Platforms: iOS, Android
Awhile back I wrote about how I used the WordPress app on my iPad to write posts at SPSU. However, the WordPress app is useful for other things too. Because of this, I decided to go ahead and give it a full write up. I’m going to focus on the iPad here (because it’s better both for writing and reading), although just about everything I’ll mention also applies to the iPhone.
I’m going to split this review into three sections – one for each of the main things I do with the WordPress app. The first is writing posts. I haven’t been using this much lately, as I’m currently on summer break, but I intend to go back to writing posts on my iPad at school when the fall semester starts. Writing in the WordPress app is pretty simple, as it should be. The main writing screen (see image 1) is mostly dedicated to just that: writing. There’s a few rich-text options at the bottom, nothing too fancy but nevertheless a solid set of tools. I was most impressed that the WordPress app also had plenty of support for adding extra metadata to posts (see image 2). Categories, tags, an even a featured image can easily be added. The WordPress app also has good support for unpublished drafts. This is imperative for me since I write posts in advance and then spend a few days editing them. The app’s writer doesn’t have every feature WordPress.com has – for example, I can add images to a post, but not an image gallery – but it has enough that I can write the majority of a post on the iPad and then tidy it up the next day when I get on the computer.
The second part of the WordPress app that I use is the reader. This (obviously) allows me to follow other people’s blogs. Of course I can follow other WordPress blogs, but the WordPress app is also an RSS reader, so I can add pretty much any other blog I want. I was using IFTTT to send my RSS subscriptions to Pocket (see this recipe), but recently I’ve been exploring WordPress more and I liked the convenience of following blogs with one click. We’ll see what I end up using in the long term.
The last part of the app I want to talk about is notifications. I get push notifications every time someone follows this blog, comments on a post, replies to a comment I posted somewhere else, and so on. This is nice because it makes it easy to stay up to date about what’s happening here. WordPress notifications work well, and they’ve also done an excellent job managing notifications across multiple devices. With many apps I can only look at notifications on my iPhone because otherwise I’ll get tons of duplicates. I’m actually less concerned about multiple devices ringing at once; the big problem is that after I’ve dealt with a notification on one device it’s still there on another. However, WordPress avoids this problem. If you get a push notification on one device, but then look at it on another, the first device’s push notification automatically clears. This retroactive notification clearing is something every app should have. The only other apps I know of that do this are iOS Mail, iMessage, and Twitter. These are all super-high level apps (two of them preloaded, system apps), and it’s impressive that WordPress is in the same plane in this regard.
So as you can see, the WordPress app is a pretty good jack of all trades. It’s not perfect, but right now it’s doing a great job of helping me keep up with this site and the greater WordPress community. The WordPress app is definitely one of my iPad’s indispensable apps, and I hope WordPress continues improving it in the future. ••