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.

20 comments:

Raftnn said...

Some where in there you lost me.......


Now I am gonna have to try it on my IPAD! Bugger!'

Me thinks I need another wine.

Canajun said...

Wow. I would have given up long before I figured all that out. There are a number of Android-based tablets out there now too. I wonder if those would be any easier to use.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

I think it is too much work . . . and also how do you do your video editing ?

I must say that you are very persistant in finding a solution. My solution was to find a small computer the size of a netbook which I only use when I am space deprived


bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Tim France said...

Hi Gary,

Apple just released (yesterday) a new operating system for iphone and ipad, and this article (http://www.wired.com/reviews/2011/10/ios-5/) in Wired today suggest that transferring photos may now be easier using Photostream.

I haven't installed the new iOS5 system on my ipad yet, but the article above may give you some ideas.

SonjaM said...

I would have lost my patience long ago, and admire your perseverance. As Bob I use a tiny laptop instead when traveling, or like on my most recent trip... tried to go without any electronic advice as part of the vacation ;-)
Not sure if I like the iPad. Hubby has one but it couldn't convince me yet. To me it strikes me as a device that is less for writing and working, and more for 'playing'.
However, your posting was well done, and I couldn't see a difference.

RichardM said...

Very persistent and yes, I generally only use the Blogger app if I take pictures with my camera. I end up taking a lot of pictures with my iPhone and I use the Photobucket app to push up pictures. Then just use mobile Safari on the iPad. I have a handful of small html snippets that I use to resize the pictures and move them around in the post but you are right, it's a hassle. I actually create and edit many of my posts using the iPhone since I have it with me most of the time.

@Bobskoot There is movie editing software for the iPad. A simplified version of iMovie that will allow you to use multiple sources, cuts, fades, transitions, titles, etc. It need an iPad2, something that I haven't seen a need to invest in.

Trobairitz said...

Thank you for sharing this info. When we were in San Francisco we were bummed that we couldn't get the pics from the cameras uploaded to the iPad. I didn't realize there was a camera adapter.

Circle Blue said...

Wow, way too complicated for me. I'm glad you shared your process. While you lost me on the content, you came through loud and clear with your desire/drive to solve this problem. That was really fun to follow.

Thanks for the share.

RichardM said...

BTW, as you said the "Compose" window doesn't work with mobile Safari but the "Preview" function does work so you can see what the post will look like.

Richard

BeemerGirl said...

Are you able to add and move the images in an email write up? Could you post to your blog by email? I haven't been successful, but I haven't tried hard. :)

Have fun!

RichardM said...

@BeemerGirl Yep, Blogger allows you to post by email. You just need to set it up (special email address) and you can include pictures in the email. If I'm using iPhone snapshots, this is one way to start a post. I edit it later with the web interface but this gives you a good starting point. There is no easy method for changing the position and size of the pictures using the email post method.

Richard

Nikos said...

A lot of useful information here and it has put me off buying an ipad for the time being!

thanks, N

Charlie6 said...

Gary, not being a "mac guy" all of my IT life, I had nothing to contribute to your research. I recently had some hours on a MacBook Pro and admit the screen is gorgeous. The price tag though.

Great that you got your workarounds, but like a couple of others had said, if in your situation, I think I'd drag the macbook around.

good post for mac using bloggers though....

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Rhonda said...

Seems like you have to take the long way around the barn to get something posted through the iPad. But you did it. I use WordPress and haven't tried that yet...Congrats on beating the system ;)

Gary France said...

Roger – I think I lost myself for a while. Don’t try it just yet, for while the solution I came up with does work, you have to have the patience of a Saint to make it work when you first try it. I may have another solution. I hope the wine was good....

Canajun – I nearly gave up myself on finding a solution. I don’t know about other tablets and I am happy to keep it that way!

Bob – I agree with you, it is too much work and there must be a better solution. I don’t know about how to do video editing on an iPad, but Richard seems to have a possible solution for that. I think I agree with you about using a netbook for travelling, but even then you need to take the power cord which if you only have one small bag, maybe is still too much space.

Gary France said...

Tim – I loaded the new OS for iPhone and iPad onto both devices and have noticed some (mainly good) differences. Finding a better way of uploading the photos would help, but I think I have resigned myself to the fact that using Blogger either via Safari or its own app, is so difficult on an iPad, I won’t be doing it again for a while. One of my blog readers, Roland, did however suggest BlogPress and I will be giving that a try soon. I will write another post about how I get on with that.

Sonja – I have to 100% agree with you. It is a device for playing, without a doubt. I am not sure I could go on a trip with some sort of computer or iPad.... that is bad, isn’t it.

Richard – I was collecting html snippets as well. Without those, it would be intolerable. I am impressed that you can do your posts on your iPhone. I wish you hadn’t mentioned iMovie for the iPad, now I am going to have to try it.

Trobairitz – I am glad to have been of service! That little adapter is really useful. Now, where did I put it down....?

Gary France said...

Circle Blue – I am afraid it was too complicated for me as well and I won’t be going back to that way of doing things.

Richard – Yes, I think I saw the preview function. Compose will help a lot, for those of us that don’t like html.

Beemer Girl – That is something I hadn’t thought of. Do you mean to create the post in an e-mail, including the pictures and then somehow e-mail the composed post to Blogger somehow? I have never tried posting from an e-mail and don’t even know how to begin, but Richard gives some ideas in his comment. The trouble is, am I going to spend a few more hours trying to get this to work.....?

Richard – Thanks for the tip about e-mail. I am un-decided whether to try it, or to give Roland’s BlogPress idea a try first.

Gary France said...

Nikos – If you were thinking of buying an iPad to do your blog using Blogger, then I totally agree with you. Don’t.

Charlie6 – Apart from the iPhone and iPad I recently purchased, I too know nothing about Macs. Swopping to a Mac would just mean too much time for me - Old Dogs and New Tricks sort of thing.

Rhonda – It was good to beat the system, but I won’t be rushing to use this method again, unless I absolutely have to!

Mark Stone said...

Boys & Girls - I was sent link to this Blog as I'm about to embark on a road trip (Not by bike though - the GS will be staying at home :-(). I've been following the thread concerning blogging with the i-pad. I will updating my blog with the i-pad and the software I'm using is Blogsy. I was able to unpdate the blog using this to Blogger, I've managed to send photo's and all very easy, though I've still not managed to do video but may be something to do with not having a YouTube account yet.
Now I have this blog to reference and hopefully pick some useful info for our trip. SF to NY (southly route - I40).

George Ferreira said...

I'm not an Apple fan either so can't add much to help you. I do have to say that I have stopped using Flickr because they no longer allow linking directly to the picture, this comes from their FAQ:

The direct link to a photo file is no longer shown on the page. Per the Flickr Community Guidelines "pages on other websites that display content hosted on flickr.com must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr." Linking directly to the photo file doesn't do this.