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The Sophistication of Desktop Writing

The other day, I was searching the web for fantastic applications for Mac OSX because I'm obsessed and they're pretty. Anyway, one website suggested "MarsEdit" as a must-have. "Okay," I thought, "It's probably a text editor. It probably doesn't compare to TextMate, but I might as well give it a look." Yeah, it wasn't a text editor. It was a desktop blogging client, and it looks awesome. :D


Okay, this post isn't (entirely) about how I was taken by some smooth advertising, it's about how my blog sucks. No, really. I'll fully admit it: since realizing that Four Island was ready to be rewritten again, I have found so many thing wrong with it that it's just amazing. Obviously, I can't enumerate all of these to you, but the ones that bothered me into writing this post are:

  • The custom BBcode system is stupid and insane. "Seriously, let's use a half-baked BBcode system that butchers Unicode characters instead of HTML." No, really, the admin panel should be able to use the full spectrum of HTML elements, plus some timesaving shortcodes. Comments should be allowed to use whitelisted HTML elements. This BBcode system is insane and I regret it so much.
  • The current layout is a bit hideous. Yes, it's revolutionary in that it does so many things that the previous layouts didn't, but seriously, it just doesn't look nice. The blog is seriously difficult to read and a nice clean layout would make things much nicer.
  • The admin panel, while much better than the original (which actually still exists on the server somewhere... shivers), is still pretty basic. No autosave, no revisions, no tag suggestions, etc...

The place I'm trying to get with this is that while my website may be completely written by me, and I'm proud of that, it lacks a lot of useful features that a real solution like Wordpress would have. Namely, in this instance, an implementation of the MetaWeblog API allowing me to write and edit posts from a desktop client. It would be so classy! For one, the autosave feature on its own would snag me. In fact, I actually lost this post while writing it the first time due to a kernel panic--if I had been using a desktop client like MarsEdit, I would've had an autosave copy of the post waiting for me when the computer rebooted. What style. Do I even need to mention the number of posts that I've lost due to the fact that it took longer for me to write it than it took for my session to expire? I've now grown the habit of hitting Cmd-A, Cmd-C before I save the post in case the session expired.

This, along with many other reasons, is why I've decided to fully implement the Wordpress XML-RPC API (which means I also have to implement the MetaWeblog and MoveableType APIs) in Four Island 3. It'll let me use MarsEdit on my computer and the Wordpress app on my iPhone to write posts, which will be pretty awesome. It's an arduous task, due to the fact that the relevant documentation is pretty mediocre. But, I'm getting through it. The Wordpress app still crashes every time I reload the posts, but that's development for you! :P However, I bet that when Four Island 3 is done and everything has been released, it'll not only be easier to write posts, it'll be more fun. And when it's more fun, it's more likely that I'll do it! :P

So, I wanted to ask, who else writes from a blogging client rather than from the admin panel of their blog? Sure, the admin panel is usually pretty intuitive and easy to use, but in my opinion, desktop clients are just so much better! What do you think?

And, no, this post wasn't really written in MarsEdit. My evil custom BBcode system prevents that. Someday, though, someday Four Island 3 will be out and I'll be writing from MarsEdit. How fantastic! :P

Hatkirby on November 21st, 2010 at 12:30:14pm
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