Sketch and pencils for an illustration to accompany the short story in A Hero’s Death graphic novel
Elvis Sighting, my first novel, is out today on all digital platforms. You can even get it drm free at the Carina Press web site. If you like mystery, urban fantasy, and funny stories, you should consider giving it a read.
WordPress makes a great app for posting to your WordPress.com or self hosted site, but sometimes the official app doesn’t cut it. In my case, for some reason I’ve not been able to figure out, I cant upload photos to my website with the official app, so I had to resort to alternatives.
I will say upfront that when it works, the official iOS WordPress app is pretty much the best, but each of the following apps can replace it as long as you’re willing to make trade-offs. Some are paid, some are free, but all of them can get you posting.
I only looked at apps for iPhone. There are a number of iPad only apps, but if I’m working on a device that big, might as well open up the MacBook.
Tinydesk – free with IAP to remove post footer
This app is both the best and the worst of the bunch. Its major drawbacks are that you can’t edit posts or pages once they’ve been saved to your server and it doesn’t support the iOS dictionary.
On the plus side, it is one of only two apps that let’s you insert images from your media library.
The app also uses a unique method for post creation. It treats each block of text or image as a discreet block. As you create these blocks, you can drag them up and down to reorder. It is a novel approach that is pretty useful in longer form posts.
And for what it’s worth, this app is the most consistently compatible with my sites and always uploads images.
This app has a distinctly odd approach to content creation. Any formatting options are hidden away and can take several screens to do things like insert a link. Switching between sites is quite easy, however a site’s pages and posts are listed separately, which feels odd at first but you quickly get used to.
BlogPress has an interesting approach to image and movie management. You can set up a photo or movie service to upload your assets to instead of your blog. If you want to keep your images in Flickr or Picassa, for example, this is the tool for you. You can also post to Facebook and Twitter when you post to your blog, and send posts to multiple blogs.
This app has some great features, but it is just so painful to use that I have a hard time recommending it. Although my interest is strictly in WordPress compatibility, BlogPress does get credit for having the largest list of supported platforms.
Poster has a minimalist, flat, UX, which works to give you the most space available for writing, but takes some getting used to because it isn’t always obvious where the feature you’re looking for is hiding. For example, to give a post a title, you have to go into an options area, where you can also set categories, tags and the post format. It seems non-intuitive at first, but once you’re used to it, it feels natural to handle all the post set up in one screen and the composition in another.
Poster also has a unique feature that let’s you create posts based on templates or copy which you can store on your DropBox account or that is in the iOS clipboard. This is a pretty handy feature if you are working with existing content you want to move into WordPress or if you frequently post content that is formulaic.
UPDATE: It turns out this app was so good, Automatic, the people behind WordPress, bought the app, hired the developer, and discontinued the app. Which is a damn shame because it works when the official app doesn’t.
PressSync – Ad supported or $4.99
PressSync is an interesting app. Organizationally, it keeps all of your published, draft and local content separated, but mixes posts and pages together by publish status – so all your draft pages and posts are grouped together. I make extensive use of drafts and really like this feature, but it can get unwieldy if you have lots of posts and pages.
The listings of content is very informative, giving you and clear view what category and post is in, as well as any tags, and displays a thumbnail for attached media.
PressSync is also the only other app that gives you access to your media library, either for directly uploading media or adding media to a post. But despite showing an image thumbnail in the list of posts, it does not show images in the posts themselves.
One of PressSync’s strengths is that it gives you a LOT of control over the way it interacts with your media and content. It supports slugs and sticky posts, although that feature doesn’t seem to work with my themes. You can also specify exactly what size you want your images to uploaded at, which is nice if you are trying to match images into certain templates.
The app also gives you control over the app itself, and allows you to toggle on and off things like auto-capitalization and spell checking.
On the down side, switching between posts and pages is cumbersome, as is accessing basic formatting, which is located in a different pane. That said, it supports a lot of HTML and markdown formatting and gives you access to frequently used formatting.
For total feature set, PressSync clobbers all the other apps, but it also gives it the highest learning curve.
On the image side, either take a photo or load an image from your camera roll, crop it, apply filters or blur, and add text to it. When you’re done, you can give your post a title and add some text to it, or add another image, then upload your post to one or more services simultaneously.
It is extremely convenient if you want to post an image to two blogs, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. It is the only photo blogging app that I’ve found that supports self hosted WordPress sites.
All the IAP are for things like filter packs and effects, not core posting functionality.
To sum up…
So which is the best one?
PressSync is the power user app. Lots of control, lots of features, and offers the most complete set of blogging tools. If you’re only going to grab one app on this list, make it this one and invest the time to learn how to use it.
Poster is probably the most straight forward WordPress app replacement. It is a bitch that Automatic cancelled it. I wish they would at least make the official app work better.
TinyDesk…if only it let you edit drafts this would be my top choice. I find myself turning to TinyDesk fairly often despite that draw back because it does the best job of uploading images.
PressGram should be on your phone regardless of what app you pick as your steady. It’s ability to quickly post images is unrivaled.
BlogPress, despite it’s massive list of supported platforms and some neat features, is just quirky enough I don’t recommend it.
Today is the anniversary of Elvis’ death. If he were still alive, and I’m not saying he isn’t, he’d be 79.