Blogging Insights — Learnings

For this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know…

What are you learning (or are you still learning) from your blogging experience?

Most recently I’ve learned how to conquer the block editor, which isn’t the disaster that I thought it was, but that I strenuously resisted for almost a year.

I use the WordPress iOS app from my iPhone for my blog, and the version of the block editor on the iPhone is what I call “block-lite” because it doesn’t have all of the features and functionality that the one available on laptops or desktops does. But that’s okay because neither did the iOS app classic editor, which I called “classic-lite,” have all of the bells and whistles of the full-fledged classic editor. But I can get by with the “lite” version of the block editor because I don’t really do any fancy things with my blog.

Another thing that I have learned is that the developers at WordPress focus more on rolling out new “features” and “functionality” that few of us casual (i.e., non-business, non-commercial, non-professional) bloggers need or want. But they don’t spend nearly enough time fixing bugs in the current functionality, bugs that drive many of us crazy.

I’ve also learned since migrating to WordPress from two previous blog hosting sites (Blogger and Typepad), that the community of bloggers here on WordPress is what keeps me going, even with the frustrations that I’ve expressed ad infinitum over the years — in particular, this past year — in my posts. Were it not for you all who read, like, and comment on my posts, I’d have been long gone from blogging.

Playing With Blocks

I have a question for those of you who are knowledgeable about the version of the block editor that is available on the WordPress iOS app for the iPhone. If you don’t use the block editor on your iPhone, feel free to skip this post. And if you’re using a laptop (be it a Windows PC or a Mac) and know how to do what I’m asking about on a laptop, don’t bother responding. I know how to do it on those devices with full-sized, physical keyboards. I’m trying to figure out how to do it on an iPhone’s tiny virtual keypad.

So what is my question? It has to do with removing blocks within a post. Not removing a single block. I know how to do that. I’m asking about removing multiple blocks simultaneously.

There are situations where I want to copy a previous post and reuse some of the content from that post to write a new post. I find the post that I want to copy and then tap “Duplicate” to create a new draft of the post. Below is an example where I want to create a copy of a previous Flashback Friday post.

Once I get to the draft of the post that was created when I tapped “Duplicate,” I will typically reuse the first several paragraphs, but then I want to delete the remainder of the post that I copied and add new paragraphs. But in the block editor, I have to individually delete each block that I don’t want to use.

When I could still use the classic editor, all I had to do was select the starting point of the text I wanted to delete, highlight it and keep highlighting all the way down the page, and then hit “Cut.” In one fell swoop, all of the text I cut was deleted. Easy peasy.

But it seems that in the block editor, I can only highlight the text within a block, not across multiple blocks. And that means if I want to remove, say, ten blocks from the duplicated post, I need to individually remove each of those ten blocks one block at a time.

So, before I reach out to the happiness engineers, who are, I’m sure, tired of hearing from me, do any of you know if there is a way to remove multiple blocks at one time in the WordPress iOS app’s block editor? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

Fixed — Well, Almost

For the past six months I’ve been trying to get WordPress to fix a bug that was introduced in November when WordPress launched version 16.0 of its iOS app for the iPhone. If I visited another blogger’s post, either from my reader or from a pingback to one of my prompts in my notifications, I was unable to like or comment on the post in question unless it had “.wordpress.com” in its URL (blog address). I couldn’t even like or comment on my own posts because my blog’s address is fivedotoh.com and not fivedotoh.wordpress.com.

Well, it appears that the fix is in. Well, kind of, anyway. As of today, when I attempt to like a post, this shows up on my iPhone’s screen:

I’m asked to log in to my WordPress account, which is weird because I’m already logged in to WordPress on the iOS app. But when tap on “Continue,” I am returned to the post in question and — hallelujah — I can like the post. Yay!

And sometimes I can leave a comment on the post, too. But for some reason, on some (but not all) posts, I will see this:

Again, I’m already logged in to WordPress, and I already came from the log in screen just to like the post, but when I tap on “You must be logged in to post a comment,” that same log in screen as shown previously appears, but when I tap on “Continue” and it takes me back to the post, the same “You must be logged in to post a comment” is still there and I can’t post a comment.

I am happy that the WordPress happiness engineers addressed the inability for me to like posts in the iOS app, although it has that extra step to do so. And while I can now also comment on some posts, I can’t on all posts.

