When the iPad first launched in 2010, people were skeptical that the device was useful for little more than media consumption. Of course, the wide range of productivity, creative, and analytics applications have cast aside that initial belief. However, most everyone will still agree that tablets cannot act as a standalone device. To do the real heavy lifting, you still need a laptop or desktop computer. I cannot disagree with that. However, a new application has come along that makes the idea of a tablet-only workforce more of a reality.
TapPages is a tool that allows users to build websites completely on their iPads and iPhones. Web development has become more accessible over the years, reaching the masses with tools like Wordpress and Wix, which have an extremely short learning curve to get a site up quickly. These tools do feature some mobile support, but you would be hard pressed to create a good looking site from the ground up on a mobile device.
The TapPages application – which costs $9.99 – is similar to Wix in that it is a drag and drop website builder. Rather than going through menus and clicking or configuring in a toolbar, you complete the development of your site with a series of swipes and other intuitive movements very well suited to the tablet’s touchscreen capabilities. In the end, you are able to produce reasonably attractive websites.
What is most surprising about the tool is its community-building features. Rather than limiting users to static websites, TapPages allows users to create blogs, forums, and to share video content from embedded YouTube players. Given that interactive websites are standard, it’s important to have these features directly within the application, and their inclusion elevates TapPages from novelty to a real web development tool.
There are some issues with the app, however. Like all drag and drop editors, you are limited in the amount of customization you can control. For users that just want clean, functional websites rather than a custom-built solution, these design limitations will not be a huge deal. However, if you want a large amount of interaction which requires custom-coding, you should probably look elsewhere. That being said, you do have the ability to edit and add html directly in the app. The impressive features list is quite comprehensive, making this a viable option for website creation.
While some may still find it unreasonable (or just inefficient) to develop a website on an iPad, TapPages has drastically increased the functionality of the tablet. If we get a few more applications like this (and if Apple would stop being so locked down), maybe tablets could actually replace standalone computers in the future.
Would you ever develop a website on an iPad, or does this fall into the category of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”?