I read a statistic once that said that WordPress powers over 22% of all new websites, worldwide. Wow. That’s a staggering amount of data, and yet the platform that many bloggers know and love is still going strong after years in the business. I’ve been using it on my personal site for years, and we use it here at AppStorm, too. It’s about as solid as you can get.
Problem is, the WordPress app for the iPad has historically not been very good, turning off quite a few users. But now, we have Poster, an app that promises to make the process of writing and publishing blog posts to your WordPress site much easier. Does it hold up, or is it just another flash in the pan? Let’s discover together.
History Plays a Role
When the iPad first came out, I yearned to post to my website via the device because it was so much more convenient — I take it everywhere, why not blog on it too? When the official WordPress app came out, I was ecstatic. Finally! But v1.0 sucked, and so did quite a few variations afterwards. It’s gotten much better since then, but once bitten, as they say.
Even if the official app was perfect, there are certain things it’s just not likely to ever have — Markdown support, for example. Since writing in Markdown is so popular nowadays (I’m doing it right now), lots of people want a WordPress editor that supports the format. Poster fills that void.
When you first fire up Poster, you setup your blog via two options: WordPress.com hosted, or WordPress.org — Self hosted. I’ve always used the latter, so I went forward with that process. It’s all pretty straightforward: login, URL, password, etc. I entered in all my info, and away I went, no problems at all.
How It Works
Now for Poster to be successful, it needs to be able to do everything that you can do on your WordPress site. That means writing posts, inserting images, scheduling and everything else you can do live. The only real exceptions that I can think of are managing plug-ins, because really, this is about posting to your site, not handling all the fancy back-end stuff. At least that’s how I see it.
To test it out, I made up a new blog post on my personal site using Poster, and did everything I needed to do. I typed the content using Markdown, entered a little bit of info here and there, then added a picture. When all was said and done, it went live with no problems, and looked perfect.
All this is well and good, but what if you’re managing multiple blogs? Turns out you can do that too. To try it out, I tested it on my wife’s personal website; the catch is that you have to enable Remote Publishing XML-RPC, something I had already done on my personal site, but not yet on hers. Once that was done via the web, I was good to go.
Two things are important to me getting things done: Markdown and TextExpander. We’ve already touched on Markdown lots of different times, but let’s take a moment to discuss TextExpander. Although it can be used for multiple things, I use it as a spell checker, for entering code, shortcuts — all sorts of stuff. Since Poster supports TextExpander, that means I can write exactly like I can on my Mac, and just as efficiently.
In addition, you can customize your blog’s icon, which comes in particularly handy if you have multiple sites. Inserting pictures can be done via the iPad’s library, or by taking a picture on the spot. You can also tweet out or email posts, which is a great way to promote your blog. But the big one here is Dropbox support.
By connecting Poster to your Dropbox account, you’ve got a ton of additional options that open up. Let’s say you write something down on your iPhone to post later, and you save it into your Dropbox folder. You can then upload that text file into Poster and make it a new post right on the spot. By integrating this into a Simplenote system, you’re able to write wherever and post however you want. Talk about flexibility!
Whenever I finish a review, I ask myself two pretty basic questions: how long will I use this app, and does it provide a service that I need? For Poster, I think it’s a long-term relationship. It’s easy to use, works the way I do and gets the job done. I don’t know if it will always be my go-to app for WordPress posts, but having it is better than having nothing at all.
Don’t think that I’m downplaying the app here, because that’s not my intention. Poster is by far the best WordPress app I’ve used, and I’ve tried quite a few. Is it perfect? I think that it will get there pretty quickly, because there’s not much left to do. And when I had a problem during testing (which turned out to be an out-of-date version of the app), the developer got back to me within two hours. He cares about his product, and that tells me that it’ll be kept in service for a long time.
So here’s what it all comes down to: should you buy Poster? If you’re a WordPress user, definitely.