If you want the ability to create your blog posts off-line, later posting them quickly to a single or multiple blogs, a desktop blog authoring client may be the right fit for you. An off-line blog authoring client can also give you enhanced spell-checking, tagging and image control.
Below are three Blog Authoring Clients I looked at for Mac OS X.
MarsEdit 1.2 – MarsEdit has been around for a while and in the past has been closely related to the NetNewsWire feed reader. In February 2007, MarsEdit was acquired from NewsGator by Red Sweater Software. MarsEdit is a well behaved mature weblog editor that has a simple, email-like interface. It supports multiple blogs and works with most blogging services including Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, and Movable Type to name a few.
Features include drafts, category keywords, web preview templates, spell-checking, live preview, Technorati tags, automatic blog search engine pinging, image and file uploads and external editors. MarsEdit is also fully AppleScriptable. Its text filtering system also includes built-in support for Markdown, SmartyPants, and Textile.
I found MarsEdit 1.2 to be powerful and yet easy to use. It meets most of my needs except for one. There needs to be a better way of handling images. At a very minimum, a capability to convert or resize images and create thumbnails prior to uploading is needed.
MarsEdit requires Mac OS 10.3.9 and is a bargain at $24.95. You can download a 30-Day trial here.
Ecto 2.4.2 – Ecto is a mature feature-rich desktop blog authoring client for both Mac OS X and Windows and is the successor of the popular Mac Kung-Log application. Ecto supports most blogging services including Blogger, Blojsom, Drupal, MovableType, Nucleus, TypePad, and WordPress, as well as others.
Features include support for multiple weblogs, full local control of recently posted entries and drafts, intuitive interface for creating and editing weblog entries, a Rich Text and an HTML editor with spellcheck and search/replace, syntax-coloring in the HTML editor, quick access menu with HTML tag templates and keyboard shortcuts for the HTML editor (fully customizable), categories, trackback, text-formatting, comment options, Technorati tags, advanced create-a-link dialog, easily change the posting date of entries, preview of entries using Safari’s WebKit, powerful file and media upload with iPhoto import via attachments, convert, scale images and create thumbnails, create poster movies or create thumbnails from movie frames, plus much more.
Ecto 2.4.2 is very powerful. It has strong image and tagging capabilities with an easy to use editor and posting system.
Ecto requires Mac OS X 10.3 and is a steal for $17.95. A 21-day trial is available here.
MacJournal 4.1.2 – MacJournal takes a different approach as a desktop blog authoring client than MarsEdit and Ecto. Where they focus strictly on blogging, MacJournal addresses journalling in general, whether it be to a desktop log, an iMac account, or to one of the mainstream blogging services. These supported blogging services include LiveJournal, Blogger, Movable Type, WordPress, and more.
Features include 2-D Quartz rendering technology making graphically rich journals, nested, multiple journals and entry keywords, efficiently organizing your entries (have one for your work log, and have another for your personal journal), password protection and AES-256 encryption, multiple file formats (exporting your data to Microsoft Word, RTF, HTML, etc.), drag and drop of image files, Rich Text Editing (individual entries can have multiple colors, fonts, kerning, spacing), powerful searching capabilities, print any entry to a printer or PDF file, Mac OS X Toolbar functions are available as items in the customizable toolbar in the main window, spellcheck while composing entries, and backs up any and all activity within the product.
MacJournal has two weaknesses from my point of view, no Technorati Tag support and a weak method of handling inserted images. If these two areas were address it would be a strong Web Blogging client. Especially when you consider the versatility of MacJournal for journalling in general.
MacJournal cost a reasonable $34.95. A trial is available here.
These are all good well behaved client applications. I personally use Ecto and have for several years. It would still be my number one pick due to the abundance of features for editing and controlling the structure of a blog post. Both MarsEdit and MacJournal are capable products with their own strengths. I’ll keep checking on their progress.
Download the trials and find the one that fits you. There’s not a bad choice.