I use to develop web-apps on my desktop computer, but sometime I would like to make some light edit (changing a CSS value or inverting two HTML tags for instance) on my iPad.

So I'm looking for a very basic code editor which allow me to perform edits on my FTP server. I don't need any library support, neither code completion or other advanced IDE functionality.

My requirements:

  • Gratis
  • Syntax highlighting
  • FTP support to edit remote files (Nice to have the ability to save FTP favorites)

My selection criteria are the facility of FTP browsing, ad's discretion, and ease of use (FTP setting, additional option discretion, …), so I need your opinion about it when recommending an app.

I've already tried Codeanywhere and FTPWrite but some functionality is bugged.

1 Answer 1


I use Vim (more precisely the gui thing "GVim") for this. It is available on ipad (I use it on linux, so I would be grateful if you try in on IPad and post your experiences).

It can't "save" your favorites (at least I don't know a simple way) but it has command history so you can go back.

If you are unfamiliar with an editor of the vi/vim family prepare for a steep learning curve!

To edit an FTP file open vim and type

:open ftp://host/relative/path/to/file.fil

It also works with ssh (thats where I use it. Syntax is: open scp://user@host/path) and other network techniques.

I found the compare function very useful. To compare two files, open the local one in gvim, or a remote as explained above. Then (there must be a gui element for that, but I don't know it) you type :vert diffsplit ftp://host/relative/path/to/file.fil and can then compare the contents. (If you skip the vert you get a horizontal split)

It does not compare or show file sizes directly (I know it can be shown, I just don't know how as I don't need this)

The comparison looks like this on linux: gvimdiff

The download page suggests this implementation: http://applidium.com/en/applications/vim/

  • 1
    I've already used Vim on Linux distributions, it's not really my prefered text-editor... However I'm going to test your suggestion and give you my feedback. I found this implementation of Vim for iPad. Do you know if there is better one? Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 10:06
  • @Fractaliste I don't know a better one. The vim download page suggests: applidium.com/en/applications/vim (I edited a link to the download page to the answer) Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 10:09
  • 7
    -1. As a vim advocate who uses it for literally everything (including composing this comment) I can't believe I'm saying this, but I cannot imagine vim being the best tool for the job to edit remote files on an iPad. The mode based interface is simply not touch screen friendly. Even with a vim friendly 'hacker' keyboard layout on my Android tablet, it's kind of a pain.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 10:52

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