Publishing on iOS has never been a terribly smooth process for me. The closest I got was the Blogsy app, which had a WYSYWIG editor and support for multiple blogs. Unfortunately it had an interface made for iOS 6 and just couldn’t afford to keep up with subsequent iOS updates.
The next best thing has been the official WordPress app, which can handle the three self-hosted WordPress sites that I post to. I write in Markdown in another app like iA Writer or Ulysses, and then post the draft as HTML into the WordPress app, and then add extras like categories, tags, and pictures. It doesn’t take very long, and it mimics what I’d do on the desktop, but the WordPress app feels pretty uninspired to me. It works, but lacks the polish of the web app. It’s not fun to use.
My latest workflow has been using Ulysses 2.6 and its new publishing features, which can take my Markdown-formatted post, and then add images, categories, tags, and even featured images and excerpts. All before I ever even see the WordPress interface.
This doesn’t sound like a huge deal but for the fact that Ulysses doesn’t seem like a full-fledged online writing app. I expect it to handle text well, but I’m surprised at how smooth they’ve managed to make the publishing and previewing processes.
Setting up the draft and metadata
Titles are decided by the very first header, and for this case it’s simply: #Publishing to WordPress with Ulysses 2.6.
Categories are decided by the very first keyword added to the article, and every keyword thereafter is turned into a tag. These keywords are added in Ulysses’ sidebar, where photos, notes, and keywords live in harmony. It’s a very natural place to add this kind of metadata, although you don’t necessarily have to add the information in this way. Ulysses also provides a visual picker for tags and categories, just before you publish.
Images can be added straight from my camera roll to the post, and are uploaded to WordPress when I publish.
The publishing module is tucked away in the share sheet, which you also use for previewing drafts or exporting your sheet as a PDF or DOCX file. Tapping on the share button prompts you to choose a WordPress or Medium account to post to. I can’t speak for the Medium.com integration, but WordPress signup was very easy — exactly the same as in the official WordPress app. I supplied the blog URL, along with my username and password.
Before actually publishing, Ulysses also offers the chance to manually specify the Title, Categories, and Tags. I like to build these into the keywords and header beforehand, to really streamline the process. Below are additional options for excerpts, publishing time, and even post types. I upload my posts as drafts first, and Ulysses automatically load the WordPress editor in Safari right after, so I can double check things before I publish. However, once I get more confident with this setup, I might just hit publish and check the final product on iPad Insight.
Overall I’m really impressed with Ulysses’ integration with WordPress. I’m always looking for ways to streamline my workflow on iOS, and this single update has the potential to save me a lot of time because I can write, publish, and manage my drafts for several sites in one place. Ulysses was always one of the very best writing apps around — but I’m amazed to see how it just became at publishing, too.