The explosion of Internet users seen in recent years has resulted in a proliferation of blogs, both personal and professional, all catering to a myriad of tastes and topics. Whether you’re a professional online journalist, a dedicated blogger with a loyal following, or simply enjoy keeping a personal Tumblr blog to share your thoughts, you’ve probably found the web interface of these sites lacking. Granted, they are sufficient for light use, but writing anything substantial soon becomes a chore.
Here’s where MarsEdit comes in, offering a great tool to aid the creation and management of content. Posts can be written offline and stored locally in HTML or Rich Text and then uploaded to your blog once you’re finished – you can even add photos too! Interested? Read on after the break to see how MarsEdit can revolutionise your blogging routine.
Launching MarsEdit brings up the screen shown above (albeit without my added blogs) and one can add blogs to the interface with a simple click of the + button, followed by entering your blog details. For example, when adding my own personal Tumblr page, I simply entered the URL http://adamawilliams.com then added my username and password – that’s it.
MarsEdit then downloads all recent posts where they can be edited and managed within the application itself. Multiple accounts can be managed this way and I found the automatic settings to work flawlessly with multiple WordPress accounts and Tumblr.
The Benefits Of Offline Content Creation
You may be asking yourself if there’s any reason to move from your typical method of Internet browser and web client. One of the most compelling reasons I found to use MarsEdit was it’s ability to create a blog post completely offline. In the past, I would write out my posts in Plain Text, complete with HTML tags on a Word Processor such as Writeroom and then laboriously copy/paste into WordPress while fixing formatting errors and uploading photos along the way. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this method, but MarsEdit offers a much more seamless way of working offline.
Content is created just like in a Word Processor and one can add photos in the correct position too, ready for upload. Once you’ve finished and assuming you like the look of the post in the realtime preview within MarsEdit, you can choose to “Send To Blog” and either publish right away or save as a draft. This feature may not be such a big deal if you live in an urban environment with a stable Internet connection and coffee shop wifi should that go down, but for those of us who live in a rural area with poor Internet coverage, this feature alone makes MarsEdit more than worth the purchase price!
I currently write for several blogs and have naturally picked up a little HTML along the way, but it can be somewhat confusing for novices to learn the various formatting rules, tags and codes associated with HTML. MarsEdit includes an excellent implementation of Rich Text editing and this will be a great boon to those who struggle with even basic code. It is also worth taking a moment to touch upon Red Sweater Software’s excellent online resources, such as their forum and FAQ. In addition, when contacting Red Sweater’s support due to an issue with WordPress on the server-side (and not a fault of the app), I fired off a question to support and was emailed back within the hour with a full response from the developer himself.
Besides simple text editing, MarsEdit hosts several well thought out features, such as full screen editing, a Safari bookmarklet and “Edit With” buttons, in addition to a media upload interface. Clicking on the “Media” button within MarsEdit’s editing pane brings up the above screen and from there you can choose to select images residing within your Mac’s hard drive, Aperture library or Flickr account.
I find MarsEdit very useful and more than worth the $39.99 purchase price, however users who blog only infrequently may feel the price a little steep for what they need. A free 30-day trial is available from Red Sweater software here so one can at least give it a test-drive before purchase. If you like the idea of MarsEdit but would prefer a cheaper alternative, Blogo is billed as a similar application, with a 21-day free trial and a purchase price of $25 – though beware, the application does not currently support OS X Lion. Additionally, Ecto promises broadly similar functionality at the more affordable price of $19.99.