For Those Who Blog Using an iPhone

As most of you who follow my blog know, I use my iPhone for blogging. Not a laptop computer, not a desktop computer. An iPhone 8 Plus with a 5.5 inch screen. You may also know that I’m not a fan of the WordPress block editor, which is clearly not designed to use on the relatively small screen of a smartphone.

This post is about using an iPhone for blogging and about my disdain for the block editor. So if you are not interested in reading my thoughts on either of those topics, I give you permission to move on.

The good news is that, even though WordPress has retired its classic editor as it is forcing all of us to embrace its clunky block editor, there is a setting on the WordPress iOS app that allows us iPhone bloggers to default to the classic editor (or a version of the classic editor that I call “classic lite) when composing or editing a post using the iOS app.I’ve been worried that, as it did with the classic editor on wordpress.com, the decision makers at WordPress would eventually remove the option to use the classic editor in the iOS app. So, in a resent exchange I had with one of the WordPress “happiness engineers,” I wrote:

I don’t use, or want to use, the block editor or the classic block within the block editor on my iPhone. Please tell me that WordPress is going to continue to support the classic editor in the iOS app.

I suppose, in my naivety, I expected a response like, “Not to worry, Fandango, we’ve got your back.” But instead, this is the response I got:

There are no plans to continue to support the classic editor in the app or even in a web browser. It’s an editor that is being depreciated. Our hope is that the Classic block bridges the gap of the old editor to the new, while you learn to use the new editor!

So much for having my back, WordPress.

Dear WordPress

I just sent this screed below to the “too bad, so sad” response I got from the Happiness Engineers at WordPress. I know it won’t do any good, and that I’m shouting into deaf ears, but I had to get it off my chest. If you’re a fan of the block editor, if you don’t use or don’t care about the hassle that the block editor is causing for those of us who blog using our smartphones, or if you are just sick and tired of  bloggers like me whining about being forced to use it, feel free to skip this post. I won’t be offended.

Dear WordPress,

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around WordPress’ strategy. You say that the classic editor available on the plugin in the Business Plan is the same one that is available at the wp-admin site. And you say that it was “built with the assistance from members of [your] own team and made available to all WordPress sites at no extra charge.” My question is why, then, did you dump the classic editor that was on the wordpress.com site (the regular one, not the wp-admin site) but keep the one at the wp-admin site?

I blog on an iPhone. It gives me a tremendous amount of flexibility as to where and when I blog. The block editor that you have tried to shove down our throats is virtually unusable on a small smartphone screen. And, the classic editor in the wp-admin site, while better than the block editor on the iPhone, is certainly not optimized for use on a mobile device. Conversely, the classic editor version on wordpress.com that was available (until you dumped it) on an iPhone via the Safari or Chrome browsers, was very easy to use on a small screen. So why not continue to support that version of the classic editor for those of us who prefer to use WordPress from our smartphones?

I know you’ve recommended to those of us who user iPhones for blogging, that we use the editors in the WordPress iOS app. I’ve tried using both the classic editor and the block editor on the iOS app and they are both what I’d call “lite” versions of the comparable editors you see on a laptop. These “lite” versions are missing some functionality that I would like to have, and often used, on the standard classic editor version that was available at wordpress.com. So even when I start using the classic editor in the iOS app, I often have to then go to wp-admin and finish my post using that version of the classic editor in order to get to be publishable.

Since you’ve stopped making the classic editor version on wordpress.com available to us, blogging, for me, anyway, has become more of a burden than a pleasure. I feel like I have to jump through hoops to create and publish my posts. It’s more onerous than enjoyable to use and it requires many more steps and takes much longer to publish my posts. There are a lot of bloggers who have gone mobile and are using their smartphones for their blogs, and most of us are not happy with the block editor. Based upon what I’m hearing from other bloggers I follow, a lot of them are also unhappy (even angry) at losing the classic editor — even those who use their laptops or desktops as their devices of choice.

So in the interest of keeping us on WordPress, which I believe is the best blog hosting site available, please bring back the classic editor version that you no longer make available on wordpress.com. Give us back the choice of using that or of embracing the block editor. Otherwise, I’m going to have to leave WordPress and I know of a lot of other long-time WordPress bloggers who are considering doing the same.

Reinstate the classic editor that you no longer offer. Please give us, your end-users, a choice of editing options, especially editing options that are mobile device friendly. Otherwise, as much as I will miss blogging here and all of the relationships I’ve established with other WordPress bloggers, I’m going to have to say sayonara to WordPress.

Oh Come On, It’s September

And then there’s this bit of fun news I received late yesterday from one of the Happiness Engineers.I’m so impressed by how WordPress takes feedback from its users to heart and does its best to respond to our concerns. (In case you couldn’t tell, I’m being facetious.)

Have a good Saturday, folks. Keep your cool if you can.

Blogging Insights — A Mixed Bag

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights today is about getting help or assistance or tips on how to blog on WordPress. Here are her questions.

How helpful did you find the WordPress tutorials on blogging?

WordPress has tutorials on blogging? Who knew?

Did you contact the WordPress support staff (Happiness Engineers), if that was included in your plan, and what was your experience with them?

I have opened help “tickets” probably about a dozen times since I started this blog three years ago. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is totally worthless and 10 is extraordinary, I’d rate the WordPress “Happiness Engineers” a 3.5. Sometimes they respond quickly with a good response that addresses whatever problem initiated the ticket. At other times their response was essentially “Too bad, so sad. Now get over it.” And there have been a few times where my inquiry never received a response at all. So, bottom line, in my opinion, it’s a mixed bag.

HTML Weirdness

The good news is that it’s June 16th and WordPress has not forced me to use its Block editor that it said it was switching to as of June 1st. That’s right, I’m still able to use the Classic editor without having to jump through extraordinary hoops to do so. Yay!

But something weird is going on. I compose my posts on my iPhone at either Safari or Chrome using WordPress.com and the visual tab of the classic editor.C3CDD689-5788-4852-8629-FF7B684407A6I’ve been doing it this way since my return to blogging in May of 2017 after a two year hiatus. And it has worked perfectly.

Recently, though, there has been a fly in the ointment, so to speak. As I compose my posts, I periodically preview what I’ve written so far to see what it will look like when I publish it. I’ve noticed that for the past week or so, even though everything looks fine in the visual editor, when I preview the post, random lines show up in a much smaller, slightly lighter font than the rest of my post, as in the example below from a post I was working on yesterday.
F1A4F7B2-94E9-41BA-A861-05EC1BFF9A5AI’m not exactly an HTML expert, but I am familiar enough with it that I will occasionally go to the HTML tab to fine tune something that doesn’t quite look right when I preview my post. And that is when I see this line of HTML code inserted into my post:74D1F4EA-9EF2-4A97-8E2B-D6AA128CF1AFFor some reason that line of code is being randomly inserted into the HTML on my draft posts and it changes the way my posts look. I have to manually delete that strange line of HTML code in order to keep the fonts consistent throughout the post.

I’m not sure if this is an iPhone problem, a browser problem, or a WordPress.com problem. Or could this be a deliberate act of sabotage on the part of the WordPress happiness engineers to punish those of us who have resisted the move to the Block editor?

Is anyone else having this happen on your posts? Is there an HTML expert out there who can explain to me what causes this and how to keep it from recurring? I’d appreciate any help I can get.