The “I can’t do X on iOS” gap has shrunk quite a bit, thanks to WordPress 4.0

I have spent a not insignificant portion of my weekend working on two WordPress projects—this website and a rebuild of my neighborhood’s organization site. I am truly impressed at how much progress WordPress 4.0 has made towards being not just friendly, but quite usable in Mobile Safari.
Now, I don’t mean I just wrote a few blog posts in my new favorite writing app, 1Writer. I mean I downloaded zip files with Safari; opened, decompressed, and uploaded them with Transmit about as fast as I can with my Mac; then went to town in WordPress with Safari. I installed new themes and plugins, created custom navigation menus, and reordered sidebar widgets and menu items with drag-and-drop (tap-and-drop? Tap-drop?). I created a bunch of pages, pasted content, and even used the custom page builder plugin that ships with one of my favorite themes, Enfold.

Much of WordPress’ site management now works surprisingly well in Mobile Safari. Thanks to iOS 8 App Extensions, I can use exceptional apps like Transmit for external tasks like uploading files. Top all this off with the iPad Air 2’s new 2GB of RAM, and I’ve been able to work for a couple hours across 3-6 Safari tabs (new page, menu editor, widgets, old live site, new testing site) and bounce between a couple other apps, all without Safari randomly blowing away work by reloading a webpage. I’m no web dev, but it seems like this is complex stuff, too—media- and JavaScript-rich webpages, photo galleries, and custom page builders, to name a few.

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I’m an app person, and I’m gradually moving toward an iOS-only workflow. But WordPress has long been a sticking point in this journey; one of the big, complex web apps that hasn’t lend itself very well in the past to Mobile Safari on an iPad or, heavens help you, an iPhone. Things can get even more complicated if you need custom themes or plugins, including paid options, that are likely built by a shop that doesn’t see mobile devices as much more than a target for checking CSS.

After spending a weekend deliberately exploring what I can get done with WordPress on an iPad, I am pleasantly surprised by what is now possible. Automattic and WordPress’ many unpaid contributors deserve a round of applause. If you’re looking to go iOS like me, FedericoViticci, and many others, WordPress, with a little help from iOS 8, has made wonderful strides.