Would You Use An Offline WordPress Editor?

Eric Mann has put a proposal together for an editor that works offline and would synchronize to WordPress once an internet connection is established. The idea is that if there is no internet connection, you would still be able to create posts or pages and edit existing content. Those changes would then be synchronized with WordPress when a connection is re-established. Eric outlines what the goals would be for an offline editor:

  • Navigate to my site in a browser
  • Be alerted that I’m offline
  • Edit existing content while offline (saving changes to a cache)
  • Create new content while offline (saving content to a cache)
  • Auto-sync my content with the live server when I’m online again

Doesn’t WordPress Already Do That?

Some of you may be scratching your head as you read those bullet points. That’s because WordPress 3.6 introduced autosaves that address the second, third, and fifth points. However, the autosave is limited to the content being edited at the time of disconnection. Once a connection is lost, you can not load or create content. The offline editor would be free of those limitations.

WordPress Connection Lost
Connection Lost. It’s OK WordPress Has Your Back

WordPress for iOS is a great example of how this idea can be turned into reality. Although the user experience is not as good as it should be, the app enables users to create new posts when not connected to the internet. Once you’re connected, you have to save the new post and it will be uploaded to your WordPress site.

Synchronizing WordPress With XML RPC

What makes this all possible is something called XML RPC. WordPress has its own implementation for WordPress-specific functionality in an API called the WordPress API. Through XML RPC, the WordPress app is able to communicate to a WordPress powered website which enables the ability to keep things synchronized between multiple devices. WordPress developer Brand Kraft has suggested that a desktop version of the mobile app be created.

XML RPC Settings In WordPress
XML RPC Settings In WordPress

There are already a number of applications that take advantage of XML RPC to communicate with WordPress. One of the most popular is Windows Live Writer.

Desktop Version Of WordPress For iOS Would Be A Good Start

Personally, I would love to see a full blown off line version of WordPress. You can sort of accomplish this by using a locally installed version of WordPress that is occasionally synched to the public facing website. But I’ve found this to be a cumbersome approach. I’m looking for something that is simple, fast, has most of the functionality of WordPress but can be used on the desktop with changes that I can manually send to the public site. A desktop version of WordPress for iOS would be a good start.

WordPress For iOS Keyboard
WordPress For iOS Keyboard

Another fascinating aspect to this conversation is that the offline application doesn’t have to look exactly like WordPress. Instead, I’d like to see application designers try their hands at redesigning the WordPress backend interface. It’s an interesting way to experiment with different interface designs without manipulating WordPress itself.

Desk.pm In Development By John Saddington

WordPress For iOS Keyboard
Sliver Of Desk.PM

John Saddington who successfully funded and created Pressgr.am is looking to go two for two. Within the comments of Eric Mann’s blog post, Mr. Saddington announced a new project he is working on called Desk.pm. He describes the project as “the offline publishing system that I’ve always dreamed of having.” The application will be an OS X native app. Saddington says the long-term vision of Desk.pm is:

To create a never-changing and consistent writing experience regardless of whatever happens at the core admin level. Publish in the same environment today as you will 2, 3, 5 years from now even if the core web-based experience changes.

Desk.pm is in the development stage but if you sign up to the sites email list, you’ll be one of the first to know when it’s released.

The Idea Of An External Editor Isn’t New

The idea of a desktop application to run WordPress isn’t new. A few years ago, I was in talks with a notable WordPress individual to help create a WordPress desktop application. It would have enabled administrators to manage their sites, reply to comments, update plugins, and do all sorts of other tasks from the desktop. Unfortunately, the outsourced developers didn’t deliver and the project went nowhere. But the idea of managing everything in WordPress from the desktop was refreshing.

I’m ready for a wave of companies to release their version of WordPress for the desktop. I’m not concerned with administering my site with the application. Instead, I want it to focus entirely on the act of creating content in an offline environment. Would you be interested in using something like this? Do you already use an application to create content that you import into WordPress? If so, what is it?


46 responses to “Would You Use An Offline WordPress Editor?”

  1. Jeff,

    I use Live Writer. I set the post date for a date in the future and then I go to WordPress and take care of the small number of things I can’t do in Live Writer. (i.e. series numbering, meta description, grammar check) I would definitely use a WordPress desktop app/program.


      • One reason is that I started with it five years ago and I don’t want to change. :) I find it easier to get around in and it handles my writing workflow well.

        That said, Microsoft has done very little to keep Live Writer up to date. They have squashed a few bugs but that is about it. I would love to see it have a grammar checker, ability to edit/add meta description, support WordPress video/audio short code in preview. It handles categories and tags quite well and I have no problem with graphics.

