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Blocknotes App Runs WordPress Natively on iOS, Now in Public Beta

Blocknotes is a new experimental app that runs WordPress natively on the iPhone. It was created by WordPress core committer Ella van Durpe and is powered by WordPress Playground, a project that runs the software in the browser without a PHP server.

“WordPress’ ecosystem can now run anywhere – desktop, mobile, web, even fenced ecosystems,” WordPress Playground creator Adam Zieliński said, sharing a screenshot on Twitter.

“Blocknotes allow you to create notes with Gutenberg, save them as HTML files to iCloud, and synchronize them across your devices. This paves the way for future WordPress-based mobile apps and that’s just a start.”

Zieliński eplained that this particular experimental app is technically a WebView that runs a HTML page where the WebAssembly version of PHP runs – the same one as on

“Browsers and other JavaScript runtimes all adopted a common standard that is WebAssembly,” he said. “Turns out you can build many ‘regular’ programs, including PHP, to that standard and then you can run them in the browser.”

The significance of this app running natively on iOS is that it demonstrates the possibilities of running WordPress in many new contexts without the requirement of a server. Zieliński believes this implementation can even be turned into an app template to build a WordPress app with the click of a button.

“Playground, as a WebAssembly software, brings WordPress to Node.js, mobile devices, desktop apps, ecosystems like VS Code that support JavaScript extensions,” Zieliński said. “The mobile app, desktop app, and a hosted web app could all use the same code and also provide a Playground-based demo version.”

Zieliński said he expects to see people building mobile apps in the future “with nothing more than a WordPress plugin.” This would drastically reduce the learning curve for creating and customizing mobile apps.

“Or even better, with no code at all – they’d just use the admin interface to configure a WordPress site to look and act like an app,” he said.

“Changing the app look and feel could be the same as switching a theme in WordPress.”

Zieliński has a virtually inexhaustible spring of ideas for how the WordPress Playground can benefit the ecosystem and his passion for the project is evident in a recent interview on The Code and Coffee Show.

The Blocknotes app offers a solid example of WordPress Playground working in the real world. It’s a use case that seems to have resonated strongly with developers as a new way to run WordPress across platforms.

The app is not yet available in the app store but it can be tested via the TestFlight app. van Durpe said it can can also be installed on macOS.

WordPress Playground is being developed to become “the official WordPress previewer,” according to the roadmap – the officially supported tool for testing WordPress plugins, new features, beta/RC releases, without expensive infrastructure. Demos and testing sites can be launched instantly by clicking a link. The project also promises to provide an interactive learning experience for WordPress documentation to help new developers.

Opening new doors for WordPress is also on the project’s roadmap, for the creation of tools that run across multiple devices. WordPress Playground removes limitations developers have lived with for years.

“Let’s enable a new generation of WordPress tools running on desktops, mobile devices, in CLI, and inside web browsers,” Zieliński said. “Imagine WordPress as a cross-device note-taking app, or WooCommerce as a ticket-scanning app running on a phone, or a code editor running on a tablet where you can build WordPress extensions.

“WordPress won over 40% of the web as an app that can only run on a server. What will happen now that WordPress can run on almost any device?”