So thank you, WordPress, for fixing the problem I’ve been bellyaching with you about for the past six months. Well, thank you your almost fixing it. There are still a few issue to be resolved.

It’s Not as Scary as It Appears to Be

I’m a big enough man to admit when I’m wrong. For the past year I have written a deluge of posts lambasting WordPress’ decision to “decommission” (their word) the reliable, easy to use classic editor and to force us to “embrace” its block (Gutenberg) editor, whether we wanted to or not. And I most certainly did not want to.

As most of you know, I blog from my iPhone. In fact, at this very moment, I am sitting on my couch in my family room, listening to classic rock music, and composing this post.

But I digress. I have vigorously resisted this whole block editor thing for the better part of a year. First, I didn’t see any need for the elimination of the tried and true classic editor. Why, if the developers at WordPress were so thrilled with the new block editor, couldn’t they offer it as a “new and better” option, while continuing to offer the (mostly) beloved classic editor?

Second, the block editor that WordPress first introduced last year was not designed for use on the relatively small screen of mobile device. Maybe it worked well on a laptop, but it was shit on an iPhone. I resented feeling that if I wanted to continue to blog on WordPress, I’d have to do so on a laptop because the block editor was close to impossible to use on an iPhone. I even wrote in response to one of Dr Tanya’s Blogging Insights posts last July, “If the day ever comes when WordPress no longer offers the classic editor, that will be the day I will either find a different platform for my blog or I will just stop blogging.”

Well, that day came for those of us using the iOS app on our iPhones last month, when, as I explained in this post, WordPress removed the classic editor option from its iOS app. And that’s when it was shit or get off the pot time for me.

So I decided that I was going to dedicate myself to figuring out how to blog on my iPhone using the dreaded block editor, as it had become my only option. And it’s now my duty, as a member of this great blogging community, to admit that, in my rants over the past year, I seemed to have been making that proverbial mountain out of a molehill.

The current version of the block editor in the WordPress iOS app is usable. I can pretty much do with it all of what I was able to do with the iOS version of the classic editor. In fact, I can do a few more things with the iOS block editor than I could with the iOS classic editor.

So now I have no excuse to whine and rant about the block editor. No reason to hunt for another blog hosting site to move to. I’ve been able to move forward with the block editor on my iPhone without too much pain.

What I’ve learned is that no matter how dark the corridor ahead appears to be, one shouldn’t be afraid to step into it and see where it leads.

(I hope you appreciate how I managed to fit my FOWC with Fandango daily prompt word, “corridor,” into this post despite the fact that it had no relevance to the rest of this post.)


Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (deluge), The Daily Spur (duty), Word of the Day Challenge (proverbial), MMA Storytime (mountain), Ragtag Daily Prompt (excuse), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (corridor).

Block Editor Help

WordPress automatically inserts a blank line after you hit Return. I guess hitting Return to WordPress means you want to start a new paragraph and thus the app adds a blank line.

In the good old days of the classic editor, if I wanted to eliminate that blank line, say if I was writing what could only loosely be described as a poem, all I needed to do was switch to HTML mode in the app on my iPhone and delete the line between the sentences, thus achieving single-spacing in my published post. Easy peasy.

But since WordPress “decommissioned” the classic editor on its iOS app for the iPhone, the HTML code generated is a lot more complicated than it was in the classic editor. Each time you hit Return, the app creates a new paragraph block.

Here’s the poem as it appears using the paragraph block and hitting Return at the end of each line.

This a test

To see if I can figure out

How to single-space a line of text

Using the block editor

On my iPhone

Without having to use

The verse block.

Using the old Text tab in the classic editor on my laptop, here’s what the HTML looks like…

And to remove the extra line between sentences, all I needed to do was delete the spaces, so the updated HTML code look like this…

But the HTML code for this seven line “poem” above, using the paragraph block in the block editor on my iPhone looks like this…

Yikes! WTF?

So now, the only way I can figure out how to get my text to show single-spaced is by using the verse block, which looks like this…

This is a test
To see if I can figure out
How to single-space a line of text
Using the block editor
On my iPhone
Without having to use
The verse block.

Using the verse block is not terrible, but I prefer to look when I just have the lines of text appear in the body of the post and not inside a shaded block.

So here’s my question for you tech-savvy bloggers out there. If you are an iPhone user and you are using the WordPress iOS app for the iPhone, do you know how to single space your text after each Return without having to use the verse block?

Or am I SOL in the brave new world of the block editor?