You know, even though I love my Mac, there comes a time when even the most zealous of Mac fanatics have to admit that, sometimes, just sometimes, Microsoft can have an upper-hand on our shiny machines. I’m talking about the small, yet growing and oh-so-convenient niche of offline blog writing software.
You see, Microsoft has an application that makes the line-up of their Windows Live products, called Windows Live Writer, that, in my opinion, is the best blog writing software out there today.
Before I get ahead of myself, however, let me explain, for the uninitiated, the concept behind offline blog writing software. In essence, it is any application that can be accessed whilst not connected to the Internet, and allows you to write blog posts just as you would from your blogging software’s online editor, and save the drafts to your computer’s hard drive. Then, when you have Internet access again, you can publish your offline drafts. It’s a convenient means of writing without the necessity of the Internet, and can allow you more time to perfect a post.
Since Windows Live Writer is a Windows-only application, I decided to set out on a quest to find the perfect match for the Mac, and I’ve discovered two very capable pieces of software. The only catch: they’re not free apps (Live Writer is, in fact, free).
Blogo – Visit site
The first app, Blogo, has a very stylish interface. However, to compensate for this style, the UI is a bit confusing and takes time to get used to – instead of conventional symbols for icons, the developers decided to opt for some very weird-looking graphics.
Blogo allows you to save drafts offline, and also add images to your post. However, it’s in the images feature that the app loses its appeal for me: simply put, it’s not intuitive at all. Unlike the conventional way of being able to drag images around the “page”, being able to resize it and align it, Blogo replaces the image with a place holder symbol. This makes it confusing to work out the aesthetics of a post, and the post-preview feature doesn’t help at all in making this job easier.
The one feature that may win over some users is its full-screen distraction-killing feature, that allows you to focus 100% on the writing, and less on the Tweeting and Facebooking.
The cost: $25 | Trial: 21 days
The verdict: get it mainly if you want to save text only offline. The un-intuitiveness of the image feature lets an otherwise very stylish app down. Highly recommended to try before you buy.
Ecto – Visit site
Whilst very conventional in its design when compared to Blogo, ecto is my favourite of the two. It allows you to manage multiple blogs, has a great text editor that allows for images and other embedded content, and you can change the default editing font (I enjoy using Courier – makes me feel like I’m a screen writer and it’s easy on the eyes ;))
And if you don’t like the built-in editor, you can bring your own to the party with support for a host of third-party text editors like MacJournal and ScreenRoom.
ecto employs a very intuitive colour-coding scheme to discern what status a post is in (draft or published). Furthermore, upon starting up the app, that previous unpublished post you were working on is immediately brought front and centre, ready for you to begin work.
The only gripe I have about this software is that when I publish to my blogs, it adds an extra space between paragraphs, which I discovered was caused by a rogue HTML break line. I have yet to figure out how to remove this, and now my trial period has expired and I haven’t gotten round to purchasing the full app.
The cost: $19.95 | Trial: 21 days.
The verdict: definitely better in terms of functionality compared to Blogo. Cheaper, and the editor kicks ass. For convenience and serious writing, ecto is definitely the way to go.
I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.