One downside of moving to Jekyll (as I recently did with this blog) is that you leave the vibrant ecosystem of mobile blogging apps. Tumblr’s app, for example, let me get thoughts down with my one free hand and post them right away, or edit old posts with ease.
But mourn no more, Jekyll bloggers! Octopage is an iPhone app that lets you edit and create new posts to your GitHub Pages-based Jekyll site. (Despite the Octo- prefix, it works fine with plain old Jekyll and doesn’t presuppose Octopress.) Start the app, enter your GitHub credentials, select your GitHub Pages repository, and you’re ready to begin editing existing posts or creating a new one. Octopage even prepopulates new posts with the requisite YAML front matter for Jekyll posts and has several settings for code block style and autocapitalization that create the right environment for your editing. Built in Markdown preview and syntax guide are nice touches for people like me who are still learning Markdown.
A few nits: I would prefer that Octopage use Github’s official OAuth API for authentication. Entering my username and password into an app feels so 2010. I encountered some display glitches that left me with only 2 lines visible. Making the app universal and thus pleasant to use on the iPad would be great.
Ultimately, I hope more apps add native Github Pages and Jekyll publishing abilities. We need a more vibrant ecosystem for Jekyll. I really hope that the fantastic new Editorial app for iPad will rise to the occasion and add these capabilities. Or perhaps Octopage’s creator will integrate directly with Editorial, something Editorial was built for.
But for now, Octopage gets the job done and does so quite nicely. To prove it, I wrote this entire post in Octopage — with my left thumb while my daughter napped in my lap.