Thursday, 13 October 2011
Blogging from an iPad
I have discovered that yes, it is possible to write and publish posts on a blog using just an iPad plus a camera. The post below this one (about Vincent's and Velocette's) was created entirely on my new iPad 2, but I have to say it wasn't easy as I had to do many things considerably differently than with a normal blog post from a computer and had to find a few work-arounds.
The good news is it does mean that blogging while on the road is possible if you want to leave your laptop behind. It would be a mistake however to think it is easy, because it it not.
I use Blogger so what I have written here won't apply to all systems, but for those of you thinking about getting and using an iPad for use with Blogger, then this post is for you.
The first thing you need to think about is how to get the photos from your camera onto the iPad. There are no standard cable connections on the iPad, so you need to buy an iPad camera connection kit.
The two parts of the connection kit allow you to either connect your cameras USB cable or SD card to the iPad. I used the SD card connector and it was easy to move the pictures I wanted from the SD card onto the iPad.
Easy so far, but it was about to become more challenging.
There are two ways of using the Blogger software on an iPad. First by using the iPad's web browser, Safari, to connect to Blogger. Or second, to use the Blogger iPhone App. Your will note I have said iPhone App for as yet there is no Blogger iPad App.
First I tried the main version of Blogger using Safari on my iPad and it worked reasonably well, but I couldn't work out how to incorporate pictures. On a laptop I would simply browse the relevant drive and select the picture I want. But an iPad doesn't work like that so another solution is needed. I had seen that within Blogger you can link to a picture already on the web, usually on a photo uploading site like Photobucket, Picasa or Flickr. I already had a Picasa account, so I tried that. I couldn't get it to work and in fact I couldn't get anything to work to import my pictures into the normal web version of Blogger using Safari on my iPad. That was really dissapointing.
So, I turned to the iPhone App version of Blogger to see how well that works. For uploading pictures, it was easy. Sort of. The really good thing is you can upload them directly from your iPad without the need to go through a third-party photo uploading site. The bad news is the pictures are added to the bottom of your post but you cannot see them until you publish, which is completely ridiculous. So, I could easily upload the pictures using the Blogger iPhone App, but couldn't see them....
Okay, there is a way around that. I imported each of my photos I wanted to use in the post I was creating into Blogger using the iPhone App, saved that as a draft, shut down the iPhone version of Blooger, then switched back to Safari and re-opened the web version of Blogger. Opening the previously created draft, I was then able to incorporate my words and the post was nearly ready to publish. There was however one further problem - I could now see the photos I had previously included, but those photos were not in the correct position (all at the bottom of the post) and were all too large as when I imported them via the iPhone App, there was no facility to sort them into order, or to resize them. I therefore had to move the pictures around and resize them, but only by using HTML code which I am not very good at, but learning fast. It is not possible to use the 'compose' view in Blogger on an iPad like it is when using Blogger online a normal computer, so HTML is the only option you have.
It was no doubt a challenge to create the post on the iPad, but at least I worked out it could be done. It took way longer than it would normally have taken me, but it would probably become much quicker as I got more used to doing it.
What is really needed is a much better App, written specifically for iPad, that includes all the features available to normal computer users. I can't believe that will take long to be launched and in the meantime, I will continue to use the work-arounds needed to solve the current problems.