App Review: WordPress 2

Category: Social Networking
Price: Free
TiP Rating: 2/5 stars
Release Date: 12/01/2009
Version: 2.1
Seller: Automattic, Inc
Rated: 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch, requires OS 3.0 or later.

App Store Description: Manage your WordPress blog from your iPhone or iPod Touch. With WordPress for iPhone, you can moderate comments and create or edit posts and pages. All you need is a WordPress.com blog or a self-hosted blog running WordPress 2.7 or higher.

Summary: WordPress 2 for iPhone is an App which is designed purely for functionality and not for fun. It seems to work well, but, typing on a small QWERTY keypad isn’t particularly comfortable or enjoyable. That being said it works well practically and delivers pretty good results for plain text use. Formatting and embedding images, however, can prove problematic.

Review: This is the second time I’ve had to write this now, using the App is very frustrating. I thought to myself ‘what better way to review the App than to use it to write the review.’ Boy, was I wrong. After writing my review the first time, I hit ‘save’ and it lost my progress, now I am reduced to saving it after every sentence.

The App, when working, is user-friendly enough. Once you’ve logged in you hit ‘posts’ and start creating or editing your blog. You type your text in the required fields, then when you’ve written your post, you can add pictures and even preview your entry. It works ok, except when it forgets what you’ve written!

I don’t have a lot of positives to take from this experience. It seems as if the creators of WordPress have purely made this tool to try and appeal more to bloggers with iPhones. Attempting to appear flexible and appealing without really taking much care designing the App to be reliable and aesthetically pleasing.

There are many gaps in the design, and it finds itself lacking in a lot of areas. Firstly you can’t edit the font in any way, so you can’t change the size, or make it bold, something which is standard on any text editing program. This means unless you want an unprofessional-looking entry you can’t publish it right away, you have to save it for later. There is a huge lack of space to get a good overview of your post, and there’s also no option to embed pictures in to the post itself. You can add pictures, but it saves them in a gallery, again meaning you need to access it from a computer at another time to edit it further.

This is not a fully featured WordPress blog editor and it leaves your work feeling incomplete. If you’re a news writer and your posts need to be published quickly, don’t waste your time, even if it is free of charge. If you don’t mind not publishing immediately and just need a tool to jot down a quick draft, then this is fine for that. When I say fine, I mean very average. It does the job but very lazily.

However, to end on a high, I can see a bright future with the iPad release on the horizon. If they make a special version for the iPad that is fully functional then it will be a big hit with any blogger using WordPress.

(The formatting had to be done later for this post, as did adding the pictures in the right place, the App just placed them in a list at the bottom of the page.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: As an addendum to Cam’s review, the one feature that does work well is approving comments. As an administrator to this TiP blog, it was definitely handy, being mobile, running errands and traveling away from the desktop, while still being able to manage comments. But this, too, could be improved with the addition of push notifications to let the user know when a new comment has arrived. As it is, having to launch the app to refresh the latest information had me checking the app frequently. –Adriana Lee

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