Codify for iPad

I’m a little embarrassed that this old post of mine keeps generating steady traffic. It’s entitled “Scripting and the iPad,” and I imagine everyone who finds it through Google has high hopes that it’s going to tell them how to use Python or some other scripting language on their iPad.

Of course it doesn’t. The post was written in the spring of 2010, and it talks mostly about how you can’t script the iPad—at least not with the usual scripting languages. But SEO rules the net, and I get hits from people who are looking for something completely different.

I did write an earlier post about scripting and the iPad in which I compared it to the history of programming on the Mac (recalling that there was no self-hosted programming of the Mac when it was first released) and said this:

I’m not predicting a native development environment for the iPad, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple loosen its restrictions as time goes on.

I’m not sure if Codify proves me right, but it sure seems like a step in the right direction.

Codify on the iPad

(Image stolen from the Two Lives Left website.)

According to its developers

Codify for iPad lets you create games and simulations — or just about any visual idea you have. Turn your thoughts into interactive creations that make use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer.

We think Codify is the most beautiful code editor you’ll use, and it’s easy. Codify is designed to let you touch your code. Want to change a number? Just tap and drag it. How about a color, or an image? Tapping will bring up visual editors that let you choose exactly what you want.

Codify is built on the Lua programming language. A simple, elegant language that doesn’t rely too much on symbols — a perfect match for iPad.

I played around with Lua on a Handspring Visor several years ago. It was one of the more capable languages available for the Palm platform. I wasn’t so impressed with Lua that I began using it on regular computers, but it was a nice enough little language—easy to pick up if you know Perl, Python, Ruby, C, Pascal, etc. It was designed to work primarily as an embedded scripting language, sort of like AutoLisp or VBA or AppleScript, getting its real power not from its own libraries, but from its hooks into the larger system.

If I had an iPad, this would be a review of Codify, because I can’t imagine myself not buying and playing around with it as soon as I saw it mentioned on Daring Fireball. I know it’s being promoted as a game prototyping system, but it sure looks like a little general-purpose scripting environment to me. Self-contained, of course, because iOS won’t allow anything else, but a system a programmer could have some real fun with.

In fact, I’ll be surprised if my affiliate link brings in any referral fees. I suspect most of the people who read this blog have already grabbed a copy.