The WordPress Mobile Team announced today that they will be pulling all Jetpack and WordPress.com functionality from the official WordPress mobile apps. They will be transferred to the Jetpack app through a phased process that should be completed by the end of this year.
“Over the years, the WordPress application has evolved to meet a wide range of site administration needs and use cases,” said Paul Von Schrottky, mobile engineer at Automattic. “Features like Stats, Reader, and Notifications were introduced in hopes of meeting some of these needs. However, these features require the Jetpack plugin or a WordPress.com account to work and can make the app overwhelming for users. people who want a simpler experience.
“For the sake of clarity and a closer to the heart experience, the mobile team will work to refocus the app on the core functionality you’ll find with a fresh WordPress download.”
The following features will be removed and moved to the Jetpack app:
- Activity Log
- Sharing (Jetpack Social)
- Jetpack Blocks (Gutenberg Editor)
- @-Mentions and Crossposting (Gutenberg Editor)
- More features as the team continues this effort
Automattic’s products in official WordPress apps have been a source of controversy for nearly a decade. Two years ago, when Automattic tangled with Apple over a lack of in-app purchases in the WordPress app for iOS, the community renewed its call for the company to separate its business interests from official apps. . Because Automattic heavily subsidized the development of the apps, it was able to definitely add WordPress.com and Jetpack-specific features, but these pose a conflict of interest and are unnecessary for many self-hosted site owners. .
In 2014, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said the goal of mobile apps was to attract more mobile app users, which included developing things that Automattic found most compelling on mobile. – notifications, statistics and player. The company has now changed its stance on this, citing “less user confusion” as the main motivating factor for the upcoming change.
“In trying to cater to such a diverse range of users and needs, there are streams within the app that provide many options for users,” Von Schrottky said. “An example of this is the current login flow. User feedback (via app reviews) and support channels indicate confusion over what username and password users should use when authenticating.
Historically, mobile apps have received almost no input from people outside of Automattic. Improving the contributor experience is one of the goals of decoupling Automattic’s business interests from official apps.
“While everything is open source, new contributors should understand the blurred line between community-owned features and third-party hosted services if they simply want to contribute to one or the other,” Von said. Schrottky. “Also, it can be difficult to understand what features and functionality are available based on user authentication.”
User confusion and contributor complexity have been evident for years. Providing a simpler user experience has now become a concrete priority. It seems to be because Automattic plans to add more paid features. At this point, the most logical decision is to extend the commercial functionality of the Jetpack app, instead of bombarding self-hosted users with upgrade prompts.
“The mobile team has been trying for years to deliver a solid, modern experience on mobile, with the goal of helping all users get started on their WordPress journey,” said Von Schrottky. “We learned from the diversity and changing needs of the app’s user base. In addition to the confusion caused by the current arrangement, the team found that user expectations are confused by a lack of paid features, such as domain purchases. To better meet the needs of self-hosted users and Jetpack/WordPress.com users in the future, the team is now convinced that adding these specific features in a separate application is the way to go.
Automattic plans to continue to maintain official mobile apps, advance block editor development, and will be listed as an editor in app store listings. With the Jetpack features removed, users will still be able to do everything included in the core publishing experience, as well as manage settings.
“With this change, we expect the WordPress app to be a more focused companion to the WordPress.org open source project, leaving the Jetpack app to complement the WordPress.com experience,” Von Schrottky said. “It’s easier for users of the WordPress open source project and simplifies the relationship between the WordPress application and owners of platforms like Apple and Google.”
Von Schrottky said Automattic isn’t considering renaming the Jetpack app at this time. WordPress.com users will be able to access the Reader and other features specific to the .com platform there. The transition will be done in phases and the mobile team will soon begin introducing messages into the app to inform users of the features that will be moved.
“The team is still working on the details of the plan as explained in the post, but this will be followed by other relevant communications to make this change as smooth as possible for users,” Von Schrottky said.