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Nilesh D Kapadia

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Android SSH App with Full Bluetooth Keyboard Support

As a UNIX and Emacs user, the idea of having a mobile device with a Bluetooth keyboard attached with an SSH client is very appealing. I can get a lot done with just a shell and Emacs. However, Bluetooth keyboard support in most SSH clients for iOS and Android typically is lacking full support. Ctrl and Alt/Meta key combinations often don’t all work. There was enough missing such that I couldn’t comfortably use Emacs with my usual keybindings. For iOS I did not find a solution, and I think the problem is that Apple does not give developers enough access to the keyboard to make this possible. With Android, all the actual SSH apps I tried were also lacking this, but I did eventually find an app that worked (without rooting), and that app’s primary purpose wasn’t even a SSH client, it just happened to include one.

The app I found is Terminal IDE. Terminal IDE is “an expandable terminal application, with a full Java / HTML / Android development kit” and it happens to include a SSH client. Bluetooth keyboard support appears to work perfectly, and I can use all the Emacs-style key combinations I normally use (all the Ctrl or Alt key combinations that I use).

© 2017 Nilesh D Kapadia