Earlier today, I began writing a blog in between solution builds. This is common for me to do. I try to multi-task every moment throughout the day. Somehow, I still always seem to be out of time. Weird...
I have been using Windows Live Writer (WLW) to create, publish, and manage my blog entries for several months now. I used to use a web interface on my site. I must say, that using WLW was awesome! I was able to work on a blog post for as long as I wanted without worrying about the session expiring, or any other web-based snafu. It was like having electricity for the first time. I loved not having to light the candles on my blog!
Well, I eventually got my blog post to the point of being able to publish it. I had all of my text where I wanted, my styles all shored up, images added, tags added, and so on. I clicked the Publish button. Ding! I received an error. Whaaaa...?!! I never get an error using WLW. Crap! Here is the error I was seeing:
The error "An invalid IP address was specified" was incredibly confusing to me. It still is. I began to ask and vent about this error, here, here, and here. I even searched for the error on the search engines. Nothing was coming back, so I posted a forum thread about this error at the Microsoft Live Forums. Then, I was pleasantly surprised to have Chris Hammond pop up and offer to help me. We were able to determine that the problem is definitely on my machine. Something is seriously out-of-whack with my instance of WLW. That didn't help me post my blog though, so I began to search the registry for clues (not recommended for newbies). After a while, I was still getting nowhere.
Woefully, I began to look for alternatives to WLW. I found a couple of good blog posts on the topic, such as: 15+ Alternatives to Your Boring Blog Editor, Six Time-Saving Blogging Tools, and Blog Editor Alternative. With all of the options provided by these resources, I couldn't help but dabble. But I was limited to what I could and should try. My blogging routine and platform requires that I at minimum have the following features:
This ruled out most of the options out there. However, I did try a few...
First, I tried Qumana, which is a blog client for both Windows and Mac. It's interface was intuitive, and I had my blogs imported in no time at all. It has the ability to incorporate advertising directly into blog entries. This is not an important feature to me, but you might like it. However, I could not successfully publish my first post. It just gave me the wait animation. Nothing would happen. I was floored, as the program had worked flawlessly, and easily up to that point. This was not totally unexpected though. This program runs on Java, and bugs like this always happen to me with Java programs. I am not a fan of anything Java, we a result. Oh well... Next!
I then installed the ScribeFire addon for Firefox. I was very impressed with this browser plugin. It was easy to use, and handled most of my requirements. However, it did not allow me to manage the HTML very well at all - forcing me to go to the source view to manually edit the HTML. It has some really cool features, many of which I hope can be in WLW someday. I think the most useful feature is the context menu that you can use directly from a webpage to initiate a blog entry about that page. I can use this for quick posts about websites, but this is definitely not going to be able to replace WLW. I was able to post my blog entry from earlier though! After posting, I did find that I had to go and manually mark the entry as "published".
The next blog client I decided to try was Zoundry Raven. The name does nothing for me, but the initial impression from this blogger had me interested. I was hoping that I would be installing the more stable and bug free version after he/she tried it. That is what I am using right now. It has a Thunderbird feel about it. The interface is boring, but clearly has a lot of features to take advantage of. I am very pleased there. I love that it has many of the features that I wished WLW had. However, it is clear that the image handling is not going to be as hands-off as I want it to be, and I am not sure how code snippets will be handled. We'll see.
For right now, I still do not have a new blog editor, and honestly I do not want a new one. After using these other programs, I know that I was truly happy with WLW. I really need to find a fix for it - especially since I will be doing a presentation about blogging next month. Ugh!
Technorati : Blog Clients, Blogging, Qumana, ScribeFire, Windows Live Writer, Zoundry Raven