Anyone who has tried to blog using the iPad has found that many of the popular blogging sites are not yet formatted to be used on the iPad. One of those is Blogger/Blogspot. This doesn’t come as too big of surprise to me, as it is now controlled by Google and we all know the relationship between Apple and Google is not the best at the moment. However it is rather odd that Google hasn’t realized the potentially damaging factors with not having iPad owners able to use many of their products.
Enter BlogPress ($2.99). I use blogger to maintain a blog, it’s a personal blog about music mostly and I have wanted a way to post to it using the iPad, and I know others are looking for the same thing, so I felt it was important to try this app out and give everyone a little information about it.
When I first loaded the app I was instantly nervous. The opening “welcome” message appeared and said, “You need to add at lease one account to start.”. That’s what it said, “at lease”, which I took to mean, rightfully so, “at least”. Even knowing this I was quickly thinking, “oh no!”. However, I will admit from that point on I was pleasantly surprised by MOST of what the app gives users.
When adding your Blogger account (or others including WordPress and Live Journal…no Tumblr though, hopefully this will come soon), users enter their username and passwords and it pulls a list of the blogs attached to it. You choose the one you want to use (you can add multiple accounts), and then start configuring it. Choose where you want to store photos, videos, etc. Once that is completed you are ready to post.
The post creation part of the app looks a lot like email (you can EMAIL your posts to Blogger, but I wanted an app), and users give the post a title, and start tapping the body of text. Along the way you can add an image from your gallery, choose it’s alignment and size, link to a larger version, and it includes it in the body. However, as I found out, it will not SHOW you the image in the alignment you have chosen, so if you choose ‘left’, it will remain in the center (until you publish the post).
When you are finished with a post, you can publish it immediately, or save it as a draft. But what if you want to publish it on a certain date in the future? Well, this is a little hidden, as well as the ability to add tags and categories to the post. It’s in the little “information” icon by the post title, and it did take me a few minutes to figure that out. However, I can’t fault the designers here, it appears they were trying to preserve screen space. I would suggest they find a different icon to represent this though.
On the left side of the screen users have access to their posts and can edit and manage them easily within the app. Users can see and edit published posts (more on this later) as well as those they have previously saved as drafts, can delete posts, add publishing to Twitter or Facebook, geo-tagging of posts, and change the font size (small, medium, or large). All in all BlogPress gives users the BASIC features needed to create a post for their blog account using an iPad.
However, with that said, I have to admit I was a little disappointed in some missing options. Especially the ability to add hyper-links to posts, formatting text in bold, italics, underline, as well as copy and paste for images from another location. Also, editing previous posts does not work well if you have tons of HTML code in them at the moment, as the app has a hard time using the HTML code inside the app from posts you have already made. But most people don’t edit posts often and this isn’t too much of a hinderance, but hopefully is fixed soon.
As I said, there are some missing features and some issues that need improving, but at $2.99 for a universal app that is easier to use than the actual sites on iPad or iPhone, it’s worth it. Also, since your posts are saved on the device when not using WiFi or 3G, you can create a post on the go (offline) and post it once you have WiFi again! Great for those spur-of-the-moment blog posts!
“Jonathan” aka “ReDMoSqUi” aka “Jon” aka “Jack” aka “Red” is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a Business Computer Technology teacher in North Carolina. Jon has worked on various websites since becoming interested in webdesign in the mid 90’s, including sites for bands such as Incubus and Dredg. “Red” is married with two children and has a weird obsession with technology, music, and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey! Contact me via email: jon (AT) theipadfan.com or visit the link below to Buzz with me on Google.