This week it's back to the iPad with a social networking app designed exclusively for the tablet: Tumbleroo is one of the first full-featured third party solutions to native Tumblr blogging.
Tumblr is an increasingly popular blogging platform that makes managing a website a walk in the park. It's especially popular amongst iPhone and iPod touch owners, who use the (previously reviewed) official Tumblr app to view their Dashboards (a stream of posts from followed blogs), publish articles and upload photos and video – so it's something of an oddity that there's still no app from the Tumblr developers for iPad. Blogging on the iPad is a natural fit, so a number of third party developers have stepped in to fill the void. Tumbleroo is one of the higher profile apps that acts as a middle man between your iPad and your blog, and the subject of this review.
Tumbleroo works just like you'd expect it to, almost as if Tumblr built it themselves. Start off by logging in to your account, and soon after the app takes you straight to your Tumblr Dashboard. Each post in your feed appears on the right hand side of the screen next to a list of articles that can be selected individually or via the up/down buttons on the top right of the screen, similar to the average RSS feed reader. No surprises here. Embedded YouTube video displays as usual, and Vimeo uploads (Tumblr has partnered with the video sharing service to become the default video provider for blog uploads) play with the HTML5 video tag. I haven't tested it personally, but most audio files embedded into Tumblr posts should play too.
The emphasis is very much on the Dashboard in Tumbleroo, which will please most of the app's users. Meanwhile, creating a new post is a less-than-seamless experience. I attempted to publish a link with a short description several times using the app, only for it to delete that text each time I tried to publish it. Having said that, the bug only seems to affect the 'link' text type (one of the several presets for a new post on Tumblr) and I encountered no such problems when publishing text posts, quotes, photos and so on. Certain limitations of the iPad make little things like overlaying a link to text impossible, but those are small concerns that Tumbleroo's developer can't deal with anyway.
Navigation is logical, and aside from the heart icon which not only appears on the home screen but throughout Tumbleroo as well, everything feels very much like the Tumblr blogging experience. The app supports multiple blogs (no support, however, for private blogs so look elsewhere if privacy on Tumblr is an issue). It saves drafts, shows liked/queued posts and provides a solid framework for reading and publishing with Tumblr on the iPad. Standard sharing options such as the Tumblr 'reblog', email and the option to show the full page of a particular item in Safari are all included, housed in a lightweight and speedy social networking client.
Overall, creating short posts for your blog on an iPad is a pleasurable experience and Tumbleroo helps to make it that way. Aside from a few minor bug fixes, little can be done to make it an ever more complete Tumblr app. When multitasking drops (possibly as early as this week) in the public iOS 4.2 release, it will become even more useful as switching between interesting website pages in Safari, Twitter or emails from friends becomes a quick and painless activity. Having used it with my blog in the past couple of weeks, I'm more than satisfied that it carries out everything it needs to with simplicity and efficiency. In the meantime, and in the absence of any official Tumblr app, Tumbleroo is your best option for iPad blogging. Even Tumblr's own David Karp likes it!
Version reviewed: 1.0.3
Developer: Hanso Group, LLC.
Designed for: iPad
Compatibility: iPad running iOS 3.2 or later
Category: Social Networking