Today online publishing platform WordPress, which powers approximately 25% of websites on the Internet (this site included), is getting a major redesign with a completely rebuilt and the introduction of a new Mac app. We’ve been getting a taste of the improvements incrementally over the last year, but today is the company’s official launch.

I’ve been using the app for a few days leading up to the launch and, for what it is, I quite enjoyed the experience, which essentially mirrors what you get from the new My enthusiasm, however, is keeping in mind that the app essentially feels like the web app in a wrapper, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing once you see how the web app experience has improved with the revamp.

animation-128-noditherBoth the new and Mac app can be used for publishing to sites hosted by WordPress, self-hosted blogs using the open-source WordPress platform, and WordPress VIP customers (like us).

The company gave us some background on the rebuilt and Mac app experience, which is also going open-source today with the launch, noting that the redesign “shifts from being primarily PHP-driven to primarily JavaScript- and API-driven”:

These products were all powered by a project internally codenamed Calypso, and Automattic is now releasing the code open source on GitHub under the GPL v2 license. More than 140 people worked for the past 18 months on Calypso, which shifts from being primarily PHP-driven to primarily JavaScript- and API-driven.

WordPress has more on specifics of the behind-the-scenes changes for developers and open-source contributors on its website here.

And here’s a closer look at the Mac app in action:

You get a similar publishing experience to what you’d get on the web through, which is overall a vastly improved experience if you’re coming from using the latest release of WordPress on your self-hosted blog. The interface itself is a cleaner version of what WordPress has been slowly rolling out on the web in recent months, with access to all of WordPress’s main publishing and sharing features, a Reader mode for distraction free viewing, site stats, notifications, and settings. WordPress notes that users can use the Jetpack plugin to sync their site with the Mac app.

And while I was hoping to see more of a full-fledged Mac app than a mirror of the web app, it’s definitely the fastest and most streamlined WordPress experience so far. You’ll still get the benefit of using the app without a browser (although some features pull you out to a browser, for example, to view your website homepage or admin panel), and that means OS X features like full-screen app mode, system notification badges on the app’s icon in your dock, and navigating the app with OS X key commands, but that’s about it.

But you might not find everything you’re used to exactly like it is on the latest release of WordPress you have installed. Some features aren’t accessible yet like configuring and managing plug-ins. You can download the WordPress for Mac app now (direct link).