I've started using my iPad for my lectures (giving them, not listening to them) and it's working Just Fine ( Is there a PDF annotation app for the iPad with minimal (or no!) annoying page transitions?). But I want more.

Sometimes, I like to have a little animation to demonstrate something, such as a pendulum under different conditions (friction, coupling, that sort of thing). Prior to using my iPad, I wrote these using processing which is a set of Java libraries that make it easy to write the sort of thing that I want. It has the bonus that I can export the programs as java applets to put on the web.

I'd like to be able to do this on the iPad. Since it doesn't support Java, I can't just run the applets in a web browser (which would be the easiest). So I need a different system. Initially, I thought that this was a hopeless task since programming directly on the iPad seemed not possible.

But then I ran across iLuaBox, Luna, and PyPad which seem to suggest that it is possible to have a limited programming environment on the iPad.

But searching for programming stuff on the App Store is fairly tricky as one gets a whole host of books on the topic and things that turn out to be just text editors (and searching for it off the App Store just turns up stuff about programming for the iPad). And I'd like to get a sense of all that's out there before experimenting since it seems certain that I'll have to learn a new programming language (and I'm no programmer).

So what apps are there that would allow me to write a simple graphical animation program?

A pendulum is a good example of what would be needed. It should:

  1. Have basic graphical capabilities: "draw a pendulum of length l at angle alpha"
  2. Be able to do basic maths: "the position of the pendulum at time t+h is computed from its position and velocity at time t by applying Newton's Laws"
  3. Have basic programming capabilities: loops, conditionals, variables, and so forth.

One that I have found that would seem to have all of that is this one. I have to admit that the temptation to write my animations on an iPad using CBM64 BASIC is very strong (plus it doesn't have such a steep learning curve as, say, Lua since once long ago I used to program in BASIC on a CBM64), but if there's something a little more practical then I might just find the strength to resist.

1 Answer 1


You may want to take a look at Codify. It's meant for creating games, but it should do animations just fine.

  • That looks quite promising. I've emailed the developer with a few questions and will see what he says. Oct 27, 2011 at 12:36
  • I've started using this and it's working very nicely. It seems to be heavily influenced by processing, which makes my life easier! (Incidentally, it looks as though they're going to rename it to Codea in the next update.) Nov 14, 2011 at 11:52

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