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Blogging from the BlackBerry

Although the BlackBerry market of good third-party software is woefully underdeveloped, I am excited to say I have discovered a workable MetaWeblog API solution.

I’ve already written in detail about my BlackBerry and why I chose it over an iPhone, so I won’t make anyone read that stuff again. That said, the one area that really, really makes me lament not having an iPhone is the third-party app market. Apple’s App Store isn’t perfect and has gone through some growing pains, but the interest in development for the iPhone was crazy nuts even before the SDK, now that it is official, a slew of the types of applications that I would want to use are available or being made available. For my purposes, comparing the types of innovative stuff being done on the iPhone with the crap available for BlackBerry makes me just sad.

Nothing has made me more sad than the total lack of a blogging application for the BlackBerry. Within two weeks of launching the App Store, both TypePad and WordPress. Meanwhile, I’ve spent like 4 and a half months trying to find a decent WordPress or other blogging app for BlackBerry, with no luck.

Thanks to the always wonderful Twitter, I was alerted to the fact that SixApart actually released a TypePad app for BlackBerry back in May. So close, yet so far (if it were 2003 and I were looking to migrate from LiveJournal to a hosted service, I would have probably gone to TypePad — but it is 2008 and I want my own software installation — I’m sticking with WordPress unless Expression Engine 2.0 blows me away or I decide to roll my own Django thing). Fortunately, I decided to try Google again for BlackBerry blogging apps. Although the BlackBerry market of good third-party software is woefully underdeveloped, I am excited to say I have discovered a workable MetaWeblog API solution.

The program is called BBMetaBlog and as best I can tell, it was developed as a blogging tool for the Lotus Note and Lotus Domino servers/platforms. As such, things like categories and tagging is all handled by a different application that is designed to run on Lotus Domino servers. However, because Domino/Notes uses the MetaWeblog API for its blogging engine, any XML-RPC capable platform, meaning WordPress, can take advantage.

Neato. There are a few caveats:

  • Because this was developed to work with a pre-existing blog system, tags and categories don’t work. I haven’t messed around with it enough to find out if you create a default category if that will pass through or not. If it will, I might just make my default category “BlackBerry Mobile” or “Mobile Posts” to help keep things clean.
  • While it appears as if you CAN edit past entries, those entries don’t actually show up to be able to see them to edit.

Still, it’s better than nothing.

To get this to work (and I’m running everything off of a BlackBerry 8320 running 4.2.2 (they haven’t updated to 4.5 in the States yet, at least not at T-Mobile)), download the program using the OTA link above. Run the application and click on the “Configure” button. Enter in the username and password for you WordPress blog (or other MetaWeblog API blog software) and leave Location and Category at their defaults. On the line that says access URL, for WordPress users, enter in: http://www.yourblogdomain.com/xmlrpc.php — other MetaWeblog API programs might have a slightly different syntax, so check with your software.

That’s it.

Now you can create new posts and send them straight from your BlackBerry!

Note about WordPress 2.6 and later If your first installation of WordPress was version 2.6 or later and you have never used a third-party blog client before, you need to enable Remote Blogging from the Settings –> Writing tab:

www.ChristinaWarren.com › Writing Settings — WordPress.png

Just make sure you select XML-RPC.

If I knew anything about programming for BlackBerry, I’d try to take on this thing (since it is Open Source) and modify it to work better. Until then (or until a better option becomes available), this will suffice.

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44 people have left comments

Tris Hussey - Gravatar

Tris Hussey said:

Did you see that there is an updated version at OpenNTF? http://tinyurl.com/239dua I’m going to try it out now. Just registered and downloaded.

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 2:19 amQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

Yeah — from what I could tell, that was the program for the Lotus Domino stuff — if it is an updated version of BBMetaBlog, let me know!

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 2:22 amQuote this Comment
Jim Gleeson - Gravatar

Jim Gleeson said:

Glad to see that at least there is an alternative for the Blackberry though. I guess the unasked question is why would anyone want to blog from any smart phone platform at all. I have WordPress on my iPhone and just don’t feel the desire to blog away when most of my time is spent at my desktop. I guess if I was on-the-go it would mean something or if I didn’t drag my laptop when I was on-the-go.

Twitter on the iPhone is a notable exception to this. But it takes all kinds.

