Blog Bytes

WordPress To Go

These days I find I’m writing most of my blog posts on my iPad using the WordPress mobile app. With the latest update, it’s gotten even easier to add and update content. In addition to my own blogs – currently there are four – I also manage four more. Each of them are set up in the mobile app and I can quickly move from one to the other. For self-hosted sites, the Jetpack plugin must be installed to make the site accessible in the app.

Site List
The Sites screen showing the sites I manage. My managed sites are “turned off” for privacy.

At the bottom of the Sites screen is a toolbar. From here I can view the Reader – a newsreader presenting the latest articles from any WordPress sites I follow. This includes both WordPress.com and self-hosted sites with Jetpack installed. Tap the pencil icon and I’m taken to the post editing screen. The Me icon is where I manage my connection to WordPress.com and find the app’s help files. I can also manage comments and receive updates related to my sites from the Notifications screen.

Once I select a site, the screen presents an options menu so I can choose what I want to do. For the few features that aren’t – yet – available through the mobile app, I can tap the View Admin option to open the web-based Dashboard to work there. Notice that Comments is one of the menu options.

Options menu
The site options menu.

When the editor screen first appears it can be quite intimidating. Unlike the web-based editing screen, this one’s almost blank. There are a couple of tool icons in the header and a very minimal toolbar at the bottom. The first thing I do is tap the gear icon at the top of the screen and go to the settings screen for this post. Here’s where the category, tags and posting status are located. By default it is set to publish. I immediately change this to draft – a lesson I learned the hard way by accidentally publishing a very rough draft. Once I’ve done that, the “Post” button in the header changes to “Update”. Tap the eyeball icon at any time to preview your post. Editing screen

In this example you see the on-screen keyboard. When a bluetooth keyboard is connected to your device, you’ll only see the simple editing toolbar at the bottom of the editing screen. I much prefer using an external keyboard for any serious writing – especially because the keyboard’s arrow keys make it much easier to move within the text for editing. I can also use standard keyboard shortcuts like CMD/C and CMD/V to copy/paste text.

Adding images in the mobile app used to be a challenge, but the latest iOS app update supports adding images straight from my Photos library. To begin, I position my cursor where I want the image to appear then tap the image icon on the editing toolbar at the bottom of the screen. I’m taken to my Photos library where I can browse and select the image I want. It will take a few seconds for that image to “download”. It will appear grayed until the download is complete. Once done, I tap on the image and it will become blurred with an edit icon appearing in the center of it. The icon is white and not always easy to see – especially on screenshot images. Tap the edit icon.

The Edit Image panel appears over the image. Here I add title, captions, alt text and select display settings for alignment, links and size. Be sure to choose a size selection otherwise it will default to the image’s original size.  Tap Close (at top of panel) and the image is done.

At any time I can tap the preview icon to see what this post will look like on the site. Each time I tap the Update button, I am taken back to the Posts list. Notice the header shows I am looking at Draft posts. I can tap that and change it to view published or scheduled posts if I wish. At the bottom of each post in this lists is an action menu. From here I can edit, preview, publish or trash the post. If I’m ready to go ahead and publish, I can do that right here. If I want to schedule when it will be published, I will need to open the post’s editor screen and tap the gear icon to access the scheduling settings then tap the Schedule button (which replaced the Post button).

 

The only time I find the mobile app awkward is when I have a post that requires moving back and forth between apps and web sites for reference purposes. Maybe with iOS9’s split screen feature, even that will become a lot easier. And, although I don’t post content from my phone, I do have the app on it so I can respond to comments and use the reader. The Android app is not exactly the same, but still quite similar to what you’ve seen here. It’s available in the Kindle App Store and at Google Play.

If you blog with WordPress, these mobile apps are definitely worth a look.

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