Processing has done wonders in popularizing for designers and artists the notion of using code to express visual ideas. Now, what if you didn’t have to fold the hinge of your laptop to explore ideas? What if it were as near as an iPhone or iPad? (Or, I suspect, other platforms, too?)

PR0C3551N6 isn’t the first tool to venture into these waters, but it looks like it could be the most sophisticated yet. Bring up your device’s touch keyboard (you’ll need some way to tap up that code), and start sketching. Through the power of Processing.js, you can run your creation, for creating generative artwork, interactive interfaces, and other visual ideas. To aid your coding process, the tool highlights syntax and includes integrated documentation. And you can use it even without an Internet connection – perfect for a distraction-free train ride.

You can even share creations, making this a mobile sketchpad that you can bring into your development environment on your “real” computer.

There are sacrifices in this system, of course. iOS doesn’t support Java, so full Processing functionality is out of the question. With that, you lose library support and 3D functionality, and console support is limited, though the print commands work. But that’s hardly a deal killer, because what you’d most want to do on a mobile platform – even a powerful tablet – is lightweight sketching, with the bigger, fancier projects on your laptop or desktop machine.

Ironically, the one mobile platform on which you can run full-blown Processing code is Android. But because Android apps require a sophisticated build toolchain on a desktop, I doubt we’ll see coding for Processing for Android directly on an Android device – at least, not without a nearby computer to do the heavy lifting. If you are a jealous Android user, though, this kind of functionality could be incorporated into a native Android app, too.

I hope developer Michael Markert releases the code under a free license. I’d happily pay more for the app on the App Store if I thought it’d help open development of the idea, and such a release could help assist people trying other platforms, including but not limited to Android. (Having a similar environment that worked across platforms has appeal, too.) But regardless, it’s admirable work.

More information:

I’ll post an update when it’s done and available! Thanks to the illustrious Ilan Katin for the tip!