I wanted to try iA Writer not least because it is described as "the common benchmark for Markdown writing apps" but also as it can be connected directly to WordPress.

I had looked at iA Writer a couple of times on iOS in the past but it never really clicked - and I then had the likes of Drafts and Ulysses to play with - but thought I'd give it a spin on Android so paid for a year's subscription.

My blog is connected to my WordPress.com account via JetPack so I tried authorising the app but got:

net::ERR_CLEARTEXT_NOT_PERMITTED

Since Android 9 the use of cleartext traffic has been blocked so apps should connect to servers and sites securely using HTTPS.

After contacting iA support it appears there is a bug in the current version of iA Writer as it still tries to connect via HTTP for self-hosted sites.

Their support email said:

We've determined that WordPress's login page currently causes issues with devices running Android 9 or higher and we are coding a workaround for this.

I'm not sure if this is WordPress or the app. The error page specifically states it is trying to connect to HTTP even though the blog is HTTPS and connected to WordPress.com as HTTPS. Not to mention that Simplenote is able to connect okay using the same method.

Anyway, whatever the cause, it will be nice to get it fixed and give iA Writer a proper test, I just hope they can roll out an update soon.

I can't quite decide if it's strange this issue hasn't come up before or wonder if it not having done so is indicative of the situation with Android. iA switched to a subscription/purchase model earlier this year and the Play Store listing is littered with bad reviews bemoaning the cost. One of iA's responses states that they had been offering Writer free for 5 years but needed to monetise the product to support further development.

Android users are typically more reluctant to pay for apps or, at least, pay a lot for them. Still, this shift appears to have been only a couple of months ago so was there really nobody connecting Writer to a self-hosted blog using the previous version?

Perhaps the issue never came to light due to the notoriously slow OS updates to many Android devices and users were stuck on version 8 (or even earlier!) so never encountered the problem.

In any event, Android 9 was released almost exactly 2 years ago (that particular anniversary is tomorrow) and was in beta for months prior to that so this seems like an oversight in testing. To be charitable, maybe a bug has been introduced in the WordPress authorisation architecture but I again point to Simplenote's ability to connect and post.

Personally, I have no problem paying for a good app and agree it would be unfair to take advantage of more willing iOS and Mac users such that they were subsidising those on Android who expect the same experience for free.

There is a catch-22 situation causing the Android versions of some apps to become second class citizens compared to their iOS counterparts. Users' reluctance to pay, or pay more than the bare minimum, means developers have to make serious decisions about how much time and energy they spend on the Android version of their app. This, in turn, leads to even less purchases due to feature disparity.

That is if an Android version exists at all.

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