    • I used to use Live Writer as well until a few years back when I realised while WordPress advanced, Live Writer was just stuck in the past. I like the ability to add image files and galleries easily with the WordPress editor which Live Writer didn’t let me do.

      And, after I switched to my Mac, I could never find a good enough alternative to Live Writer. So, for now, it’s the WordPress editor for me.

      I use WordPress for Android and while it does enable basic functionality, it’s far far away from giving the experience that you get with the desktop interface

  2. Aren’t there already native blog clients, based on a common XMLRPC protocol? It’s a good idea, but I could never get used to them. I compose any remotely serious post in a text editor, run it through Markdown, then copy-paste into WP. It’s more comfortable, and that way I have a backup before the post is even published!

  3. Blackberry/Android/IOS For WordPress Apps (or whatever they are called)…don’t they do what you are saying in this post?

    Firefox has an add-on, I use Chrome now a days. I am sure Chrome has one too.

    What if you have media to upload?

    Would I have to put a place holder and then when post syncs, will the syncing upload the photo/video/etc or would I have to do that part manually?

    I used the BBWP app but when I switched phones to my Galaxy S4, Haven’t used android for WP App.

    Could be because I now have a laptop and laptop typing is way better than on a GS4.

  4. I feel this is probably an area that WordPress has regressed a little bit – the lack of great offline editors. About 5-6 years ago there was the great w.bloggar which is sadly no more. Would be AMAZING to get a good one, particularly as there’s still a section of my clients at least who write in Word before copying it accross.

  5. I write everything up offline in a Notepad text file. Format=Title first, list of categories second, list of tags third, and finally the article itself, complete with all HTML tags. Then it’s just a matter of copy/pasting everything over to WordPress when I’m online. And as Felix said above, this ensures that you always have a complete backup. But a proper offline editor would definitely be nice, and would be something I’d certainly take a look at.

  6. This would be great – I’d use it. A friend is going to work abroad and was looking for a solution like this to allow them to blog about it. They would only get an internet connection every week or so. I tried to show them the existing solutions for WP, but nothing suited their use case. Please do this.

  7. Jeff,

    Thanks for the coverage! To be honest, I wasn’t planning (or hoping) for any big callout at this point in time as I’ve kept it a bit under the radar for quite some time… but it is what it is. I decided to go “public” on Eric’s blog because it was just too good of a conversation that had already been started.

    It is what it is!


    • If I didn’t do it, someone else would have. It’s not a full page spread but it’s relevant to the post so I figured I’d at least mention it. At the very least, those interested will sign up to the email list.

  8. I use Windows Live Writer for authoring content, whether offline or at my desk. I originally started using it because I contributed to blogs on a number of different platforms and it provided a common UI, but now I’m just used to it for my WordPress blogs. I typically share images from my Flickr account and use the Flickr Image Reference plug-in, which hasn’t been updated in ages and has a few small bugs, but works well enough. I would love to have something better for offline authoring on Android, I end up having to hand-code the HTML in the native WP app far too often.

  9. I remember a few years back there was Zoundry Raven, that supported multiple platforms. I wonder whatever happened to it – their web site is up, but it doesn’t seem like anyone takes care of it any longer.

  10. Yeah, I think it would be a good option to have, especially for new users or someone looking to change. Myself, I would probably continue with the status quo… doing my posts in the editor…my old dog instincts ;)

  11. I think people here are implying that this needs to be some sort of desktop native app. But I assume Eric is intending this to be part of WordPress itself (I could be wrong though). So you’d just navigate to your admin panel when offline, and it would still work via the browsers offline caching systems. I’ve messed around with this stuff in the past, as I was trying to make a plugin which would allow WordPress sites to work even when offline (albeit I wasn’t intending to tackle the admin panel), but I gave up due to offline storage being buggy in all the browsers I tested. That was quite a while ago though, so hopefully browsers have caught up a little now. I did have a working prototype of that system running (for the front-end), but it bugged out so many times that it became highly annoying. Sometimes you would navigate to the site and find that half your assets were non-existent, or web pages which had been updated would serve the stale cache despite being refreshed (due to browser bugs, not bugs created by me :P).

    EDIT: I should have read Eric’s post more thoroughly. He covered this scenario in the comments by saying that it would be fraught with issues due to lack of browser support.

  12. I don’t know if the feature is still around since I NEVER used it, isn’t there an e-mail your post option? You email whatever@yourdomain.com and it gets published in default category?

    How would the offline post making thing handle media?

    There are people who pay for internet in hourly basis. So I do see advantage of offline post creation, type it on your laptop, go to internet cafe/dial up/whatever and then send it up to your site.

