Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A new way to blog

During the course of writing my entry on Abiword's Vi mode, I became rather frustrated with the way the Blogger built-in / online editor managed the configuration file "code" examples.  First, I needed to experiment to identify an HTML entity that would wrap the entries without being changed by Blogger.  Then, I found that whenever I previewed the entry and returned to editing, Blogger would remove one leading space from each line of those entries.  Even when I used the HTML entity for a non-breaking space, Blogger would not respect the indentation; it converted those to regular spaces and removed a leading space from each line.

I'd looked into alternative post editing clients previously, but I'd not managed to sort through the detail, spread around in various locations, to make a choice.  I returned to the task today, and I identified four candidates.  Although it was not initially at the top of my list.

Scribefire is being used to write this post.  User feedback and "looking around" convinced me that it was good enough and also that it does not pose any immediate security risk.  (To be more proactively certain of safety, I changed my Google/Blogger password before beginning to use it.)  A major reason for starting with it is that it is a Firefox extension.  The installation was therefore much less involved.

The other candidates are below.  I may comment on them in the future, as I try them.
  • Windows Live Writer -- I know, I know.  But it really does get favorable comments online.  I am considering a portable installation, which would be a bit more involved (not a lot).
  • Zoundry Raven.  It appears to be pretty full featured, although this now dated comment describes it as not being as full featured as Windows Live Writer.
  • w.bloggar.  It appears to be a bit further behind, was last updated at the end of 2007, and has a preference for Internet Explorer (version 4.03 supports IE) over Firefox (stuck on version 4.02).  However, it seems to have a good spirit.  It is also what the Zoundry Raven folks describe using before they developed their own product.
The candidates I chose are all available as free / donation products (although one should keep in mind that Microsoft has a habit of "taking things away").  For starters, until I am more comfortable with blogging, I'm not ready to spend $30 - $50 on a commercial product.  I found most of them before finding this summary listing that identifies a number of such free products.

Blogger itself has a list of complimentary software.  However, it appears to be rather outdated and not maintained.

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