Popular blogging service WordPress has been offering mobile apps for writing posts, editing comments, and generally managing your blog for a few years. But the company’s iOS and Android apps have never been as easy to use as the web-based WordPress admin panel. Among other things, the mobile apps lack a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor for simple things like italicizing text, creating bullet points, or uploading images. Today WordPress finally launched a mobile app which looks like the web-based editor.
The only catch? It’s for webOS. Now don’t get me wrong, webOS is an excellent mobile operating system with great support for multitasking. With the HP TouchPad which hits the streets today, it’s a good time for WordPress to launch the new mobile app which appears to be designed with the tablet in mind.
But webOS also happens to be a platform that a relatively small number of people actually use right now. It’s a bit surprising that WordPress didn’t focus its efforts on developing a full visual editor for more popular platforms such as iOS or Android first. Update: Although as David Frahm points out, a key difference between iOS, Android, and webOS is that HP’s mobile platform is based on web standards — something the folks at WordPress already know a lot about.
In addition to the visual editor, the WordPress app for webOS supports a Sliding Panel view which allows you to flip between different views. The app allows you to manage posts and comments and view your blog’s traffic stats. You can also receive notifications when new messages arrive.
Surprising? Nope. The pundits continue to underestimate mobile development using existing, open, familiar technologies. It is understandable though. I just don’t think people understand how challenging and not fun it is to have to learn a different language, tooling, event model, API, etc. for each platform.
BlackBerry is moving to WebWorks, webOS has always been web native, and PhoneGap will handle the others until web is more native.
And mobile dev is not just about phones and tablets… Want to build a Chrome OS app? That’s web native. A Firefox extension? That’s web native, too.
Good point, and I’ve added it to the article. I’m just saying that a) the iOS/Android userbase is clearly already much larger and b) WordPress has a huge head start on those other platforms, since apps have been available for years. I’m surprised they haven’t figured out how to do this yet…
But maybe you’re right. Maybe this isn’t about the userbase or capabilities of different platforms so much as the ease of porting the WordPress web UI to a mobile platform that uses similar development tools.
WYSIWYG on iOS 4 is very limited due to some current limitations on iOS. Specifically UIWebView does not currently support the contentEditable feature for HTML DOM elements which most all WYSIWYG editors are built upon.
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