Blink Shell for iOS: Fantastic Tool

Thread Starter

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,533
A relatively narrow but very enthusiastic recommendation for Blink Shell for iOS.

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If you use an iPad for sysadmin work, you need this. I previously used Prompt, which is good and I liked it, but has limitations that are a bit annoying. Blink, on the other hand opens up new vistas in iPaddery.

First, it is open source (those 19.99 on the app store and frankly worth every penny). This means the code is there to read, and extend if you want. Second, it is a sort of environment that blends the UNIXy CLI world with the iPad's GUI, very successfully. It has it's own "shell", which includes ports of very useful UNIX programs (sed, awk, grep, many others) that act on the local file system as well as iCloud stored files. It has network programs that can be used just like the UNIX versions (ping, host, dig, nc, curl, many others).

The terminal is excellent, fast, and customizable. It supports SSH and Mosh connections. It supports full escape sequences, and notification integration with iOS. It cleverly utilizes a hardware keyboard if you have one allowing remapping of some keys (I map ESC to ⌘ on key up so I can still use it for a modifier).

Vim works perfectly, which is, of course, a hard requirement. Using it with Mosh is absolutely brilliant. The sessions stay persistent no matter what, and a small indicator in the menu bar shows connected sessions and allows instant access. One more obscure feature is the "geo" program with uses iOS location services and can be set to disconnect all SSH (and Mosh) sessions if the iPad moves to far (for example, if it is stolen).

Icing on the cake is Blink is the most usable terminal I have ever tried on my phone. And, if you have an Apple TV available you can use it as a screen either mirrored or a second display.

Overall, if you are doing syadmin work with an iOS device and not using Blink, you are making the same mistake I did and I encourage you to correct it!
 
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