Feature
Post

Category
Publishing


Blogging Software for Mac Users

If you like me are sometimes updating multiple blogs, then you know how annoying it is to jump between admins. I’m a WordPress user myself, but I could find myself using other platforms, which would further add clutter to my workflow. I don’t like clutter one bit.

Enter blogging software, programs that let you post to several blogs (or just one, should you want to do that) using one interface. This post focuses on blogging software for Mac.

The good and the bad

There are both pros and cons with using blogging software for your everyday blog posting. Some might seem a bit over the top, but assuming you take pride in your blog, and perhaps make money maintaining it, I think these issues are important.

Pros:

  • Easy to manage several blogs.
  • Offline writing, often including drafts.

Cons:

  • Uncertainty. Did it really work?
  • General program design means that it might not be optimized for your blogging platform of choice.
  • Blog platform updates might break your blogging program’s functionality.
  • If you’re doing custom stuff, like fields or cool plugins, you’re stuck with your blog platform’s admin.

That being said, here goes!

MarsEdit

MarsEdit

MarsEdit’s been around for a while. It costs $29.95 and there’s a 30-day trial available. This isn’t the program for people using the WYSIWYG editor in their blogging platform of choice, since there’s nothing of that here. What you have is a simple dropdown that lets you input standard tags (strong, link tags, blockquote, and so on), much like the traditional editor in WordPress. This might not be enough for everyone, but personally I find it doing its job, then again I always turn of the visual editor since I speak html fluently.

A good thing is that you can setup your own templates for previewing posts, and you can also store macros so that you don’t have to type the same thing over and over again, a good feature. There’s also support for AppleScript, but I don’t know much about that.

Uploading images is easy, and should you be the type who likes to nab photos from Flickr, then you can have your account integrated into the MarsEdit Media manager.

As for compatibility, MarsEdit works with most blogging platforms, be it WordPress, Movable Type, Blogger, Vox, or even Drupal. Tagging is supported.

MarsEdit

I did find one annoying bug, or whatever you want to call it, though. When writing posts that you want to split up using the more feature (we’re talking WordPress again), then you type in two different boxes (Body and Extended). Everything in the Extended box is after the more link. However, the more link will be inserted on its own row, and not directly after the last character in the Body box, which makes it look a bit weird on sites where the read more link is designed to just follow the content.

Overall MarsEdit is a great choice, as long as you know your html. I do, so I love it!

Ecto

Ecto

Ecto is the most stylish blogging program that I’m writing about in this post. It costs $17,95, and there’s a 21-day trial available so that you can play around for yourself. At the moment, only Ecto 3 beta supports Leopard, but on the other hand the beta is stable so you can play around with it.

Unfortunately, Ecto’s got a reputation of having problems with WordPress, although it’s mostly something for the version 2 branch. There are some weirdness in Ecto 3 as well, most importantly the fact that you can’t add new categories in the program. Tagging works though. This might be something that will work once Ecto 3 leaves beta, but right now it’s buggy.

One selling point for Ecto is that it looks good, and it’s got a visual editor, as opposed to MarsEdit’s html code one. You can swap between visual and code in an instant, and Ecto doesn’t seem to output too much unnecessary code, if any in the simpler cases. Certainly a good thing.

Ecto

Ecto works with more or less any blogging platform, just like MarsEdit. There’s support for AppleScript, and there’s also a few plugins available, including a Flickr one, and support for posting tweets to Twitter. That’s really cool.

However, although Ecto looks a bit better than MarsEdit, I think it falls short. Keep in mind that I’m not interested in the visual editor, though, so you might prefer this one after all. Beta is never a good thing, but I believe Ecto will deliver in the end.

Blogo

BlogoBlogo is a newcomer, costing $25 and offering a 21-day trial. It’s got a very straight forward design, not exactly leaning on the OS X look, if you know what I mean. Either you like it, or you don’t. I’m fine with it. The full screen mode, more or less doing the same thing as the popular WriteRoom application, is genius!

However, Blogo fails on a very crucial aspect, and that’s categorization of your posts. You’ve got no category nor tag management, and while you can add tags in the “categories” box below the body, you’ll find that, with wordpress.com blogs, these will be saved as tags. This is not acceptable, and I do hope that it will be remedied and then remade for a future version.

There are good things in Blogo for sure, especially the image manager which let you crop and position images with ease. Drag and drop is very nice when it’s working. The fact that Blogo isn’t giving you tons of options when writing isn’t always a good thing, but it sure makes you focus on the important thing, being the content. However, a handy code editor would’ve been nice.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Blogo, and if you like the straight forward style you should too.

Blogo

Final words

My trial periods have expired, and I’m hooked. The most expensive blog software, MarsEdit, is also the one I’ve decided to go with in the long run. I realize it’s not for everyone, and there are flaws (which I’ll point out to the developers of course), but it certainly saves me time. I’m fluent in html and css though, so this might not be the obvious solution for everybody.

Make good use of the trial periods offered, and do share what your blogging software you’re using for the Mac.


  1. By Alma posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:21 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    After several trials i’ve decided to go with ecto.
    You still have another chance, free of charge, Qumana. It works fairly well and is free for now. Also Qumana is multi-platform so you’ll be able to use the same blogging tool in both Windows and Linux (Ecto is multi-platform too but you still need to purchase a licence for each version)

  2. By Alma posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:24 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Sorry, i made a little mistake, i meant you can use Qumana on Windows and Mac

  3. By Copes Flavio posted on March 12, 2008 at 12:29 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    It seems no one of those applications support the WordPress tagging system.. that’s the reason I don’t use them. I’d like to be contraddicted..

