iPad Tools for Developers

I admit that I’m in love with my iPad. I spend a lot of time reading blogs through Flipboard or Zite, and saving the more in-depth technical articles for reading offline later with Instapaper. But I also like to use it for content creation especially in regard to my job as a software developer so I’m always on the look out for apps that can help me capture ideas quickly and if necessary export them to share with others.

Currently, I use Adobe Ideas for rough sketches when working through problems with others. It’s a great way to quickly build up a collection of different “takes” on the topic at hand (especially with a stylus, I use the boxwave) and then come back later to mull over them (and usually bin them then start again!). On the other hand when I’m trying to capture how things are related to each other I often turn to mind maps, and for that I use Idea Sketch. It has a few shortcomings (like not being able to label connecting lines) but for the most part it does what I need.

Ever since the iPad launched though I’ve always been trying to create simple UML diagrams (I’m definitely in the UML-As-A-Sketch camp), often using standard drawing apps that get me so far but ultimately come up short. Just recently however, I came across Astah Pad (strange name, I know) that for the moment only does Class diagrams, but and this is the important bit, it does them really well, with a nice intuitive interface and export to PNG. Yes, it’d be nice if it did sequence diagrams but I can live without them for now. Oh, and it’s free too. If you’re looking for a simple UML editor on the iPad, I’d recommend you give it a try.

*** UPDATE – 16/08/2012 ***

Since I wrote this post a lot more professional applications have been released. If you like doing Visio style drawings then checkout Grafio. It’s now my favourite and most used diagramming software on the iPad. Absolutely awesome!

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iPad Tools for Developers