Refocusing the WordPress App on Core Features

Over the years, the WordPress app has evolved to meet a diverse range of site administration needs and use cases. Features like Stats, Reader, and Notifications were introduced with the hope of meeting some of these needs. However, these features require the Jetpack pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party or a An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. account to function and can make the app overwhelming for folks who want a simpler experience.

For the sake of clarity and closer-to-coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. experience, the mobile team will be working to refocus the app on staple features you’d find with a fresh download of WordPress.

Why Make These Changes?

Less User Confusion

By attempting to cater to such a diverse range of users and needs, there are flows in the app that present many options to users. An example of this is the current login flow. User feedback (via the app reviews) and support channels indicate confusion around which username and password people should use when authenticating: Does one sign in with their wp-admin credentials or with their credentials? Using the wrong credentials can lead to vastly different experiences within the app, or frustrating experiences when creating a new account or resetting a password. Eventually, asking for only the wp-admin credentials will create a simpler login experience and align more closely with WordPress’ “decisions, not options” philosophy.

A Better Contributor Experience

The existence of non-core features creates hurdles for The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. community members who wish to contribute to the project. Although everything is open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL., new contributors need to understand the blurred line between community-owned features and 3rd-party hosted services if all they want is to contribute to one or the other. Also, it can be challenging to understand what functionality and which features are available based on the user’s authentication.

An Improved Approval Process

In the past, Apple has rejected the WordPress app over confusion about its purpose and capabilities, leaving us unable to ship bug fixes and other improvements to the app. We expect this change to prevent these issues from recurring.

That, along with the feedback we got from the community about how not everyone seemed to have the chance to promote their services like Jetpack/ did, highlighted the need to consider removing the relevant features.

What We Are Changing

Moving Jetpack Features

To address the above challenges, we’re planning to gradually move all features which depend on Jetpack from the WordPress mobile apps to the Jetpack app, including the following:

  • Stats
  • Activity Log
  • Backup
  • Sharing (Jetpack Social)
  • Reader
  • Notifications
  • Jetpack blocks (GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. Editor)
  • @-Mentions and Crossposting (Gutenberg Editor)
  • More features might come up as we go about this effort.

The first step is to make the process less surprising by labeling these features as “Jetpack powered” within the app. That step is already underway. Next, we will introduce messaging that explains to users that those specific features are moving. Finally, later this year, we’ll remove these features from the WordPress app.

We believe these features are incredibly valuable to app users, and they will continue to be available and improved within the Jetpack app. This will allow users to publish and maintain their site as they have previously, as well as making use of additional Jetpack features.

Moving Core Features Enabled by the REST APIREST API The REST API is an acronym for the RESTful Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. It is how the front end of an application (think “phone app” or “website”) can communicate with the data store (think “database” or “file system”)

There is quite a bit of history behind why the REST API was used for enabling some core features on and Jetpack-connected sites within the app. Notable features included are People, Themes, and Menus. These features, and any others that may rely on the APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways., will also be moved as part of the efforts to refocus the app on core-provided APIs.

Login is a trickier challenge and something the team’s still figuring out. The REST API is currently required for authenticating users. As these users still represent a large portion of the app’s user base, there needs to be a path for them to log into their sites, at least during the transition phase. It’s, therefore, likely the REST API will remain in use for login for some time.

It’s worth highlighting that features like People, Themes, and Menus have never been available within the app for self-hosted sites without a Jetpack connection. Although there aren’t plans in place, there could be an opportunity to leverage the core REST API and bring more features to the app in the future.

The Future of the WordPress App

The hope is that this change will simplify much of the UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it. and design of the WordPress apps for users who don’t want or need Jetpack services and tools. The WordPress apps will continue to be maintained and updated, ensuring that users can publish content from anywhere just as they can today. The mobile team is looking forward to input from the broader community. Please leave any thoughts and questions you have in the comments below.

Questions & Answers

Q: When will features be removed from the WordPress mobile apps?
A: Following the phased approach, all features which depend on Jetpack will be removed later this year. We’re still outlining when and how these features will be removed. If you have suggestions or considerations that should be taken into account in this process, please feel free to share your feedback in the comments below.

Q: What does this mean for the future of the WordPress mobile apps?
A: The WordPress mobile apps will continue to be maintained and updated. Users will still be able to publish posts, pages, and media, along with managing their site’s settings. Fixing important bugs and making sure the block editor development continues are among the current priorities for the WP app. As before, contributors are welcome to join the mobile team and shape the app’s future.

Q: Will I need to use both the WordPress and Jetpack apps to work with my site?
A: The Jetpack app will do everything the WordPress app does, but with the addition of the Jetpack powered features listed in the post above. If features like Stats and Reader are important to you, then the Jetpack app will offer the best experience for you. Otherwise, the WordPress app will continue to offer all the publishing features you use today.

Q: Who will be listed as the publisher of the WordPress apps in the store listings?
A: Automattic will continue to be listed as the publisher of the WordPress apps in both the Google Play and Apple App stores. As a company that manages several other apps, Automattic has good processes in place for efficiently handling regular releases. Although there aren’t current plans to change the app’s listing, this could be revisited in the future and other suggestions are welcome.