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 3:30 amQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

That’s a great point Jim — and I totally get what you are saying. Still, there are times I might want to post something that is longer than 140 characters when I’m out on the run. And although I used to be able to do the whole e-mail to publish thing on WordPress, it stopped working like 3 or 4 versions ago (2.3 was the last time I was able to get it to work). Ideally, there would be a better way to post a picture/blog entry a la Flickr’s website (I can post to flickr very easily on the BlackBerry, they even have an easy upload app, but you can’t do the whole “publish to blog thing”) or the TypePad/WordPress iPhone apps, or the TypePad BlackBerry app. What I would REALLY like to do would be to make the default category an “asides” or “mobile thoughts” or something and then integrate those remarks into a sidebar, so that little quips I have when I’m out, that are longer than tweets, could be blogged via phone.

If I feel more enthused, I might check out some BlackBerry dev stuff (it’s just Java, I haven’t written in Java in years but I’m sure it will come back to me) and see how hard it would be to modify the existing base of this application to do something more similar to what TypePad does. I just hate having to use Windows for development stuff, so I get lazy 😉

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 11:37 amQuote this Comment
JT - Gravatar

JT said:

Have you checked out the WPhone plugin? It’s not the best solution, but allows any mobile device with a browser to login to the admin interface to create a post.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wphone/

@digitalslurp

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 12:54 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

JT said: Have you checked out the WPhone plugin? It’s not the best solution, but allows any mobile device with a browser …

I haven’t looked at that in a few months, thanks for the link!

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 4:25 pmQuote this Comment
Tris Hussey - Gravatar

Tris Hussey said:

I’ve always liked wp-mobile. Does great stuff too for mobiles, esp Berry’s.

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 4:38 pmQuote this Comment
Amit Kapila - Gravatar

Amit Kapila said:

I can finally keep my blog up to date. Thanks – thanks a lot. I started blogging in June and didn’t get much done. Hope to be able to update it regularly now.

Posted on: August 13, 2008 at 2:17 amQuote this Comment
John - Gravatar

John said:

Thanks for the post. I too had been looking for a good way to post from my BB.

I also have a BB 8320 from T-Mobile USA (I upgraded mine to OS 4.5) and installed Postmaster and set up blogging by email. It works great, and I can include photos.

I can take a picture, and send it as an email attachment (or just send text email by itself). It uses the Email subject for the title, inserts the picture and copy as a post. You can even add categories in the subject line. Check it out here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/postmaster/

Posted on: August 14, 2008 at 2:37 pmQuote this Comment
Blogging from the BB « God, Politics & Lessons Learned - Gravatar

Blogging from the BB « God, Politics & Lessons Learned said:

[…] Article and Instructions for the BB WordPress App! […]

Posted on: August 16, 2008 at 6:04 pmQuote this Comment
Jonathan Blundell - Gravatar

Jonathan Blundell said:

I hear ya! I’m trying out the WPhone plugin. We’ll see how it goes.

Posted on: September 3, 2008 at 1:03 pmQuote this Comment
Ian - Gravatar

Ian said:

Regarding your Blackberry OS… check out Blackberry Forums if you haven’t already. OS 4.5.x is available, stable, and highly recommended. Easy enough to install, as long as you have a Windows machine handy (ungh).

Posted on: September 6, 2008 at 3:20 pmQuote this Comment
Adam - Gravatar

Adam said:

Warren,

I use my iPhone for my posts now with the WP plugin. It is really not made for this but is pretty slick. The iPhone keyboard coupled with the minimalistic features of the app make it more for just playing around with. To create a full post story on it would take some serious patience! After all, the iPhone is for for long typing! I’m a mac die hard and have little problem saying this. I’ll buy a blackberry if I want to get serious!

Posted on: September 8, 2008 at 1:38 amQuote this Comment
brokenpurplecrayon » Blog Archive » my pimped out blackberry, revised - Gravatar

brokenpurplecrayon » Blog Archive » my pimped out blackberry, revised said:

[…] so i can post to my website from my blackberry, i am employing the use of BBMetaBlog … a great explanation on how to set it up to work for WordPress is here. […]

Posted on: September 11, 2008 at 9:03 pmQuote this Comment
Suzette - Gravatar

Suzette said:

Interesting! I dont know much about these things but it seems like a nice version. So I can try it out sometimes. Thanks for the info and want to know more about this Blackbarry.

