It seems like developing applications for the iPad is all the rage these days as it has become a very popular device. I’ve thought about developing an iPad app for mojoPortal, it would be fun to learn how to develop apps for iPad and iPhone, but honestly my plate is pretty full just working on mojoPortal itself and add on products for it. So I got to wondering if there were any apps already in existence for the iPad that could work with mojoPortal similar to Windows Live Writer which is the best Windows desktop application for blogging. In case you missed it, in version 184.108.40.206 we improved our support for Windows Live Writer so that you can now edit CMS pages with Html content in addition to Blog posts. I thought it would be pretty cool if there is an iPad application that offers similar functionality as Windows Live Writer.
So I tried a few iPad applications including the WordPress app, BlogPress, and Blogsy. I found Blogsy to be the most feature rich user friendly one of the group. All of these apps support Wordpress and some of them support a few additional blogging platforms and since mojoPortal is much less known than the big blogging platforms I would not expect the developers of those apps to be interested in working on specific support for mojoPortal. So instead I decided to try to support more of the Wordpress API in mojoPortal so that these apps could be used with mojoPortal just as if they were using Wordpress. I used all 3 of these apps in testing to make sure I was correctly implementing the Wordpress methods, but Blogsy is by far the best one that I could recommend to mojoPortal users who would like to blog from their iPad.
In Blogsy you configure mojoPortal the same as if it were a self hosted Wordpress site. So you enter the url to your Blog page (use https if you have SSL installed) and your login credentials.
Now Wordpress of course is a PHP application (not a .NET app) and the Url for the API is yoursiteroot/xmlrpc.php (you don't enter this url in Blogsy but that is the url it will use to talk to mojoPortal) so we have a handler mapping in our Web.config file that maps requests for xmlrpc.php to our metaweblogapi.ashx handler. This probably only works in IIS 7.x and it may not work if you have PHP installed and configured for your site, but it does work for me. I don’t have PHP installed so not sure what would happen if it is, but in most hosting control panels you can disable PHP for your site even if it is installed on the server, so hopefully it will work for you.
<add name="WordpressXmlRpcHandler" verb="POST" path="*xmlrpc.php" type="mojoPortal.Web.BlogUI.metaweblogapi, mojoPortal.Features.UI" preCondition="integratedMode"/>
When I first began work on the additional API methods and testing with Blogsy I was getting a lot of crashes. Adding an image from the iPad photostream for example was causing a crash after it uploaded the image to the server. But I contacted the Blogsy guys and they both helped me with advice that the images needed to be named a certain way with a prefix, and they also fixed things in their app to make it more robust and reduce the crashing and now it is working pretty well. I have a first generation iPad and suspect these apps work even better with newer iPads that have more memory available, but it works well enough even on my older iPad.
You can create and edit posts, you can publish or post as draft. It supports inserting images from your Photostream, local storage, Fickr, Picasso, and even videos from YouTube. You can assign and edit categories. You can create and edit CMS pages with Html content in addition to Blog posts. The only missing feature is the ability to set the parent page of a CMS page so you can’t manage the site hierarchy the same as you can with Windows Live Writer, but who knows if enough people request it maybe they will add support for parent pages in a future update to Blogsy.
The additional support for the Wordpress API is included in mojoPortal 220.127.116.11 but I’m just now getting around to documenting it so that people know they can try it. If you have an iPad I hope you’ll give it a try. If you have any troubles with it or any feedback positive or negative let us know. In theory it should work with any Wordpress client. While Windows Live Writer is still the best Windows app for blogging, in the Mac world apps like MarsEdit should theoretically work though I haven’t actually tested it yet.
A quick shout of thanks out to the Blogsy guys for their help and support. I highly recommend you give their app a try if you have an iPad. Its very inexpensive ($5 if I recall correctly), I actually think they could get away with raising the price a bit because it is the best blogging tool currently available on iPad and they are very passionate about it and constantly improving it and listening to the feedback from their customers.
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