  4. By Copes Flavio posted on March 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Ok, just after clicking “Submit Comment” I realized that the 2.1 version of MarsEdit supports tags. So, ignore the above comment :-O

  5. By Chris Gwynne posted on March 12, 2008 at 1:35 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    So we’re in agreement that MarsEdit is the best then??

  6. By Web 2.0 Tutorials posted on March 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Hi Copes, I do not have my mac handy right now. I am unfortunately surfing and typing this on my PC (my hands feel dirty now).

    BUT! I do believe that Ecto works with WP tags.. I might have been using the beta, not really sure right now, but give it a shot, I purchased a license a long time ago, although I don’t use it often enough. I am a lazy blogger :(

  7. By Daniel Jalkut posted on March 12, 2008 at 6:32 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    This is a great overview, and I’m of course flattered that you ended up going with MarsEdit. Glad it is working out well for you!

    The nitpick about the Body/Extended content is something I’ve had reported to me before, and I decided to investigate it a little more thoroughly. It turns out the situation is sort of clouded by some funny behavior in WordPress. I reported a bug to the WordPress team:

    http://trac.wordpress.org/ticket/6016

    Basically, they make some assumptions about the body/extended being separated by a newline. So there isn’t much I can do about it until they modify the system to accept the content more literally (MarsEdit just sends it literally in two separate chunks – you can confirm it by peeking in MarsEdit’s network log).

    Daniel

  8. By TDH posted on March 13, 2008 at 6:46 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Thanks for the comments guys, and thanks for clearing that up, Daniel! Hopefully the WordPress folks will get the bug squashed so that I won’t have to login and fix stuff all the time. :)

  9. By Rick Powell posted on March 26, 2008 at 12:20 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I see no reason to pay money for blogging software when both Flock and Firefox, via the ScribeFire plugin, have built-in editors. As a blogger who is constantly quoting, grabbing images and linking to pages on the Web, separating the browser from the blogging software makes no sense to me. I select text, or an image, or a page, right-click, choose Blog This and Flock creates a new blog post with whatever is selected and automatically grabs the URL. With Scribefire, you simply drag and drop images and text.

    If _all_ you do is write and you never “quote the Web” or you need templates, these commercial apps are great. If you understand and can write basic HTML and most of your images are on flickr or elsewhere on the Web, there’s no reason to pay. I use both browsers’ editors daily. Both support categories, and ScribeFire now supports WordPress tags and Technorati tags, as well as post-dating.

  10. By Web Design posted on April 5, 2008 at 6:33 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I agree that people don’t need to pay for blogging software, some of the best open source material such as WordPress and Blogger is for anyone to use and is free.

  11. By Robin Ashton posted on July 31, 2008 at 1:11 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Great post, I’d been considering buying MarsEdit but wanted to try out some others apps beforehand. Ecto is nice, but I don’t feel comfortable paying for a beta really and learning a little more HTML is fine, so MarsEdit it is.

    @Rick Powell

    I always felt the appeal of an offline editor was being able to draft entries properly, write stubs and expand on them etc. I don’t know if Flock or the ScribeFire plugin do this but I have always found the online post and draft management a little clumsy in comparison to offline alternatives.

  12. By Doug posted on March 16, 2009 at 9:12 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    MarsEdit doesn’t enable you to schedule your psots so anything you send to the blog is up immediately.

    The Scribefire Firefox plugin (free) does allow this as well as having visual editor, code, preview, tagging, categories, image uploading, Youtube and Flickr integration and much much more.

    I see no reason to buy any of these when you’ve got all that in a free plugin.

  13. By Daniel Jalkut posted on March 17, 2009 at 4:33 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Doug It’s not obvious, but if you just set the date to the future in MarsEdit, before sending the post to the blog, many popular blog systems these days will interpret this as scheduling the post.

  14. By Harold posted on March 30, 2009 at 5:43 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Wow, you guys didn’t even mention MacJournal! I’m testing it out again — I’ve never paid for blogging software, but I’m really tired of waiting for Blogger to load on my 9-year old PowerBook (“Pismo”). So I’ve downloaded MJ again and am happy to report that it’s working great. It’s fast, it keeps a backup of your posts locally, it supports tagging (though I haven’t tested that out myself), and it has a lot of metadata so that you can organize your information. I’m thinking of buying this software.

  15. By Lisa posted on September 10, 2009 at 3:09 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    There’s a new piece of software from Automagic software called BlogThing that does this too. Nice simple download and easy to use :)

    http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/29098

  16. TrackbackPicking A Desktop Blogging Application For Mac | tdhedengren.comAre You Utilizing Desktop Blogging Tools?Good News For MarsEdit Users! | tdhedengren.comlinks for 2008-03-17 - Кевин.com.uaLinks Roundup - March 25th 2008MarsEdit 2.1.3 Released : The Blog HeraldSpinning the Blogo beta | tdhedengren.comNew Version of Desktop Blogging Software Blogo to Support Twitter : The Blog HeraldBlogo 1.1 Released, Adds Twitter and Drupal Support : The Blog HeraldBlogo 1.1 Released, Adds Twitter and Drupal Support | Writing & Blogging InfoSpinning the Blogo Beta | tdhedengrenDaniel Jalkut Bashes WordPress 2.6 XMLRPC Decision : The Blog HeraldBlogging clients for Mac OSX « I Know The Guy Who Owns This PlaceBloggare och Mac-användare? | Thord Daniel HedengrenI am playing with a blogging software for mac os x - MarsEdit | En.dogeno.usتجربتي مع التدوين في بيئة ماك Ecto | خرابيشي