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The WordPress.com OS X app is beautiful. It’s also almost pointless.

The app is wrapped around the most recent browser version of the blogging software. That’s it.

It runs well enough, but it doesn’t do anything that can’t be done in the browser. Many of those tasks work better in the browser. Moreover, there are some things it doesn’t do, so you are sent back to the browser version anyway.

There are only three reasons to use the app:

  • To keep Safari or another browser set aside for non-WordPress tasks.
  • To go straight to WordPress.com from the Dock or Application launcher.
  • If you want to store data locally on your Mac.

None of these are compelling:

  • WordPress.com works well in Safari. But even if you hate working that way. like it or not, there will be times when the app sends you there.
  • If you keep WordPress in your Safari bookmarks you can get there in two clicks instead of one.
  • Local data may help if you have a poor internet connection, otherwise, it’s rarely an issue. When I feel the need to compose a post outside of the site, I use a Markdown editor like iA Writer or Byword. iA Writer integrates well with WordPress.

In short, there may be a  case for people who spend all day managing their sites to use the app, but for most people it’s just clutter.

Update: There is one flaw with the app I forgot to mention. It doesn’t appear to automatically update. If it does, then the updates are infrequent. And there’s no obvious refresh button to hurry updates along. This matters if, say, you want to watch the traffic roll in after a new post.

 

platform, ecosystem, envirnomentPlatform, ecosystem, environment: people selling technology often use these words.

Almost everything in the tech world is one of the three.

Some are all three. Hence: the Windows platform; Windows ecosystem and Windows environment. Are they the same thing are are they each different? Likewise Apple, Android, AWS and so on.

The words are a problem because they are non-specific, even ambiguous. They rarely help good communication.

Often you can replace one of these words with thing and the meaning doesn’t change.

Platform; redundant, used badly

Or you can remove the word altogether. Usually Windows, Apple and Android are good enough descriptions in their own right for most conversations.

The other problem is that the words are used interchangeably. People often talk about the Windows platform when they mean the ecosystem.

There are times when you can’t avoid using platform or ecosystem. That’s not true with environment, the word is always vague or unnecessary.

Ben Thompson offers great definitions of platform and ecosystem in The Funnel Framework:

A platform is something that can be built upon. In the case of Windows, the operating system had (has) an API that allowed 3rd-party programs to run on it. The primary benefit that this provided to Microsoft was a powerful two-sided network: developers built on Windows, which attracted users (primarily businesses) to the platform, which in turn drew still more developers. Over time this network effect resulted in a powerful lock-in: both developers and users were invested in the various programs that ran their businesses, which meant Microsoft could effectively charge rent on every computer sold in the world.

An ecosystem is a web of mutually beneficial relationships that enhances the value of all of the participants. This is a more under-appreciated aspect of Microsoft’s dominance: there were massive sectors of the industry built up specifically to support Windows, including value-added resellers, large consultancies, and internal IT departments. In fact, IDC has claimed that for every $1 Microsoft made in sales, partner companies made $8.70. Indeed, ecosystem lock-in is arguably even more powerful than platform lock-in: not only is there a sunk-cost aspect, but also a whole lot more money and people pushing to keep things exactly the way they are.

Thompson then goes on to discuss why platforms and ecosystems are no longer as important as they were in the Windows era. His point is that in the past owning the platform and ecosystem was the key to sales success, today being the best product or service for a consumer’s needs is more important.

And that is great news for users.

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My blog set up is nicely tuned. It could be better with smarter blogging tools.

As the moment I write posts with Byword on the MacBook Air.

Sometimes I start a post using Byword on an iPad or iPhone while on the move.

Although Byword can post direct to WordPress.com, I publish posts as drafts. That way I can do a final tidy before adding categories, tags and featured images.

When I hit Publish, WordPress sends a link to Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and FaceBook.

In What I want from a blogging platform Dave Winer says he’d like:

The full text should be sent to Facebook or WordPress, including a link back to the original post. Revisions to the post flow to Facebook and WordPress.

Now that’s something I’m about to work on. I thought of using Mac’s automation tools to do this, but Rajeev Edmonds suggests I use an IFTTT recipe to meet the same goal. So that’s my next rainy day project. Adding Google+ to this would be good.

The tough part will be getting those revisions to flow back — somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen soon. If you know how I can manage this, please let me know.