastic is certainly not the most inexpensive app ever reviewed on the YALSA Blog, but it does something that you and your teens might be very interested in. It’s a code editing app. That means for anyone that codes web pages it’s a great resource to have in your app arsenal. (Those who do other kinds of coding can also use the app. Javascript or Perl for example.) Teens learning to code can enhance their skills while sitting comfortably with an iPad. Teens who know how to code can update web pages while using an iPad.

code writing screen of TextasticAt the base-level Textastic works well as a tool for writing HTML and CSS files from scratch. Click on the + in the bottom menu, name the file, and get started writing the code. Those who are coders will appreciate that the coding screen includes line-numbering, as well as a row of character keys that make it easy to enter code on the iPad screen.

What makes this app even better are the options available for getting your code from your iPad to a server or file sharing app. With Textastic it’s possible to upload files to Dropbox or an S/FTP server. That means for anyone who is coding on their iPad there is no need to email files to yourself in order to get them posted on a server. Just upload them to your FTP host and voila the pages are available for viewing on the web or editing using another device or a computer. The reverse is also true. upload Textastic screenLogin to a server that’s been setup and it’s possible to retrieve files that you’ve been working on on a different device or computer. Download the files from the server and work on them on your iPad. Then upload again when you’ve done the work needed.

Along with uploading and downloading it’s possible to send files as attachments, copy the content to paste into another document, and open the code in other apps on your iPad – for example Pages, GoodReader, or Side by Side.

Learning how to code is something that teens in your community might be very interested in. Learning how to code helps teens to better understand the way the web works, what it takes to make a website that is usable, interesting, interactive, and fun. Learning how to code can help you to help teens to engage in STEM related activities. Even if you don’t know how to code, or want to learn how to code, check with your teens to see who in the community has coding skills. Perhaps they want to use Textastic. Maybe they even want to use the app to teach other teens coding skills.

For more YALSA App of the Week posts, visit the App of the Week Archive.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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