Saturday, January 22, 2011

Testing desktop blogging software

I don't know if I've mentioned this in the past, but WordPress is much more difficult than it should be, and than its reputation gives it credit for. For example, there's a bug in my Archives page. Click on a month, and you get nowhere. Also, on individual post pages, there used to be a "next post" and "previous post" pair of links, but for some reason they didn't work. I tried sifting through the volumes of WordPress help files and couldn't figure it out. So I got rid of those links, and the Archives page remains semi-functional. (The categories still work.) It shouldn't be this hard to make a frickin' archives page. Really.

Also, for some reason my WordPress dashboard is really slow. It takes forever to move around in there, so I'm not real antsy to hang around fixing bugs like that.

Finally, in anticipation of my trip to Galapagos and Peru (startting mid-April), I want to be able to keep a journal without a constant internet connection. I'll probably have wireless at some point during the trip, but it will be tenuous at best. So ideally, I'd have a desktop app where I can write journal entries, maybe add a few pictures, and store them as drafts until I find the internet. Then I should be able to schedule them for automatic posting at respectable intervals.

I found four apps that might fit the bill. Two of them, MacJournal and MarsEdit, are $40, significantly more expensive than $25 Blogo and $20 Ecto. So I'm trying those first, as demos.

I wrote yesterday's book review using Blogo. First of all, it's simple to set up and use. When I was done writing, I just hit "Post" and my new post opened in a new browser tab. Ka-pow! Adding keywords (tags) and categories is easy, since it pulls the list of existing tags and categories to autocomplete and choose from. It took a minute to figure out how to change the posting date. However, it doesn't really have an offline mode. I can write a post without an internet connection, but I can't save it (because it saves to the WordPress server). I could probably export it or something, but that seems like too much work.

So now I'm using Ecto. It's also dead simple to set up, but it has more buttons on its interface and I'm not sure what everything does. There's a sidebar on the left that gives me check boxes for categories and tags, which is nice. I can change the posting time easily. It also looks like it saves entries locally, and then there's a post manager, so when I get to the internet I can publish several entries at once, with different post dates. That should do the trick.

Ecto doesn't have the prettiest interface, but I think it will do the job. I have a 21 day demo, so I'll use it for a while and then decide. I wonder if the license works for more than one machine...

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