  13. I have only been using WordPress for 8 months while blogging about our sailing trip, so I have minimal technical expertise. An offline component would be amazingly helpful because the internet is spotty and slow in the islands. RIght now, I draft my text in Word and gather my photos by compressing and exporting them from iPhoto into another file for uploading. I feel like I am doing every step twice. It takes a long time to upload and do final edits in WordPress for text and photo selection.

  14. MarsEdit for Mac works well for writing posts off line and pushing them live when you’re ready. It syncs multiple blogs, uploads media files from your computer or Flickr, handles tags, categories, post-status, etc. You can also set up stylesheets to see what your post will look like in the wild.

    • Another long time MarsEdit (Mac) and Live Writer (Win) user. Although MardEdit is not free, it really does work quite well.

      Difficult to believe, but there remain a number of location of a well-know Canadian coffee and donut shop chain that have not installed wifi :)

  15. I would unquestionably use the offline wordpress app. I often find myself in areas of the mountains with weak or no internet connection. With laptop or notebook the opportunity to complete work offline would be invaluable (and with power outs).

  16. I use mail via the JetPack plugin to submit drafts of content – which is very convenient because I live out of my inbox. Response from clients on using this option have also been very positive because of the very low user threshold. Everybody can send an email.

    I have also used MS Word, which support the XML-RPC interface for multiple accounts. Clients have been positive about this option as well. It’s an environment they are familiar with, which makes all the difference.

    Lately, I have been using Evernote more and more – and the ability to publish via mail from a note in Evernote is nice. The advert in the bottom of the mail is annoying, but is easily removed before publishing in WordPress after adjusting some SEO, social media distribution and other items. Evernote handles both online and offline editing through syncing, which is close to your specifications.

    There used to be a plugin called EverPress – to autopost from a shared notebook in Evernote. But it seems it is no longer maintained. Perhaps this could be a viable alternative – to update this plugin?

  17. I have used the WordPress apps for both my iPhone and iPad happly for offline posts, but I admit that sometimes there is nothing better then having a full keyboard to work on. For a period of time I was using MS Word for offline post, but it never failed that I would have to go back and reedit the post once I would publish it.

    If someone came up with a good way to post when offline, I would be all over it.

  18. HI Jeff,

    I”ve been working with similar ideas using Angularjs with WordPress and Zurb foundation. I developed a theme that turns wordpress into a Single Page Application.


    demo: http://angularpresstheme.com/

    I would like to implement an angularjs offline editor for the backend and frontend (see my todo list on github) using John Papa’s concept of Progressive Saving (or Work in Progress)

    demo: http://cc-ng-z.azurewebsites.net/#/sessions
    video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLij19xbefI

    Hope you like it.

    Best regards,


  19. This is something I’ve been looking for for many years now. It would certainly improve my content production.

    So far I have tried Mars Edit, and it works. But the app is $40 once your trial exprires.

    Then there’s Ulysses III who recently announced they will be adding blogging support. http://ulyssesapp.com/devblog/2014/01/23/this-ones-for-the-bloggers-announcing-ulysses-1-2/ The app is priced similarly.

    I’d love to see a native Mac app that lets your write while keeping your content synched between online/offline. Performance is key here for me, as I have to managed thousands of articles and hundreds of drafts.

  20. Please, please, please somebody develop a true offline WordPress app! Would be worth it’s weight in gold! I spend way too much time composing in Word, then copying, pasting and fumbling around with media when I am offline for extended periods of time.
    I want to focus on the content of my BLOGs not technical folderol!

  21. For those who use WP as a CMS it would be invaluable to have a central respository/offline component that syncs when connected and updates content throughout a website. It’s the future of content management and content re-use and if you could do that with WP, it would be amazing.

  22. No matter how good WP’s online editor gets, it’s still online. For some of us (research numbers, anyone?) that’s always going to be a problem.

    Editing in a browser is getting better, as PCs speed up – or worse, if your smart device has a tiny screen. But it’s inherently clumsy. Our workplace has brisk client apps on the PC being replaced by monster apps working via a browser keyhole to some lumbering great server farm. Painfully slow with each keystroke.

    However, my point here is about offline archiving that must be part of an offline editor. While the blog online is the archive, when it’s not online – because you are in trouble – an offline replica is so comforting. Additionally, when hosting is moved, or migration to a new domain name is forced/decided, the old content is — where? A zip file that’s a black box until its uploaded?

    Not mentioned above – and moot anyhow as it seems no longer updated – is a marvelous Live Writer work-alike called WebStory, which is well-featured and sophisticated. And with very few shortcomings, and almost free.

    The great thing about WebStory is its ability to not just publish of synchronize, but download an entire blog to a local database. Which can be imported to that pgm on another PC.

