Testing Out the WooThemes Express App

A while back, WooThemes, which makes the Canvas theme I’m using and many more beautiful, highly functional WordPress themes, came out with their Express app. I found the price – $4.99 at the time I downloaded it – to be a bit steep, but I wanted to test it out as it promised to provide Tumblr-like blogging with certain themes.

Here is my first post with the app, done entirely on my iPhone 4. I took a screenshot of the app interface to test the image-type post (like Tumblr, it prompts users to choose a post type – image, video, text, etc.).

So how did it work? You tell me. I’m in the park and won’t be back to my MacBook for a little while. You can tell me on Twitter @melanierenzulli or leave a comment below.

Update: 21 hours later

Well, that was a bit wonky.

The Express app did what it said it would – post things Tumblr-style to your WordPress-blog. Unfortunately, given the bare-bones nature of Tumblogging, the post I created with the Express app didn’t adhere to the constructs of my WordPress blog.

So I had to do some tweaking.

Here is what the post looked like on the home page. The full-size image posted on the homepage rather than being rendered as a thumbnail (as my current theme setting dictate):

If you’re starting out with a new Woothemes-equipped, Tumblr-styled WordPress blog, then you’ll be fine. But seeing this made me go in search of a settings tweak or some code so that I could either 1) keep thumbnails on the home page or 2) change my settings so that all my previous and future posts appeared with full-size images on the homepage as well as in single post.

After messing around with Canvas theme settings, including the dynamic image and Tumblog settings, I realized that I would need to get some help from a “ninja” at Woothemes. I posted this message:

Hello,

I recently decided to try using my Canvas-based blog as a Tumblog. I filed my first Tumblr-style post (an image) using the Express app to try out functionality. Unfortunately, the image did not render as a thumbnail on the front page, rather it showed up full-size (width of 610?).

Is there a way to make Tumblr-style posts work like regular posts so that a thumbnail is displayed on the homepage?

Barring that, how can I set up the front page of my Canvas site so that all images show up full size on the homepage and in the single post view?

I realize that a Tumblr style blog is supposed to be more bare bones than a WordPress-based one. But it’d be great to have the quick press functionality of Tumblr combined with the usually formatting of my Canvas site.

Help!

Within a few hours, I got a response from someone at Woo tellings me I would need to change my canvas/includes/tumblog/theme-tumblog.php with this code. Important! Make a copy of the original php file before overwriting or deleting anything!

That’s a lot of tweaking one must do to use an “express” app. But, if I’m going to try to keep up with this blog again, then I need to have as many quick press options as possible.

By the way, you’ll notice that I did a post-publish “strike-through” of the word video when listing the Express app’s functions. While you can do a Tumblr-style video post of Tumblr through the Canvas dashboard, the video functionality is not yet available on the app. *Sigh*

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Update to the Update: A few hours later

Well, I couldn’t get the above suggestions from the Woo ninja to work – and frankly, I’m too impatient to wait for someone else to help me while my site looks like sh*t. So, I did some more browsing in the Woo forum and found a patch that I think I can stand to stick with.

I decided to show the full blog post in the page that way I don’t have to worry about thumbnails for posts showing up on the homepage. This is also convenient if I plan to post more videos as I won’t have to find a screen image to include as a featured image.

I did this by going to the Canvas>Theme Options>General Settings>Display Options and choosing “Full Content” under the Post Content dropdown box. Previously, when I was displaying thumbnails on the homepage, I had opted to have 10 posts excerpts to display at a time. But now that I am going to display the full post, I had to reduce that number. I went to (this is in the main WordPress menu) Settings>Reading and changed “Blog pages show at most” to 3.

One great tweak that you can make when displaying the full post when you have a really long one is to utilize the “Insert More” tag which is provided in the WordPress “kitchen sink” above the post box. It will give you a “Continue Reading” link at the end of your post on the homepage, making everything look nice and clean.

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God, I hope this helps somebody. I’m just one person fooling around with WordPress and I thought I’d let you see the warts-and-all process it took to make some updates.

4 comments

  1. VoodooBettie says:

    Thanks for this – I had been wondering if I should give this app a try. I use WooThemes sometimes and it would be handy to be able to update my blog from my iphone but wasn’t sure if Express would work well or not. I think I’ll give it a go. 🙂

  2. Terry Smith says:

    Hi Melanie,

    It’s been a year since you wrote this post, and I just ran across it as I was doing searches around Tumblog functionality with WooThemes. Would you mind replying with an update on your thought about it? Do you still use it?

    I was thinking of installing the WooTumblog plugin and using the Express app, but the app seems to be dead with no new updates. Are there any advantages to going down that path versus just using one of the “non-tumblog” apps to post content to a WordPress blog?

    Thanks,
    Terry

  3. Hi Terry,

    I just deleted the app from my phone last week. So that should give you your answer.

    The WordPress-made app seems to have a lot of functionality now, though I’ve never used it to post on the fly.

    Let me know what you end up doing! I’d like to see how others are using apps to post to their self-hosted blogs.

    Best,
    Melanie

  4. Terry Smith says:

    Thank you Melanie. In that case I’m going to try the WordPress-made app and maybe a paid app as well. As a visual artist I want to post “in progress” and behind-the-scenes content on the fly while still maintaining control and ownership over my content. The later is why I’ve never gotten into posting much on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’ll try to reply back later and let you know how it is going.

    Thanks again,
    Terry

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