Blogging from an iPhone

Some people might characterize it as a bit of an aberration. But the truth is that, before I retired, I used to blog using my laptop because I worked from home and sat at my desk in my home office most of the day and I needed my laptop for work. But upon my retirement, my life experienced a total paradigm shift. Suddenly I no longer was tied down to a desk or had the need to use the laptop. Most of what I needed a laptop for could be done using my iPhone, and I found the mobility of being able to blog from anywhere at any time was liberating.

The first sign of trouble after I made the switch from a laptop to my iPhone for my blog happened this past August when WordPress abandoned its classic editor, which was a cinch to use on the relatively small screen of an iPhone, in favor of its block editor, which is close to impossible to use on a smartphone screen. What the hell? Was this some kind of evil plot to drive us smartphone users and casual bloggers away from WordPress so that it could cater to commercial sites and business users? Were they trying to provoke us hobby bloggers to leave WordPress?

What began to emerge was a fear, or perhaps a recognition, that my blogging days were potentially numbered. I contacted WordPress about how nice it would be for those of us who blog using our smartphones if they were to give us the option of keeping the classic editor as the default editor. But each reply that I received from WordPress left little doubt that they were 100% committed to the block editor and, for those of us using smartphones for our blogs, it was “too bad, so sad.” I started to lose all credence with WordPress’ claim to be the biggest and best blog hosting site on the internet. Maybe the biggest, but the best?

And then, on top of the block editor, the latest update to the iOS app for the iPhone created a major issue with the Reader that caused difficulties when it came to liking and commenting on other bloggers’ posts. Being just one of the many unhappy fans of the block editor that WordPress had forced on us, now, with the issues of the most recent update to the iOS app, I was really pissed.

Throughout most of the month of November, I exchanged myriad emails with the Happiness Engineers about the iOS app issue. And finally, on Saturday, the Happiness and I were in concert that there was, indeed, a bug in the most recent iOS app update and they were going to try to get it fixed as soon as possible and to release a new update to the app to fix the problem in the Reader on the iPhone.

I’m still waiting on that fix to be delivered, but in the meantime, I ordered a new iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a display screen that is 6.7 inches, compared with the 5.5 inch display on my current iPhone 8 Plus. The new iPhone won’t be delivered until the first or second week of December. But maybe with a display that is almost 22% larger on the new iPhone, I might even be able to use the block editor!

Written for these daily prompts from yesterday and today: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aberration/paradigm), Ragtag Daily Prompt (mobility/emerge), Your Daily Word Prompt (switch/credence), Word of the Day Challenge (plot/provoke), The Daily Spur (reply/concert), and MMA Storytime (fans/November).

Blogging Insights — Tips Off the New Block

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights question this morning, which was inspired by Jennifer at Paperkutzs, is simply this:

Can you share some tips and tricks for using the new Gutenberg (aka block) editor on WordPress?

Yes, my tip or trick for using the new block editor is to avoid it like the plague (or like COVID-19). I use my iPhone for my blog and in the WordPress app for iOS, the iPhone’s operating system, there is an option in the settings to NOT use the block editor. This allows me to craft my posts using what I call “classic lite,” a version of the classic editor that has fewer formatting features than the former classic editor I used to be able to use when I went to on my iPhone to compose my posts.

So, since WordPress imposed its block editor upon us, I have been able to avoid using it for my blog…so far, anyway. I’m fully expecting that, at some point, WordPress will also remove the classic editor option on its iOS app. And when that point comes, I suppose I’ll have to shit or get off the pot. Meaning, I’ll either have to reluctantly figure out how to “embrace” the block editor on my iPhone, or to just stop blogging on WordPress.

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, 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.

Why I Hate the Block Editor

Yeah, I know. Another whiney post about the block editor. But I still hate it and I hate the fact that WordPress is trying to force it down our throats.

Look, I’m not a professional blogger. I don’t run a business and I’m not trying to make any money with my blog. Blogging for me is a hobby, a pastime. So I don’t need a bunch of fancy bells and whistles, many of which in the block editor seem to be geared toward commercial blogs. I just need a straightforward word processor-like editor and a way to insert photos/images into my posts.

I don’t claim to be perspicacious or to have any unique insights into what drives the decision-makers at WordPress. And I may possess some unorthodox perspectives about blogging, but I’ve been a blogger since 2005 and I feel like I know a little bit about what makes blogging enjoyable.

The block editor does not make blogging enjoyable. It’s not at all intuitive and it’s unnecessarily complicated for a casual blogger like me. And because my iPhone is my device of choice for my blog, there’s limited real estate on the relatively small iPhone screen (versus on a laptop) to make using the block editor feasible.

I’m even considering spending $1,100+ to upgrade to the newly announced iPhone 12 Pro Max solely because its screen size is 6.7” versus my three-year-old iPhone 8 Plus, which has a 5.5” screen size. And the only reason to do that would be to see if the block editor is more feasible to use on a 6.7” screen than on the 5.5” one on a device that currently works fine. That’s crazy, right?

Written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (professional), Word of the Day (hobby), Your Daily Word Prompt (perspicacious), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (unorthodox).

This is a Test

I’m experimenting with using the dreaded block editor on my iPhone (on the WordPress iOS app) to compose this post to see if I can actually make it work.

Now I’m going to insert an image to see how easy (or hard?) that is. Ready?

I can’t figure out how to size or center the image, to edit it, or to rename it. There must be a way but it’s not intuitive.

Next, I’m going to try some fancy stuff like bold and italic text. How about underlining? That was easy enough. Now let’s see if I can link to a post here.

First impressions

My first impression is “okay.” It’s far better than trying to use the block editor on on an iPhone. That said, it’s more like what I called “classic lite” on the iOS app, in that there seems to be some functionality missing and I can’t yet figure out how to access it. But maybe that will take some more practice and experimentation.

Now I’m going to save this draft, preview it, and, if it looks okay, publish it. Let me know what you think.