# Monday, 30 March 2009

So I've been migrating my life over to the Mac that I bought late last year and briefly mentioned in my summary post of 2008. Mostly I'm there but one aspect keeps tripping me up: Which blogging tool to use for posting to the couple of blogs I maintain?

On Windows I'm very happy with Windows Live Writer and I figured that with all the creative writing people of the Mac it wouldn't be an issue at all to find a nice comparable tool on the other side.

Boy was I ever wrong in assuming that. For some reason there isn't really a very good tool which has feature parity with Live Writer on the Mac. The most prevalent tool out there is MarsEdit, which to me doesn't fit the bill. It does everything right in the technical department but lacks in one key area: The editor.

Over the years I've grown accustomed to having a couple of features which really help out in the process of writing a new post:

  • The tool must be desktop based. Web interfaces are handy but too cumbersome to work with
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Auto creation of image thumbnails with links to the original
  • Image formatting tools like alignment and custom margins
  • Support for BlogEngine.NET and DasBlog (categories, upload images via MetaWeblog API)
  • Ideally rich image formatting features like drop shadow

MarsEdit 2
I don't know about you but I expect to be able to edit my posts in the WYSIWYG interface, which might occasionally require me to drop into HTML view to do some of the more tricky stuff (read: I've done this maybe four time in the five years I've kept a blog). MarsEdit, however, is built on the notion that the writer should have complete control of the HTML and thus provides nothing but raw HTML editing, even billing it as a feature, not a bug. I'm sorry but in 2009 I expect so much more from a tool like that. A tool which even requires me to spend $29,95.

I read a review which describes MarsEdit as being very windowy. I think you'll agree when you take a look at the screenshot below. Basically you've got a window for displaying previous posts, a windows for the raw HTML editor, and a preview window to display what your HTML looks like. Nastylicous!

Qumana
Qumana was my second attempt at reaching a blogging solution on par with what I have on Windows. It was even free so I was off to a great start. Qumana looks like Live Writer enough that I thought I was home free and stopped looking any further. Qumana is a pretty good tool which gets the job done. However, it lacks polish which turned me away from it in the end. No support for picture thumbnails was a huge point for me.

As far as windoyness it's far better than MarsEdit and it does provide a WYSIWYG editor, which was sorely lacking from MarsEdit 2. To sum up Qumana comes close but lacks thumbnail support.

Blogo
Now Blogo is a relatively new tool on the Mac as I understand it. I came across Blogo while listening to Leo Laporte's excellent Macbreak Weekly podcast in which he's got a segment where the panel picks their favorite tool. Blogo was in there and I decided to check it out.

My first encounter with Blogo was a nice one to a certain point when it failed one of my requirements miserably. Read on to find out how.

Hopes were not exactly high when I started using the tool the first time around but that quickly changed as I set out to create my first blog post. Sure image preview was sort of a strange feature in the sense that you get a little standard placeholder which shows you that an image is there. As for actual image preview you're out of luck.

Unfortunately Blogo doesn't support BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5 fully. It seems like it's almost there but posting doesn't happen when categories are in the mix. Editing a post after it's posted to BlogEngine.NET also presents some problems. Blogo "sees" the post but when it's pulled down no content is present inside it. Too bad it's really the only piece of puzzle missing for me to start using Blogo on the Mac instead of Live Writer inside my Fusion virtualized Windows 7 install.

A particularly nice feature of Blogo is its fullscreen editing, which basically allows Blogo to take over the entire screen to focus your attention on the blog post and nothing else. Love it!

All in all I'm not quite there yet. I'm hoping for support for BlogEngine.NET in a future release of Blogo, although I'm not holding my breath in that one. I already contacted the good folks at Drink Brain Juice (yeah I know :)) but nothing has happened as of yet. Crossing fingers and toes as it would see and end to that particular dilemma of my migration.


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