I’ve started to shy away from the bulk of text editors that hit my inbox since few bring something different to the table. There’s only so many ways you can rewrite a text editor, and while I’d love to cover everything the ones I really want to showcase have to offer something truly unique for me to sit down and crank out a review in TextMate. It’s terribly difficult to find something that stands out, but I think those disappointed with the App Store’s current offering may find something of interest here. Daedalus Touch for the iPad is different in part because of how it allows you manipulate documents in a hybrid stack & coverflow style that takes advantage of gestures, and not lists, to organize your ideas. There are no lists or hierarchy of folders, but rather stacks of sheets that contain your text. Of course it has Dropbox and TextExpander support (a must nowadays), which means you don’t have an excuse not to check Daedalus past the break.
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#MacStoriesDeals – Tuesday
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The official WordPress app for iOS, available for iPhone and iPad and often criticized by many (including me) for its proverbial instability and lack of poweruser-oriented features, has been updated earlier today to include a new button to quickly insert a new photo — they call the feature Quick Photo — as well as stats for your WordPress blogs. The new Quick Photo functionality only works on the iPhone for now, and WordPress notes in the 2.8 changelog this may be the last update that supports older systems running iPhone OS 3. Quick Photo is clearly oriented to those users who maintain a photo-centric blog, as it’s meant to let you snap a picture as quickly as possible without even selecting the destination blog first. Stats, on the other hand, are a welcome addition that are enabled by default on WordPress.com blogs, but require the installation of the standalone plugin or Jetpack on self-hosted WordPress.org blogs. The WordPress developers write on the iOS blog:
Finally you’re able to check your blog’s statistics on the go. There are charts for Daily, Weekly, and Monthly page views, swipe over them to see the others. You can also see Daily Views by date, as well as top Post Views, Referrers, Search Terms, and Clicks for the past 7 days.
Last, the update also introduces localizations for 10 languages (Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Hebrew, German, Dutch, French, and Croatian) and bug fixes. WordPress says they’ve fixed 3/4 of the problems reported by users in the previous version, released in March. Get the app here.
The lack of great blogging apps for the iPad always puzzled me as a strange inconsistency with a device — and overall, a platform — that in the past year has proved to be more than a simple ecosystem for games and utilities. The iPad — and to an extent, iOS — has become more than a lightweight piece of glass and aluminum for watching movies and playing some Angry Birds. Sure it’s great at those tasks, but then I look at OmniFocus, Simplenote, iFiles, or LogMeIn and I realize there’s so much to do on this device than just consuming content. The iPad was indeed quickly dismissed by many as a “media tablet” when it came out last year: but think about the musicians, the writers, the designers and the movie editors that did all those amazing things using only an iPad. Clearly, this isn’t just about playing games anymore. This isn’t about the passive interaction with content: it’s about the two-way relationship with consuming and creating content made possible by the 75,000 apps available in the App Store.
But then I look at bloggers, people like me, and I don’t understand why it is so difficult to rely on the iPad as a tool for working purposes. Let’s be honest: if you’re a geek and you happen to run a blog with lots of new posts added every day, you’ve had issues with using the iPad as your main work machine. We’ve all been there before: the soft keyboard takes a while getting used to, but it’s the lack of great blogging software designed specifically for the iPad that make us question the possibilities opened by this device as far as blogging is concerned. Getting down to my personal issues with the iPad and writing for MacStories, I identify three main problems: the official WordPress app isn’t that great (an euphemism); among the alternatives, several apps lack advanced functionalities like remote draft editing or custom fields; both 3rd party apps and the official WordPress one are terrible at allowing you to easily insert links, photos, and videos. We’re swimming in a sea of text editors, but as I said many times on Twitter in the past we need a more powerful app — something that combines the simplicity of text editors with rich features like media management and full access to the WordPress backend. I know, I’m asking for a complex solution, and quite possibly a software built for a niche rather than the Doodle Jump masses.
After months of waiting for the perfect blogging app to come around and convince us that the iPad could also be used professionally for blogging, I looked at Blogsy with a bit of skepticism. At first glance, it seemed that this new app borrowed a lot from dPad, an HTML editor I reviewed a while ago that’s aimed at quickly inserting media in documents. Considering that Blogsy, however, was touted as an app for bloggers with WordPress and Blogger integration, I decided that I could take it for a spin. (more…)
I haven’t written many blog entries from my iPad, and the main reason is that inserting links and rich content like images and video embeds can be really, really annoying on the tablet. No HTML editor for the iPad nailed it when it comes to offering an interface and a set of tools that allow bloggers to rely on the device as their main blogging machine; and especially if you write for blogs with several articles every day and you need to keep up at a fast pace, wasting time trying iPad apps is impossible. But I believe also those folks that post status updates and journal entries on their personal blogs must have noticed the iPad is far from being an ideal mobile blogging device, and the lack of dedicated apps is worrying. Sure, there are plenty of iOS text editors out there, even with advanced HTML and Markdown formatting capabilities; for bloggers like me, though, that is not enough. Either with WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal or a custom CMS you might be using on your blog, there are usually a lot of writing and management options to consider that most apps don’t support. The official WordPress app doesn’t even accept custom fields and many, many other things that millions of bloggers rely on every day. The situation is almost unacceptable, and I really don’t understand why — with more than 15 million iPads out there — someone hasn’t set out to create the ultimate iOS blogging app. I really don’t. Yet we keep hoping. (more…)
Squarespace is a phenomenal blogging platform that allows customers to easily build their own websites, check statistics, moderate comments, and enjoy the freedoms of mobile blogging on both the iPhone and (now) the iPad. While many of us have struggled or implemented some wonky workflow to blog on the iPad, you may just want to ditch your Movable Type or WordPress blog for Squarespace simply because their iPad app is quite frankly amazing.
I’ve emailed blog posts before, but there’s nothing worse than the distraction of your inbox when writing blog posts. There’s also those Simplenote or Writer articles written in Markdown that eventually get converted to HTML on the Mac before being uploaded. I’ve also tried TextExpander for Markdown, but real time conversions are slow (especially if you have to edit on the iPad). Then we even have native blogging applications like WordPress that are honestly awful, though I supposed WordPress’ bare minimum iPad app is better than nothing. Squarespace did their blogging app right, because not only is it both beautiful and functional (all of your tools are available in a familiar interface), but you can blog in Markdown and Textile natively -> that’s the killer feature folks. You also get easy access to your web tools for moderating comments and checking page views, and I don’t feel like I’m hindered by what my tablet has to offer. Squarespace, you guys seriously rock.
If you have a Squarespace account, the iPad app is free to download. If you don’t have a Squarespace account, you can still download the app, though you’ll need to create a free trial to try it out (and we recommend watching the video above to see what Squarespace is all about).
Since nobody seems to care about the lack of a decent blogging app for iPad, I decided to come out with my own post about it. I’ve been thinking about this for months now (since April, the day after I got my iPad), and while I thought I could maybe find the time to look for an iOS developer and start my own “team of two” to develop the app, I just don’t want to wait anymore. So developers, here’s what I – and hundreds of other bloggers using an iPad – need. (more…)