The WordPress iPad Application

So, the other day @bloggucation sent out the following Twitter message.

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Now, as a result of the WordPress notification, I had upgraded their application but hadn’t put it to use.  When I blog on my iPad which honestly is seldom, I use BlogPress.  Even with a bluetooth keyboard, I still find it easier to write on a conventional laptop computer.  I think it’s typically because I’m sitting in a reclining chair rather than at a desk.

So, I thought that I’d take a run at the new application and see what Aaron was talking about.  Following up on his blog and he had been raving about Blogsy, a $5 application for blogging.  As I started to poke around, I realize that it’s not fair to compare the two of them.  While Blogsy is an editor with a great deal of features, it doesn’t do everything WordPress that the WordPress application does.

In fact, as I started messing around with the new application, I could see myself using it for a number of things.

Once it’s up and running, you connect any WordPress blogs that you’ve got going to it.  Click a blog and you’ll see all of your recent posts.  More importantly, look at the left column.  It’s like looking at the menu bar of the web interface.

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One of the things that I always do is keep track of the most recent comments and comment back, if appropriate.  I can do that here.

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Even more impressive, I can pull up my regular dashboard.  Hmmm.  Looks like it’s time to take out the spam.

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And, a nice feature, is that I can easily tap into the other WordPress blogs that I follow other than my own.  You’ll see Stephen Hurley’s blog featured prominently!

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So, after the initial walkthrough, I decide to write this post.  The editor has many of the things that I do regularly when writing.  Across the bottom, you’ll see the tools needed to upload videos or images.  I took the screen captures that you see in this post and they end up in the picture gallery.  Uploading an image can be done by taking a picture with your camera or pulling one in from the Library.  Any video that I use is typically an embed from YouTube so I doubt that I’ll be using the video update feature.  Editing and checking the blog is done by flipping between text and preview mode.  For me, I didn’t find that a real problem as I typically work with the HTML of the post.  I can see where that might be of concern.

I do find writing a complete post like this awkward on an iPad.  So, I don’t see me changing that part of my blogging life any time soon.  However, the ability to flip through all of the other things, including having access to the Dashboard without having to load a browser and logging in through the web feels just right.

Back to Aaron’s original post.  I can see his point if he’s looking for an application with an easy UI suitable for education and multi-blog postings.  For me with just a WordPress blog and with all of the other management tools, I will be keeping this application on the iPad for a while!

5 Comments

  1. Hey, Doug
    I think you’ve highlighted in defence a number of things that are still wrong with the app – i.e.”I do find writing a complete post like this awkward on an iPad.” This should never be the case. It should be a joy like everything else on the device. The HTML in your post (in screenshot above) is also still an issue. A clear editor in preview is the norm today and is in most other apps. HTML is debugging, finetuning, and tweaking only on an advanced level. Novice and beginning users have no idea how to use the code. It should never be presented to the layman user as default. To each his own, but many look to you as the “yoda” of stellar apps. This is clearly not it and not one I’ll be promoting in my travels. Plus, you are a .com user – the app is designed and geared to you. The 8,000 plus users on the @HWDSBCommons are self-hosted and this is useless for them. I’m looking more to the greater good than the individual few and .com installs were never a priority of my tweet. Perhaps I should have clarified.

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  2. Just to clarify, “writing a complete post like this awkward” refers to holding an iPad in one hand while typing with the other. Ditto for attaching a bluetooth keyboard and trying to balance in a chair while typing and watching television. I find a regular laptop far more convenient.

    Just doing the math here – 8000 users @ $5 per – you’re going to shell out that kind of money on the chance that they’re going to use it for blogging?

    As with most applications, I suspect that this will be the first of a number of revisions. Yes, I have a .com account – it illustrates to any that care – that you can blog with freely available tools. Perhaps I monitor comments and statistics more than others but, for me, the ability to write, edit, reply, track all the wordpress I follow, and monitor all within one application is intriguing.

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  3. They are really two different apps for two different purposes. The power of Blogsy lies in its attempts to centralize everything you need to create a blog post in one space. Currently writing a post using the WordPress app is a cumbersome dance between the writing screen and a series of double-taps to flip to Safari to locate and double-check links one might want to include. The worst UI infraction happens when you want to embed a Youtube video. The YouTube app on the iPad automatically opens when you search for a video in Safari, and does not make the embed code (or even the URL available) without first going through the motions of perhaps sharing the video via email, which opens the mail app, and then copying and pasting the URL from the draft email. Blogsy’s integrated browser, with drag and drop link management, and its ability to drag YouTube videos into a post from within the blogging app screen, does a nice job of alleviating these issues. Matt Mullenweg can be seen espousing the importance of a mobile-first blogging platform about 20 minutes into his most recent State of the Word address. The native WordPress app does not achieve this, and further, exemplifies a focus on the wordpress.com universe first (and why not: that’s where the money is).

    The reader is great, and perhaps future versions of the Jetpack Plugin will enable readers to follow .org blogs from within that interface. The gains they have made in serving up a better social experience on wordpress.com (like, reblog, follow, and now access to the reader on mobile) show a movement towards becoming the long-form equivalent to twitter, at the cost of a federated social web build on users and organizations that prefer to own their content, avoid the data-mine, and host privately using .org.

    I had once thought that the WordPress iOS app served both masters well; but where Blogsy seems more focused on making blogging on an iPad seamless, the new WordPress app has instead focusing on the social aspects of the .com community. Perhaps the words of Matt will spur the developers into creating an interface that truly focuses its efforts on a mobile-first blogging platform, until then, I’m using Blogsy.

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