Posted on: October 27, 2008 at 8:24 amQuote this Comment
millionaireblogger - Gravatar

millionaireblogger said:

Christina

Thanks for this. Great application. Now I can post updates to my blogs while Im on the move 🙂

Fantastic!

Chris millionaireblog.co.uk

Posted on: October 30, 2008 at 5:10 pmQuote this Comment
Blackberry - Gravatar

Blackberry said:

The storm just wasn’t ready. The bold is going to hit home with the user base. I phone without a keyboard is usleess in my opinion. The iphone is a nice phone, until you want to type on it.

Posted on: December 10, 2008 at 4:36 pmQuote this Comment
Dennis Stevens - Gravatar

Dennis Stevens said:

Very happy with BBMetaBlog. Thanks for the reference. I need to blog to three different sites. Any ideas?

Posted on: December 11, 2008 at 4:20 pmQuote this Comment
brandon - Gravatar

brandon said:

hey so ur saying the bbMetablog app would allow me to blog from my bbCurve to my wordpress.org blog installed on my website? and for free?! im just confused bc the external link doesnt say much.

Posted on: January 20, 2009 at 11:19 amQuote this Comment
» Blog Archive » BB blog app! - Gravatar

» Blog Archive » BB blog app! said:

[…] reach but I’m proving a point. I can blog on the go now! Thanks to BB Meta Blog via Christina Warren. But a few down sides: haven’t found a way to add pics, app not originally made for wordpress […]

Posted on: January 20, 2009 at 1:56 pmQuote this Comment
brandon - Gravatar

brandon said:

i ove bb meta! i just got it working w/ out problems. but have u fig out way for pics? instead of having second app?

Posted on: January 20, 2009 at 1:58 pmQuote this Comment
Dan - Gravatar

Dan said:

Looking at upgrading to WordPress shortly. Will try this from my new Storm. Fingers crossed. Thanks!

Posted on: February 9, 2009 at 5:35 pmQuote this Comment
Dan Murphy - Gravatar

Dan Murphy said:

THANKS! Your instructions were great and worked without issue…

Posted on: February 21, 2009 at 8:58 amQuote this Comment
Wisu - Gravatar

Wisu said:

Have you tried MoPress? it looks promising… http://www.danais.it/web/demo/mopress.html

Posted on: April 22, 2009 at 5:03 amQuote this Comment
Dan Murphy - Gravatar

Dan Murphy said:

I just tried MoPress on my Blackberry Curve (8330) and I couldn’t get it to work. At first, I got something like a subscript out of range (sorry, I didn’t really make a proper note of it)…. Then every time I went in, it would lock my blackberry. So, I rebooted tried again, then finally rebooted and removed MoPress… I hope they come out with a new version that works for me. And, yes, I filled out their error reporting thing about it.

Posted on: April 22, 2009 at 10:10 amQuote this Comment
Jason Hook - Gravatar

Jason Hook said:

Hello. I haven’t done much with bbMetaBlog since 1.2.2 to be honest because I’m not sure what the demand is for fixes or enhancements. I’ve posted the source on my blog.

I could be persuaded to do some more work on it if I knew what people wanted from it.

If you care visit my blog and comment. Thanks for mentioning it 🙂

Jason

Posted on: April 22, 2009 at 3:02 pmQuote this Comment
Samuel Folkes - Gravatar

Samuel Folkes said:

For some reason I can’t get BBMetaBlog to work for me! I have the latest (i think) version but whenever I put in my info and select get categories or get recent posts i’m greeted with either a ‘Bad DNS Address’ or ‘Request Timed Out’ error. I’m using wordpress 2.7.1 and i’ve tried tweaking just about all the tweakable settings and still no luck. Sucks. I was really excited about having a blogging client on my BB. Guess i have to keep using the BB browser 🙁

Posted on: April 26, 2009 at 4:35 pmQuote this Comment
Johnluffa - Gravatar

Johnluffa said:

Thanks for your recommendation on BB Meta Blog – I was looking forward to it, but haven’t really got it started due to connection problems on my Bold. I really hope there is an official solution in the near future.

