6 of the Best Free Web Development Apps for Android

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Yes, you read that title correctly. Web development. On Android. I won’t suggest a smartphone is a good substitute for desktop coding, but it is possible to write and test code on the move. I’m composing this article in HTML on a tablet while sitting on a train on my way to the SitePoint meet-up in London. In addition, a half-decent device could prevent you having to lug a heavy 17″ laptop to client presentations. As a bonus, battery life is often longer and smaller screens mean there are fewer distractions from email pings, Twitter updates and Facebook messages (I’ve been unusually productive on this journey!) Here are my favorite Android apps for web development. They all free and don’t bombard you with nagging ads…

1. Solid Explorer

Android has an accessible and recognizable file system but the stock file manager is limited. Solid Explorer is in beta, but it’s stunning. Solid Explorer The app offers:
  • a 2-pane window for easier file moving
  • multiple view settings, searching, sorting and bookmarking
  • local and remote file access including root, networks, FTP, SFTP, and Dropbox (I prefer it to Dropbox’s own app)
  • a basic but very quick text editor
Even if you’re not a web developer, Solid Explorer is a great app for anyone who needs to navigate the file system.

2. 920 Text Editor

There are a number of code editors on the Android platform but I’ve not found any which beat 920 Text Editor. 920 Text Editor It provides:
  • multiple file tabs
  • support for web syntaxes including HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP
  • configurable color coding
  • session handling
It’s not as quick as Solid Explorer’s basic editor, but is much closer to your desktop IDE.

3. VT View Source

Android browsers are fairly minimal and do not provide developer tools. VT View Source is a novel app which is compatible with all browsers and permits you to view the underlying HTML. Once it’s installed, you simply need to ‘share’ the page URL — VT opens then downloads and displays the source. There are several dozen color themes although I’m yet to find one which looks good!… VT View Source

4. kWS — Android Web Server

kWS is a fast and lightweight HTTP web server. It’s hardly Apache and only supports server-side includes, but can be useful for testing and demonstrating HTML, CSS and JavaScript applications. kWS There are a number of rudimentary Android solutions for running PHP and other server-side languages, but I struggled to find one which worked reliably. I’m sure someone, somewhere will create one soon.

5. MySQL Connect

We’ve all had those emergency moments when we need to connect to a remote MySQL database and don’t have a PC handy. OK, perhaps that’s stretching credibility a little, but MySQL Connect is a fine app which beats many desktop clients. It’s only a few hundred kB and you’ll never be caught short again. MySQL Connect

6. Hacker’s Keyboard

There’s nothing terribly wrong with the standard Android keyboard or third-party alternatives. They’re just not designed for coding. Hacker’s keyboard provides a full 5-row desktop-like experience with multiple layouts and language options. MySQL Connect

Bonus Apps! Android Browsers

The stock Android browser is great but, as a web developer, you need as many applications you can get your hands on. Go wild and install this lot… Opera Mini has much the same engine as you’ll find on older mobiles and iOS. Anyway, I’ve probably missed your favorite Android web development app. Let us know what you use…

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Free Android Web Development Apps

What are the best free Android apps for web development?

There are several free Android apps that are excellent for web development. Some of the top ones include AIDE Web, an integrated development environment that supports HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery; DroidEdit, a text and source code editor; and kWS, a lightweight and fast web server. These apps offer a range of features that can help you code, debug, and test your web projects right from your Android device.

Can I really develop a website using an Android app?

Yes, you can. With the right apps, you can code, test, and debug websites right from your Android device. These apps are designed to provide a mobile alternative to traditional desktop-based web development tools. They may not offer all the features of their desktop counterparts, but they are certainly capable of handling a good portion of web development tasks.

How do I choose the right web development app for my needs?

When choosing a web development app, consider your specific needs and the features offered by the app. Look for an app that supports the languages you work with (such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.), offers a user-friendly interface, and provides the tools you need for your projects (like code editing, debugging, and testing tools). Reading reviews and trying out different apps can also help you make an informed decision.

Are there any limitations to using Android apps for web development?

While Android apps for web development offer a lot of convenience, they do have some limitations. For instance, they may not offer as many features as desktop-based web development tools. Also, coding on a mobile device can be more challenging due to the smaller screen size. However, these apps are continually improving, and they can be a great option for web development on the go.

Can I use these apps to learn web development?

Absolutely. Many Android web development apps are designed with beginners in mind. They often include tutorials, examples, and other learning resources to help you get started with web development. Plus, being able to practice coding on your mobile device means you can learn and improve your skills anytime, anywhere.

How do I install and use these apps?

You can download and install these apps from the Google Play Store. Once installed, you can open the app and start using it for your web development tasks. Each app will have its own interface and features, so you may need to spend some time exploring and getting used to the app.

Can these apps handle complex web development projects?

While Android web development apps are capable of handling many web development tasks, they may not be suitable for very complex projects. For such projects, you may need to use more powerful, desktop-based web development tools. However, for simpler projects or for coding on the go, these apps can be quite useful.

Are these apps secure?

As with any app, the security of Android web development apps can vary. It’s important to download apps from trusted sources like the Google Play Store, and to read reviews and check the app’s permissions before installing. Also, remember to keep your apps updated to the latest version, as updates often include security improvements.

Do I need an internet connection to use these apps?

This depends on the app. Some apps may require an internet connection for certain features, while others can be used offline. Check the app’s description or contact the developer if you’re unsure.

Can I use these apps on other platforms, like iOS or Windows?

Most of the apps mentioned are specifically designed for Android and may not be available on other platforms. However, there are similar apps available for iOS and Windows. Be sure to check the respective app stores for these platforms to find suitable web development apps.

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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