WPhone – I Wish You Still Worked

WPhone Edit Post Screen

I’m still trying to find the perfect tool for running  Wap Review using just a mobile phone. My requirements are pretty basic, I just want to be able to create and edit posts and edit and moderate comments.  With posts I need to be able to enter and edit the body of the post and I’d like to be able assign  the category, enter tags and an excerpt.   For comments I need to be able edit them to remove phone numbers and email addresses for the protection of clueless commentators and  to clean up the URL field where people tend to put all kinds invalid or inappropriate junk.   I’d also like something web based so that I can use it with the N95, BlackBerry or a tethered Zaurus C860.

It bugs me that I used to be able to do all these things with just the regular WordPress Dashboard and Opera Mini or my Zaurus’ Opera 7.25 browser.  Then in WP 2.7, WordPress went all AJAXy and pretty much broke the dashboard in every mobile browser I’ve tried including Safari on the iPhone.

I’m currently using the combination of the S60 application WordMobi and a WordPress plugin called WP-T-WAP that I wrote about recently.  They work but I still don’t have all the functionality I used to have with WordPress 2.5.

WordMobi has a nice post editor and supports image uploading  but limits me to using my N95 and doesn’t allow me to enter tags or an excerpt.  In fact if I edit a post that has tags with WordMobi the tags get deleted which is a bit annoying.  WordMobi is also unusable for content moderation because it doesn’t “see” all the comments that are awaiting moderation.

WAP-T-Wap   supports tags and categories but not excerpts.  I like to enter a, hopefully catchy, excerpt on my posts because the excerpt is displayed by some  RSS Readers and is used by a plugin ( All in One SEO Pack) which uses it as the meta description header tag where it’s picked up by Google. WP-T-Wap doesn’t allow me to edit comments either, just approve, delete or mark  them as spam.

WPhone Dashboard

Ricky at Symbian-Guru recommended I try another  WordPress plugin called WPhone. It appears very full featured, with support for enabling and disabling plugins, adding and editing categories, adding users and updating user profiles in addition to basic post editing and comment moderation. Ostensibly for the iPhone, WPhone actually has three  UIs,  one for iPhones, another for handsets with JavaScript support and a third for basic mobile browsers.  Check out these screenshots which include several of the basic version running on a Motorola V551 with its MIB browser.  That’s an impressive feat as the Motorola MIB browser is the least capable of all mobile browsers.

Unfortunately, development of  WPhone has essentially stopped with the developers citing work pressures and the fact that there is now an iPhone WordPress app that provides at least some of the functionality of WPhone.  I tried running WPhone on WordPress 2.7.1 and sadly it seems broken in a number of key places.  Composing and editing posts still works but editing comments doesn’t.  When I try to open a comment I get an “Unknown action.” error.  The same error occurs when trying to manage plugins. The post editor is virtually identical to the one in WP-T-Wap with support for tags and categories but not excerpts but it shouldn’t be that hard to modify either plugin to add that field.

WPhone seems like such a great plugin.  I can understand the origninal developers simply not having the time to maintain it any longer. As far as I can determine WPhone is  free (as in speech) software.  I don’t see any licensing or copyright language in the code or documentation so it appears that anyone is free to fix it or extend it.  Any volunteers?  I’m thinking of poking around in the code myself to see if I can at least fix the comments as that’s the main feature I need.

Considering all the mobile related  WordPress blogs, most using one of the various plugins to create a mobile friendly user  version, I really think it’s time for Automattic to take mobile seriously and build a mobile support right into WordPress.

2 thoughts on “WPhone – I Wish You Still Worked

  1. As soon as I get some time, I’m going to make it work with WP 2.8 (as that’s the likeliest timeframe for me having any time…)

    I swear! *grin*

  2. Thanks for the link, Dennis. I’ve been hoping that Alex King would pick up Wphone and integrate it into his already-awesome mobilization plugin, but I also agree that it’s about time WordPress had its own mobilization built-in, at least for the backend, if not the whole thing.

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