Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Blogger App for iPhone

Gotta say, I've been waiting for this app for some time now, and now the guys and gals at Blogger and Google's mobile division have finally come through.

I actually am writing publishing this blog post from my iPhone 4 using the new blogger app, and so far it is living up to everything that a 1.0 release should be, even blowing away all previous third party app efforts, as notable as they were.

The blogger platform itself isn't the most sought after or most professional blogging service out there, but it satisfies the needs of most ametuers with something to say, doing so with style and a price tag that's hard to beat: free. So, Blogger has for the most part kept me content and blogging away. However, the weakest link in the chain has always been the mobile aspect of the platform, while not having a native mobile blogging app in this age of smartphones/multimedia powerhouses was almost a sin.

In that vein, because my thoughts usually come when I'm not at a computer, everything I write somehow always starts in some way on my iPhone. Searching the app store, only one app seemed worthy of doing some real Blogger-based mobile blogging. But now that app isn't available. It was called iBlogger. And that was the only one that seemed to actually save my posts. In trying out other apps, on more than one occasion I found that lengthy posts had vanished, leaving me distraught and angry.

That was when I thought about a switch to wordpress, the platform sworn by from professionals and amateurs alike. But, for my feeble brain, setting up a wordpress blog just seemed unnecessarily daunting and confusing. I like my simple Blogger accounts with little customization. There was something about the uniformity and dare I say conformity that appealed to me. That just left me waiting for a real mobile solution from Blogger. Which brings us here. After I had nearly forgotten about it altogether, today came this unexpected gift.

As far as the app's functionality, it's basic but entirely usable. After signing in to your Blogger account, you can switch between multiple blog accounts if you have them, and if you have blogs under differ blogger accounts, it doesn't take very long to switch between them.

Posts are easy to manage, and it seems that everything you write, including drafts, are all saved to the cloud, so you don't have to worry about losing posts if something happens to you phone, or if God forbid a bug in the app would misplace your text.

It's really easy to append photos to posts, but it seems that manually manipulating where they might end up in the layout isn't editable at this point. And visual editing seems to be out if the question, as fonts and colors of text only default to your blog's settings. You can, however, adjust what size you'd prefer your uploaded images, allowing full-resolution as well as many options to cut down sizes for quicker uploads.

As soon as you boot the app, you've started a new post. Give it a title and type away. It couldn't be much simpler. And when you're finished, just hit "Publish" in the top-right corner, and you're done. Then you can see your published posts an your blog in the viewer window. Just tap the big "B" at the main screen.

And that about wraps it up. Good job, Google and the guys at Blogger.

My new super simple iOS layout

Short and simple, here's how I recently set up my iPhone homescreen. It works, it's really clean, an believe or not makes my favorite apps really quickly accessible. In the top left, I have a folder of my most used apps, and in the dock I've kept only three apps. There's something about the one missing app (which for me would be the iPod) that makes the dock seem even more essential and cleaner. It's like clearing that worthless paperweight off your desk that would unnecessarily be taking up precious, limited space. So goodbye, iPod. You're always just a double-click of the home button away. Or right there in my "most used" folder. And of course all my other miscellaneous stuff is one page over and filed away in folders.

Take a look for yourself and see if this setup would work well for you too.