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Summary:

When I was tasked to write a roundup of iPad blogging apps, I figured this would be the usual pros and cons of four or five apps. Instead, I found only two, one of which is specific to WordPress. Neither app made me all that happy.

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When I was tasked to write a roundup of iPad blogging apps, I figured this would be the usual pros and cons of four or five apps. Instead, I found only two, one of which is specific to WordPress (see our disclosure below). Since neither of the two apps made me all that happy, the multi-app roundup I was hoping for instead became a case of “two apps enter, no app leaves.”

Blogging on the iPad is a sorry state of affairs — I’m also coming at this from the angle of a prose blog, not a photo blog. Both WordPress and BlogPress allow you to do the same basic features: type in your thoughts and press publish. Neither of the apps let you define links or format your text — you’re limited to plain style. Some of this, I am led to believe from researching other apps with the same problem (Evernote), is how restrictive Apple is on its rich text features. On the other hand, all of the Office-style apps out there let you format text, so I don’t know what’s up. What I do know is, neither of these two apps even come close to the feature set most bloggers need.

WordPress (Free)

As the official app for WordPress, it’s a sad commentary when the best I can say is, “Some of the time, it doesn’t crash. And it’s free.” A quick five minute double-check of some features yielded four crashes. It crashed inserting a picture. It crashed while canceling edits. I wouldn’t be surprised if it crashed while crashing. When I was able to successfully insert a picture, it didn’t show up in the local draft; I had to go out to the local view to see it, and even then it was just code, not a visual. You can, however, manage comments, pages, and assign categories within the WordPress App.

I was also impressed with its offline features. It cached previous posts which made it handy to reference what I’d  said about a topic.

BlogPress ($2.99)

In addition to the hearty, “It crashes less” feature, BlogPress also connects to Blogger, MSN Live Spaces, Movable Type, TypePad, Live Journal, Drupal and Joomla in addition to WordPress. If you’re not using WordPress, BlogPress is the only game in town for you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t connect to Tumblr. I had a lot more success with this app, even within my WordPress-hosted sites. For starters, the only time it crashed on me was when I connected it to Live Journal, and when I relaunched it everything was OK. Inserted pictures showed up inline where I wanted them to, and I could adjust their alignment, but not their size. I was also unable to manage comments or edit static Pages in BlogPress. Still, I found BlogPress to be worth the $2.99.

My recommendation for BlogPress is somewhat grudging. It’s not a bad app, but I’m hard pressed to find many blog posts I’ve ever written that I could do entirely in either of these apps. Almost every post has bolded or italic text, an image, and a link or two. Of those three things, both apps only let me embed the image. Unless I’m writing a rare text-only post, I’ll need the web front-end of each site to wrap up the post. Sure, the apps are good for throwing a post together on the iPad and tossing it in the online Drafts folder for later editing, but it’s pretty sad I can’t rely on either of them to start-to-finish an average blog post.

Hopefully, at some point we’ll see a better selection, as well as the ability to format text and insert links. Until then, BlogPress earns my enthusiastic “At least it sucks less than the WordPress app” seal of approval.

Disclosure: Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

  1. Curious as to how these dedicated apps fair when compared to the plain ol’ browser back-ends of each software, especially on WordPress?

    Many of these apps don’t expand much on what already works on the web, and with the big screen of the iPad, it makes some apps pointless.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing this comparison updated with the web versions included. Not everything needs an app after all.

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    1. If I recall correctly, the only thing you can’t do on the WordPress web site is insert pictures. However, even when I bolded text, instead of appearing bold, it had blahblahblahblah tags which was a little off-putting.

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      1. err crap, it did’t come out right. It had STRONG /STRONG tags in the editor.

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      2. I don’t think the Visual editor on the WP web version works; you have to use the HTML view.

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  2. Agreed. Dedicated blogging apps aren’t as critical on the iPad as they were on iPhone, since the larger iPad screen makes it much easier to work with browser-based admin panels.

    Still, I’d love to see an full-featured iPad version of MarsEdit someday.

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    1. Daniel Jalkut has mentioned more than once that he desires to make a version of MarsEdit for the iPad he just has to find the time to do it.

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  3. I agree that I’m surprised and waiting for a better blogging app to maintain my schools Drupal site. There is an Evernote module for Drupal that posts directly to your site whenever you update or create an Evernote with the correct tag. Haven’t tried it yet.

    Also ran into the rich text limitation with a Craigslist app that allows posting. Why is this an Apple restriction and what do we have to do to get it changed.

    Thanks for the story.

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  4. Sorry for the question but I can’t edit the text of a post into the web admin of wordpress. I have to do anything to enable this field to edit??

    Despite this, all my posts have at least one image so the admin panel is not an option to me. Maybe in next versions.

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    1. I had that problem. When I was writing this and tried to replicate it, I couldn’t.

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      1. You need to use the HTML view on the web version of WordPress. The Visual editor doesn’t work on an iPad.

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  5. The lady on the site below claims that she blogs from all over the world using her ipad. she has a few more apps on her site. Maybe something in her list would make blogging on the ipad more doable:

    http://thebigfatworld.com/around-the-world-travel/around-the-world-travel-part-17/comment-page-1/#comment-2286

    It sounds like the ipad could use some more apps that fit the bill better though. Thanks for the tip, I know not to rush out and by one now.

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  6. What about the Typepad app? It is missing some features, but it does exist.

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  7. I find the WordPress app on iPhone or iPad messes with a posts formatting.

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  8. I have a blogspot blog and I can post fine, the ipad browser messes with my dashboard though. It doesn’t show any of the blogs I’m following so I have to check those out different ways.

    ipad skins

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  9. I too had a play with the WordPress app and gave up with it in frustration.

    +1 for an iPad version of MarsEdit. Great little app.

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  10. I think I have identified your problem: You are attempting to use a large media player as a replacement for a general purpose personal computer.

    I understand that the size of the media player might trick you into thinking it’s a viable replacement, but size, in this case, does not matter.

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