I have recently had a rant about this issue at http://www.johnluffa.com/general-stuff/wordpress-blackberry/

I will be giving MoPress a try

Posted on: May 6, 2009 at 10:56 amQuote this Comment
anonymous - Gravatar

anonymous said:

Have a look at MoPress site right now (http://danais.no-ip.org/demo/wp_mopress/blog/)…

Posted on: June 1, 2009 at 11:22 amQuote this Comment
mmdmurphy - Gravatar

mmdmurphy said:

Glad to hear about the MoPress (see Anonymous June 1, 2009 11:22am)… BUT, I am not so excited about installing software from a domain name of no-ip.org… Yes, there is no theoretical reason not to, but it doesn’t instill confidence in me, especially with all the security issues you hear about… http://www.twit.tv/sn .. I spent like $10 on GoDaddy, and then did a redirect….

Posted on: June 1, 2009 at 12:19 pmQuote this Comment
Ralph Jones - Gravatar

Ralph Jones said:

MoPress will not install on either of my BB devices. I’ve also looked at the site devoted to MoPress, and while they advertise they are the people who are developing the ‘Official’ BB WordPress client, I see that it is being developed for an old midp/cldc standard. I really hope this isn’t a sign of what to expect for a good BB WordPress client.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 at 12:56 amQuote this Comment
Izabel Idris - Gravatar

Izabel Idris said:

Hey guys,

I just saw your discussion about a WordPress app for BlackBerry. One doesn’t exist, and I found this very frustrating… so my company, ScreamingToaster, has built one called Wicked for WordPress. Here is the link to our website with details/features about the app: http://screamingtoaster.com/?page_id=429

It is in its last stage of beta testing and will be available for purchase in a couple weeks. If you want to Beta test the app, please email me, izabel@screamingtoaster.com, and i can sign up up for a beta account. Please bookmark screamingtoaster.com and check back for when it comes out. Or you can add me to your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to get all my updates. All my contact information can be found here: http://screamingtoaster.com/?page_id=400.

If you have any questions about the app please feel free to email me 24/7.

Thanks, Izzy

Posted on: July 5, 2009 at 12:25 amQuote this Comment
Jonathan Blundell - Gravatar

Jonathan Blundell said:

You’ll be interested in this… http://blackberry.wordpress.org/2009/07/07/wordpress-for-blackberry-beta

Posted on: July 7, 2009 at 1:31 pmQuote this Comment
Marcus Hamaker - Gravatar

Marcus Hamaker said:

Great post. I am hoping that due to the time passed since you wrote this, I can find something a little better. I too chose the Blackberry over the iPhone for many reasons. I will continue to search. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your article!

Posted on: July 9, 2009 at 9:29 amQuote this Comment
Kwanza Hall - Gravatar

Kwanza Hall said:

Ok. So what do you recommend now? Mopress, WP for Blackberry, Wicked or BB meta?

Posted on: July 23, 2009 at 7:10 pmQuote this Comment
MLO - Gravatar

MLO said:

Unfortunately Mopress still doesn’t work. I tried it while looking for a Blackberry Blogger client…which I cannot find anywhere.

Posted on: September 2, 2009 at 5:53 pmQuote this Comment
Blog posts to ITKE using your BlackBerry – The musings of an IT Consultant - Gravatar

Blog posts to ITKE using your BlackBerry – The musings of an IT Consultant said:

[…] found the way. With the help of ITKE’s Michael Morrisey he has pointed me in the direction of Christina Warren’s blog which gives detailed instructions on how to accomplish […]

Posted on: January 25, 2010 at 12:46 pmQuote this Comment
Chris - Gravatar

Chris said:

Hey great tip. Thanks works really well from my blackberry…

Posted on: July 22, 2010 at 3:54 pmQuote this Comment
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Posted on: September 17, 2010 at 12:41 amQuote this Comment
Blackberry travel charger - Gravatar

Blackberry travel charger said:

After I have tried out wordpress for blackberry, I can sum up everything into one word, and that is “Awesome”!

Posted on: September 22, 2010 at 12:04 pmQuote this Comment
Honney - Gravatar

Honney said:

Hi! I recently installed WordPress for BB. I was able to install it but I keep getting an xmlrpc error when adding my self-hosted blog. I’ve tried the solution I found online, but to no avail. It’s so frustrating.

I’m glad the app works for you.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 at 10:01 pmQuote this Comment
Brain - Gravatar

Brain said:

WordPress can be run from Blackberry, write a blog so it is very easy.

Posted on: October 27, 2011 at 11:54 pmQuote this Comment
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[…]Blogging from the BlackBerry-www.ChristinaWarren.com[…]…

Posted on: January 31, 2012 at 11:29 pmQuote this Comment
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Posted on: April 4, 2012 at 10:27 amQuote this Comment