    In that scenario – where I had to go offline with an 8 y/o blog – I managed to readily download 2550 posts and 30 pages, where I can easily reference/search all those years of material offline. This is not the same as having a WordPress database backup, and far easier than a XAMP local copy, etc. It’s like Outlook for WordPress posts!

    Images (several thousand) I chose to download via FTP directly from the WordPress /img/library/ folder – outside of the WP core folders!! – in the server root, and also the /wpcontent/uploads/ folder.

    That alone, with that one feature (and a decent editor), justifies an offline editor.

    I still use Windows Live Writer to publish and tweak layout (love the way it downloads a theme for local rendering). However, with a new photo blog I find it crashing when trying to display 20 large images in the offline post. Another bug, I suspect. Sad, so need to say goodbye to WLW.

    Which is why I’m here. Now, off to keep looking :0)

    • Hi,

      I have developed such an Desktop-Editor for WordPress. Different is that my Desktop client does not use XML-RPC but instead uses his own Webservice which will be installed as plugin in wordpress. So you cannot only manage posts, as also comments, pages and medias. I have published it a few months ago, but did not get much downloads, but also did not make advertising efforts for it. Previously it was developed for Joomla, but then i integrated also WordPress.
      You can download it from http://www.desktop-content-manager.de

      • Thank you Chrisw. I’ll give it a friendly try and promise not to complain if it’s not quite what I hope.

        And the non-use of XML-RPC would be nice, so my WP security plugin can now disable that too.

        I guess it takes a while for plugins to get a following. We only change plugins when forced to. And the community eventually builds up your numbers and that encourages more.

      • Chrisw, my first comment is – I could not find a download in wordpress.org/plugins searching “DCM” or “desktop content manager” – or via the Google search option for WP’s plugin site. It might be there, but not easy to spot as these terms are a bit generic.

        Secondly, I’m wary of downloading plugins from “unknown (to me)” parties that don’t appear in WordPress plugins site. Especially one that involves a client on my PC that also admins numerous WHM & cPanel logins. You know, paranoia.

        Still, your site passes the clean test (I hope, with my limited tools) so I’m giving it a go.

        Just sayin’

        • Hi phillvv,

          When i released my App, i was unsure about the license model i wanna used, so i did not listed it on wordpress.org and then didn’t think about it anymore. For now i did release it under GPL and i will gonna make a listing on wordpress.org asap.

          • Great Chris, thanks.
            I wondered but couldn’t suggest that as you have your reasons and I’m not a dev. But good to know. I would have formed my own opinion about your site. It certainly looks legit to my initial once-over :0))
            I suspect if you do place it at wp.org it will make some difference to download headcount!

        • Hi,

          Would be nice if you translate it to french. You can translate it by yourself, just have a look in the Programfolder of the DCM client, there is an folder Languages where you find two files Deutsch.xml and English US.xml. Just copy the English US.xml to new file French.xml and then translate the content of the new file. If you have problems or want to share your translation on my website, please contact me at christophweller15@gmail.com


    • Again, thanks. All is right in the world. Hope to offer favourable review/useful feedback.

  23. A good offline WP editor would be great to have! I’ve always felt the WP post editor is not as good as it should be anyway! There should be a way to use tinymce as an alternate WP posts offline editor (I’ll check this out).I would definitely use an offline WP posts editor. It would though be great to have a nice Windows and Mac program (or App) for WP post editing offline (and not a plugin..pardon me but I’m not a big plugin fan!). Thanks for this post. Best wishes :-)

  24. In my wordpress can not activate, the desktop app showme always: “the webserver is not available”, im followed the instrucction for write the pass and user but nothing. Other thing, the pluging isnt unzip in the pluging manager from the wordpress.

    • Hi,

      Yes, you have to unzip the zip-file and upload the content to the plugin directory. Then activate the plugin in the settings section and set and password for the webservice. The webservice should then be online. You can check it by calling your wordpress-site with the root-url and append /index.php/dcm_ws/
      The response should look like here on my site :
      Then you can login with DCM client, when you setup your site in DCM configuration there is a connection check button.


  25. I’ve been using ecto, which has apparently been abandoned by its maker, for years. Not only does it allow me to create and compose offline in HTML or WYSIWYG modes, but it maintains a database of all 2000+ of my blog posts, making it easy to revise or link back to any of them. I sure wish someone would update it for current WordPress features, such as featured images.

  26. I use LiveWriter for all the blogs I keep. It has all the tools I need to make text and images appear as I would want them to appear on my blog. I have experienced one blog type that did not even let to edit text in any way; add bold or italic in it. Crazy huh? Some still have issues to provide tools for aling the images.
    Makes it also easier to control everything from one place and prepare posts and publish when having time and set them to be published and focus on new things instead of logging in. Thus, also extremely ideal when simply not having internet around. There are such occasions, places and times.


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