We’re very happy to announce that the latest version of WordPress for iOS, Version 2.6, is now live in the App Store. Go get it while you read the rest of this post!
Since the introduction of video in the iPhone 3GS, we’ve received requests for the ability to record video within the app and then upload it directly to a blog. With the introduction of the iPhone 4 these requests become even more frequent. With 2.6 you can now record, upload, attach, and play videos within the app. When paired with a VideoPress upgrade, this feature becomes an even more powerful way to publish videos from your iOS device to the web.
We’ve also heard and share your frustration regarding losing posts saved as Local Drafts. Nothing’s worse than working on a great post only to have it disappear. That’s why we took all of August to completely rewrite the areas of the app that handle Local Draft posts and pages. We’re now using Apple’s lovely Core Data technology to save posts locally before they’re published or saved online.
While that change alone will bring a new level of stability and reliability to the way Local Drafts are treated, we took it a step further and added some triple checking to determine if a post has truly been published and can safely be removed from your Local Drafts library. Once you publish a Local Draft, we do an additional call to verify that the ID we got back from the server during a publish actually exists as a post or page we can retrieve. Only after we’ve verified that your new post does indeed exist on the server do we go ahead and delete the old Local Draft. All of this happens in the background, within a second or two. We think that’s pretty nifty!
One of the nicest things about editing a post with WordPress is the autosave draft feature. If something happens and you need to revert to an older version of a post, you can just select a previous version and restore it without issue. We’ve implemented a similar feature in 2.6. When Autosave is enabled, while you’re working with a post, a small grey WordPress logo will appear in the bottom right-hand corner to let you know that autosaves exist for that post. Click the logo, and you’ll flip over to a screen that will allow you to restore the post from one of those autosaves.
Another area of the app that we felt needed some attention was the Add Blog/Site Setup process. Previously it felt too clunky, slow, and non-intuitive. So we’ve completely rewritten this area as well, allowing WordPress.com users a quick way to add their blogs, and giving WordPress.org users a faster, more streamlined experience when adding their sites.
What would a new video feature be without a new Media Library to go along with it? We’ve taken the old Photos tab and turned it into a new Media Library more along the lines of what you’re used to with WordPress. We’re now giving you additional information about media items such as dimensions and file size, as well as the ability to insert media items into a post above or below your content. Look for even more expansion in this area in coming releases.
Bugfixes and Enhancements
All of you have been incredibly patient as we took our time to make sure this release resolved many long-standing issues, both large and small. While new features and functionality are nice, if an app isn’t stable enough to use, all of those features are worthless. Keeping this in mind, for the past three months we’ve been fixing bugs here and there each day as we continued to work on new features. We think 2.6 includes enough bugfixes and performance enhancements that they deserve to be listed as a separate item. If you’d like to learn more about the bugs we’ve fixed or just keep up with our progress as we move along with each version, you can check out the Trac Timeline.
Also, one more note about bugfixes. While this release took a very long time to get from our hands to yours, we don’t anticipate the same amount of time for future releases. So from now on expect to see major releases more often, each followed by one or two small bugfix releases soon after. (We’ll be submitting 2.6.1 shortly.)
We’ve also got to give a shout out to our Beta Team. One of the most challenging things about iOS development is that the release process tends to be a little slow, so getting patches and fixes out quickly can sometimes be a challenge. Not to mention that, as developers, we’re sometimes blind to the idea that we could ever make a mistake while coding. So working with our testers on the Beta Team has been incredibly helpful in making this app much more stable, reliable, and enjoyable. With their help, we’re able to catch and fix bugs before they get into the final release. Kudos to all of you.
As always, your feedback and input is much appreciated, and is absolutely crucial in helping us make the app and your user experience better. You can reach us on Twitter at @WordPressiOS or on the WordPress for iOS Forums. And if you find a new bug (no way!) please don’t hesitate to submit a new ticket in Trac.
If you find that this version is an improvement over previous versions, we’d appreciate if you noted that in an App Store review. More than any other metric, App Store reviews help to let us and our users know where the app stands in terms of quality, and what areas we need to focus on in the future.