Bleezer blogging client

Trying the free blog editing client app Bleezer – it’s a cross-platform java app. A little rough around the edges, but has a pretty decent UI (but categories are provided in a popup, so you can select only one category for a post).

The editor is not WYSIWYG, but toggles to preview mode easily. It doesn’t grok the convention of skipping p and br, so the preview is spaced oddly. The app provides an interface for direct FTP uploads of images etc. as well.

This one’s close, but still isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. Back to the WordPress web UI…

So far, Performancing and Flock are the closest thing I’ve seen to an ideal blog management client app, but even that doesn’t make me hate using the WP web UI…

Performancing 1.1

The Performancing extension for Firefox was just updated, and they added some great new stuff. It’s now tied into del.icio.us, and adds a “Page Tools” view that looks up the current web page in Technorati (handy, but no handier than a bookmarklet).

Firefox is still not quite as nice as Safari, so I don’t think I’ll be using it full time (page scrolling performance in Firefox is terrible on my ‘book, and text rendering isn’t quite as nice as in Safari). Maybe I’ll try it for a few days to see how it works out.

The beauty of keeping all bookmarks in del.icio.us is that it completely commoditizes the browser. My bookmarks are completely portable. The only links/tools that get left behind are the bookmarklets I keep in a browser’s bookmark toolbar, and those are easily replaced.

Two things that they could add to make Performancing rock harder would be:

  1. Sorting categories. 285 categories and counting, and it’s hard to find specific categories for a post (where did “performancing” go in this unsorted mess?)
  2. Category search. Even with sorting, it would be handy to be able to search/filter categories. Maybe it’s a tool that only shows up if a blog has more than 20 categories or something… It took me longer to find the categories for this post than to write it.

One thing that strikes me is just how much faster/easier/more flexible adding categories is through the WordPress web UI, when combined with the Cat2Tag plugin – it is a simple text entry field, similar to del.icio.us or Flickr, with autocompletion of existing categories and seamless creation of new ones as needed. It even provides a sorted and weighted tag cloud view of existing categories if desired. No idea if adding categories is even possible via the posting API, but it keeps me coming back to the WordPress posting UI…

Update: Disabling Firefox’s “live scrolling” makes it feel about 6 bajillion times faster. It’s totally usable now. I’ll try it for a week or so (again)…

Playing with Ecto

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve played with Ecto. I used the previous incarnation (KungLog) before it changed to become Ecto, and lost touch with it since then. I’ve been using the browser-based WordPress posting interface almost exclusively, with occasional dabbles into the worlds of Firefox+Performancing and Flock.

Gotta say, I’m less impressed with Ecto’s write-and-preview flow (and by default, it’s not even a live preview, and the “automatic” preview isn’t quite “live”). If an app is going to provide an interface like this, it really should go the extra mile and use a full-out WYSIWYG interface (with the option to revert to source editing mode). And the controls for entering/editing hyperlinks are, well, bizarre and non-intuitive. A mini-toolbar at the bottom of the editing window is pretty un-Maclike, and odd when considering all other controls are in an almost-conventional toolbar above the editing pane…

I do like the management features, but they’re not radically different/better than Performancing’s offering. Actually, what would really rock would be a version of Performancing for Safari. I know it’s probably just a XUL app, so this could be a non-trivial task, but most Mac users are using Safari, and it would be nice to have this stuff brought to it…

Oh, and Performancing should sort Categories. Ecto does this (well, any sane app should) and it really helps if you have, say 285 categories…

When all’s said and done, I don’t see myself ponying up for an Ecto license. It’s a cool app, but other apps are coming along and nicely eating its breakfast.

Update: Ecto published this post after the < ! --more--> block, which tells WordPress to show the post content only on the single post display page. The text entry fields weren’t labeled, so I thought I was doing it the other way around… It also threw an error dialog up saying the post couldn’t be published, when it was published just fine. This is app is supposed to increase blog posting productivity hownow?

Presentations list now online

It was pointed out that I’d neglected to have a “presentations” page, so there was no easy way to grab stuff from any of the presentations that I’ve had the chance to be involved with.

I just added a new “Presentations” section, listing (I think) every presentation I’ve done since I started here at the Learning Commons. There may be a couple that I’ve missed, but at least the “big” ones are there. I’ll keep it up to date as new ones come online.

I was going to create a “Presentations” page directly in WordPress so it would be easy to maintain, but it appears to not like sharing with the /presentations directory of the website. So, for now, it’s a hand-rolled static .html file until I figure out a better way to make WordPress and Apache share stuff on the same path…