Until recently (i.e., today) I simply wrote my articles straight into the WordPress interface because it does everything you need it to do and it works well.
Until it doesn’t.
I spent half an hour this afternoon laying out a new article, adding images, adding tags, categories and all that stuff, on top of a half an hour or so last night getting the content in to start with. I pressed Publish and WordPress gave me a screen that said ‘Do you really want to do this?’ and then ate my work.
To say I was a shade upset is an understatement. So I went searching for blogging software for Mac and found a bunch of programs – most of which seem to be on the App Store. So this article will give a very brief overview of various Blogging Tools for Mac OS X.
Blogo is the tool that this article is written with. I’m giving it a trial at the moment since it costs $29.99 on the Mac App Store – although a free trial is available from their website. It has all the standard features (and I’m only looking at these from a WordPress perspective, so I can’t say if they support other platforms well or not). I connected it to ReviewMacSoftware and initially it failed to find the site – but that’s because I run the site under /wordpress/ directory. Once I told it where to find the site it connected just fine.
Once connected it supports live preview of your post or page (and it supports building posts or pages). You can edit existing posts or pages through the application and you can work offline and post your article when you next go online.
Synchronization with Evernote is supported, although there doesn’t appear to be any basic cloud support such as iCloud, iDrive, Google Drive or DropBox support which seems like an oversight.
It’s a nice little application but does have some issues with Featured Image not actually working (at least in my tests) and Categories and Tags not being set up correctly. But so far it hasn’t eaten any of my articles so that’s a massive plus.
MarsEdit 3 connects to various blogging platforms and supports local storage as well as cloud based through Dropbox or Google Drive. I found MarsEdit quite (actually, very) frustrating to set up – whereas Desk and Blogo figure most of your WordPress setup out automatically once you tell them you’re using WordPress, MarsEdit still needed everything specified manually – including the blog ID. I suspect this is something that most average bloggers wouldn’t know much about – particularly the ‘blog ID’ which really only applies to multisite installations.
Incidentally though, it does presumably mean that MarsEdit would work nicely with WPMS – I’m not sure if the other two would work as well.
MarsEdit has a much more traditional looking user interface – Blogo and Desk being quite artistic whereas MarsEdit is very Mac like. But, like Blogo you can edit existing articles (Pages or Posts) as well as creating new ones.
One aspect that MarsEdit does very well is the inlining of images within your articles. Blogo just adds placeholders rather than the actual images – whereas MarsEdit puts the actual images into the edit pane.
Overall, not as pretty as Desk or Blogo, not as easy to setup but is more comprehensive in the long run.
Desk concentrates on writing and tries to keep everything else out of the way. It has two modes for writing, WYSIWYG or Markdown Mode and also connects to your WordPress site. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a trial version available, but the author has published a video on his website at desk.pm which goes through the various features – and is sadly all I can go on for this quick review.
One feature that the author’s website shows is the ‘transparent’ mode which I think would be extremely useful for many of the reviews I write at ReviewMacSoftware since it would enable me to see things through the editor.
Similarly to Blogo, Desk shows a word count, character count and reading time information so you can plan your articles accordingly and unlike Blogo, Desk does appear to support iCloud Drive for storing your drafts – although it doesn’t support Evernote as yet. Dragging and dropping of images is also supported.
This is just 3 of the Blogging Platform editors we’ve found for the Mac. There are a few others, although many of them looked quite abandoned now and others didn’t offer any kind of WYSIWYG interface. They’re all fairly similar and all serve the same purpose in different ways and that’s to make you more productive on your blog than you would be through the standard Website Interface offered by your blogging platform.
Out of the three, our favourite has to be Blogo – it looks slick, works well but does have some tweaks that hopefully a future version will put right.