My search for a decent (and free) desktop blog writer tool has ended. I was basically looking for a tool which would allow me to post from my desktop, was able to allow a reasonable amount of formatting, support image uploading and above all, was free. (I missed the Blogjet download from Giveawayoftheday ).
I was using Performancing for Firefox all this while, but wanted a change and also a tool which doesn’t run in the browser but is a standalone application. My biggest grudge was that I wasn’t able to keep Performancing open and also browse at the same time. I had to keep two Firefox windows open to do this. If there is some plugin which can help me run Performancing as a Pop-Out from FF, that would be great. So, I started trying out different desktop blog editors and it started with a look at what problogger recommended.
The tools I tried were:
- Performancing: I would recommend this for people who are starting to blog and want only a simple application for blog editing. The latest edition has the ability to upload pictures directly from the desktop.
- W.Bloggar, Blogjet, Qumana, Zoundry, Post2Blog: None of these worked for me. There were a couple of reasons for the same. I wasn’t able to get any of these tools working from behind the proxy. Though Blogjet asked me for the proxy details, it still wasn’t able to connect. Also, these failed to detect the end point of my blog which Performancing and Windows Live Writer were able to do without any hassles. I didn’t try Ecto. (Blogjet is a paid tool)
- Blogdesk: Well, this didn’t even run properly. It was cribbing about a DHtmlEd extension even though I use Windows XP.
- RocketPost: This program looks impressive but the free edition supports only one Blogger or Livespaces account. So, I wasn’t able to try this.
- Windows Live Writer: I tried this after reading about it on techcrunch. The first edition was buggy and it used to crash quite often, but the latest version is quite impressive. The most impressive thing about this product is that Microsoft has built this to work with most of the popular blogging platforms and not just with their live platform. This is a significant move from the side of Microsoft.
I am writing this post using the beta version of the desktop blog editing tool Windows Live Writer. (Maybe this is obvious, but just to reinforce, Mac/Linux versions are not available.) This tool offers most of the facilities that I wanted and it has a WYSIWYG editor. So, I can write/update any post directly from this and not bother about running my browser or the editors which are provided with wordpress.
The initial setup and configuration was as easy as it can be. It prompted me for the proxy address and authentication and configured the settings for my blog without any issue. I typically face some issues as some editors don’t allow posting to the wordpress (free) blogs. I used to get the “Unable to find the blog” (or something similar) error.
A few advantages of this tool:
- It tries to work with the stylesheets that are being currently used in your blog. And believe me, it actually produces good HTML code.
- It has a good image editor and also uploads images to the correct locations on the blog. This helps as you needn’t upload pictures separately. It also helps in positioning the image correctly, which was sorely lacking in some other editors.
- It also provides an Firefox Extension. This extension allows you to blog directly from the browser.
- Like MS Word and Excel, this also has the hyperlink autosuggest feature, based on what you have browsed or linked earlier.
- It has an autosave feature and the time can be configured.
- It also have an in built spell checker.
- The tool has the provision to automatically insert MSN Maps. I have never used MSN Maps, so I cannot comment on how useful this is.
- It lets you save drafts of posts directly to your blog, which can prove to be very handy.
- And like any other desktop blogging tool this also provides interfaces for adding tags and downloads the Categories from your blog.
Biggest grudge: It opens a new window everytime I open a Post or want to post something new. Hmmm.. Is there any option which can change this??
Everything else aside, this tool hasn’t crashed so far and hasn’t slowed down my system. I felt this is one of the big factors that has drawn me towards this desktop package.
The next step for Microsoft would be to integrate this functionality into MS Word and make blogging directly from MS Word a reality.
Technorati tags: Windows Live Writer
, Desktop Editor
Filed under: Blogs, Tech, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments »