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WordPress iOS App: Good for Bloggers

The verbification of WordPress lets me down when I reflect on the iOS app.

This is a big distinction.

The app is great. I love using it to write a blog post when I’m on the go, and save for my annoyance that it wants to default to publish and even if I move it to draft, it saves the date and time that moment in time, it’s a good app.

But it’s not great for non-bloggers.

Let me step back. I run a little database site on WordPress. It’s a listing of TV shows and characters and while it has a blog, it has a bunch of custom post types. Want to know what you can’t write on the iOS app? Pages and CPTs. You also can’t add new users or plugins or anything like that. All I can do is write up a blog post about things. Sure, I can upload pictures but I can’t add them to the library in general, just to posts (and yes, I care about that sometimes). Uploading and setting a featured image is also more complicated than it should be. I often end up with the image uploaded twice.

Realistically, I look at the iOS app and I’m not sure who the target audience is. It’s very easy to add my WordPress.com account and view my reader there, but that’s a different group of people than the ones who want to blog. Then there’s the thought of actually blogging. If you’re on WordPress.com, you can’t add custom post types, so that issue is null, but you still can’t edit pages or Portfolios (which comes with all .com blogs now).

It makes you start to wonder if there should be separate apps, for WordPress.com and self-hosted people, and to that I think not. I’m always going to be logged in to WordPress.com on my iPad because of Jetpack and a desire to see my stats. But at the same time, I really don’t care as much about my WordPress.com blogs. I should, but over time I’ve merged them all into my self-hosted sites because it’s easier for me to go to one place. It’s with that in mind I think we should just have one place for all our WordPress iOS/app needs.

Then you have to consider what the use-case is of a WordPress app. For me, it’s that I want to work on a draft post while on the go and save it offline, only to have it magically get tossed up onto my blog when I’m online. I think of it like Numbers and iCloud. I can edit my archery spreadsheet on my iPhone while I’m at the range and it’s automagically updated on my laptop when I next open Numbers there. Of course, WordPress blogs don’t really work that way.

But at this point, that’s all the iOS app is good for, because I can’t administer my site from it. This isn’t so bad, since people like Boren are rabid mobile-first devs for the WordPress admin dashboard. At the same time, we’ve only had it be mobile responsive since 3.8 or so, and it’s been spotty for doing ‘everything’ due to OS limitations, which makes it imperfect. As much as I’m a fan of using WordPress to WordPress, it’s the simple things that make me look at Desk for my laptop. Someplace to write.

Except for that, the iOS app still fails because I can only write a blog post, and most WordPress sites are more than just blogging now.

At WordCamp San Francisco 2014, I heard more and more people refer to their sites as ‘A WordPress’ than ‘A WordPress blog.’ Every day at work I hear people asked if they would like to setup a WordPress on their site. We’ve verbified the word, but we haven’t verbified the app yet.