Most of the editing I do on this blog is/will be done on my laptop, and mostly in Vim. But what if I want to post something while I am away from my laptop?
I need to figure something out.
This post was written entirely on my iPad and iPhone, with a bunch of different apps, in my attempt to figure out how best to write posts when away from my laptop.
Prose.io - Free
Prose.io seems good. This was one of the first things I found when I Googled for Jekyll editors, so I think it is designed specifically for Jekyll sites. I have been writing this post in that site so far, and it works okay, but not particilarly well.
The most annoying part is that it does not take advantage of iOS’s autocorrect1, e.g. spelling, uppercasing first letters, double-tap space for full stop.
Plus it’s a web app, so I need Internet access to use it2.
But it does integrate directly with GitHub, so I save posts and drafts easily.
So while this does kinda work, it’s not great, and I can see myself getting frustrated with it quite easily.
So. Let’s find other options.
Octopage - £0.99
This app actually works quite well. It has offline editing, preview, and a Markdown syntax guide.
There are a few bugs though, the most annoying of which is that it occasionally scrolls up when I preview the post then go back to edit mode.
It also only has drafts local to the app. No way (yet) of using the drafts directory in the repo. I’ve asked the dev to add that functionality, so we’ll see what happens.
That’s not a deal breaker, but it does mean that any post I don’t complete in this app can’t be picked up on my laptop.
Which means that, while I can write my thoughts on the app using the app itself, I need to update my page draft with a different app, so back to Prose.io for now.
Source for iOS - Free?
The app is actually free, but being able to push back to GitHub is an in-app purchase. Sort of.
This one took a while to get started. It wasn’t able to set up my SSH key to GitHub, so I had to add that manually. Once that was in place, it all went swimmingly.
This one is a full fledged git client, so it lets me edit any file in the repo. And it also has offline editing, which is nice.
No preview functionality, but that’s fine; that’s not what the app is for.
It does have a few keyboard issues though. It has its own keyboard, which can be used in other apps. It looks like it is supposed to have quick access to special characters, but I can’t see how that is supposed to work. You can disable the custom keyboard, but even then there is none of iOS’s autocorrection, which makes it frustrating to use.
I would like to love this app, but I would need more keyboard behaviour settings before I am happy with it.
I have listed it as free with a question mark because it says that pushing to a remote repo is part of the £4.99 in app purchase, but it looks like that works fine in the free version. I suspect the answer is that pushing to other remote repos is the premium feature. Or it could be a bug, because when I try to push without committing at the same time, it prompts me to pay for then in app purchase.
Git2Go - Free
Another full git client. Without looking at it too much, it doesn’t appear to have all the git functionality of Source, but I don’t need it to.
This one just has the iOS default keyboard, and again the autocorrect functionality is nowhere to be seen. But I can send feedback from directly within the app, so I’ve sent the suggestion to the dev.
This app is definitely free though, if you don’t need private repos or GitHub Enterprise, so that’s a bonus.
It took me a while to figure out, but you can move files, which means you can publish posts. Which is nice. Looking back on Source, it can’t do that.
It also lets me view diffs before committing, whereas Source would only let me see which files have changed, but not the diff.
I don’t anticipate needing to post many images, but that is possible in this app, where it isn’t in Source.
So… what will I use?
There are a few more apps I could try, but at this point, as long as Git2Go’s devs allow you to toggle autocorrection, I can definitely see myself using it.
This was really the only problem with Jekyll that I needed to figure out before being satisfied that it was a good blogging platform for me (as opposed to Wordpress, for example).