February 27, 2011

The iPad as a blogging tool

A lot of us are comfortable writing on the iPad. I am in fact writing this post laying in bed, on my iPad, and while my MacBook Air certainly beats it in both writing tools as well as speed and input feedback, they represent two different things. The Air is the most portable real computer there is, but it is still something I want to put on a table or, worst case scenario, in my lap. Meanwhile, the iPad is a lot easier to just prop up and hammer out a few words on. They are two different things, which is good. I’ve yet to write a book on my iPad, something I’ve done numerous times on my Air.

But as a blogging tool on the go, that should be the perfect use for the iPad, right?

Unfortunately, no. It’s a great writing tool (which I’ll get to in a later post), but blogging? Not so much. I’ll tell you why:

  • The iPad lacks a filesystem where you can save files. Obviously there is one, but you can’t get to it, so you’re stuck with third party apps mimicking it. Unfortunately that doesn’t help the blogger.
  • The blogging apps are lacking. This is something of an understatement. I’m amazed that the offerings are as poor as they are, after all we’ve got several text editors and even word processors working perfectly well on the iPad. Meanwhile, not even the official WordPress app gives me any control of images to speak of, and completely lacks tools for basic HTML formatting. You can type HTML code, but that’s not what the onscreen keyboard is made to do, so it becomes awkward.
  • Image management. While there are apps that let you crop, resize, and edit your images, they’re not exactly advanced compared to the simplest desktop offerings. They doesn’t have to be either in most cases, but combined with the fact that you can’t save an image, and then upload it to your blog (without using one of the less satisfactory apps), image management becomes a huge nuisance and a problem. Good blog posts often crave good images, and your iPad isn’t ready for this.

In all fairness sake, I’m pretty sure there’ll be apps solving most of these problems for us, but right now the iPad just isn’t a good blogging tool. This is too bad, I think, because there’s a lot of potential here beyond just writing and consuming content.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.