Tech Stuff

Calypso

This seemed pretty easy. The desktop app for WordPress, “Calypso,” turns out to be a snap to install. I followed the directions here, and it took less than a minute to be up and running. It helped that I already had Jet Pack and a wordpress.com account, but neither one of those is a real problem to do.

The dashboard is simplified, but that’s probably going to be a good thing somewhere in the future for clients. WordPress developers already know that clients have a little trouble sometimes with all the choices.

There are a few limitations. The familiar drag-and-drop interface for media doesn’t work. You have to go through six or so clicks to place an image. And featured images isn’t there — but you get a nice WYSIWYG preview once you set one — and custom post types are supposedly unsupported. I think that’s going to be a problem with broadwaybach.org, which relies heavily on them. That includes my events listing, so I’ll need to continue to use the desktop version to manage those.

It takes a moment to queue up your category list, but on the plus side the tags come up as a list, eliminating the guesswork of uppercase/lowercase or how exactly did I word something.

Now here, just now, an error. “Saving of draft failed.” A glitch on my server? But the alert is a little distracting for an auto-save, which who pays attention to those anyway? But I got several of these just in the process of writing and editing this post! Let me know only if there’s a problem when I actually try to publish or manually save a draft.

By the way, there are no display settings for embedding images. You get the image full-size, without alignment, period. The one with the red error is the result of that. No lightbox there.

Then the problems really started. I think I had to clear the “error” message before I could actually republish. I had this post up in my desktop browser and I wasn’t seeing the changes until I did that. Then I tried to add this image:

Freeze.

Not good. The entire desktop app has gone unresponsive. This is where I switched over to my browser interface, which is where I’m currently publishing from. The edit icon and the cancel button don’t do anything. Clicking away from the popup panel does nothing.

Even more alarming, when I quit the application and re-launched it, it was still frozen in exactly the same place. Is it going to magically recover and auto-save an older version of this while I’m sleeping tonight? It was necessary to actually sign out, quit the application, and go back in from the beginning. When I went to the edit screen for this post, it offered to pull up a draft. I politely declined.

In general my first impression was really good. Then it got really annoyingly buggy and unimpressive. And it totally crashed the very first time out.

I’ll keep an eye on it for a while and look forward to future developments. But for now it’s not ready for prime time.

Tom

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he’s also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

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