I was looking around for desktop blog authoring tool. Well, not exactly loooking around; more like I've been pondering the idea for several months. I use RSS Bandit and w.bloggar was the obvious choice (read: it was in the RSS Bandit context menu :-)). So I went and installed it.

Some first impressions, mostly positive:

  1. The program is very clean and has almost self-explanatory UI. It is very responsive, starts immediately and reacts blazingly fast.
  2. The initial configuration dialog was somewhat confusing, as it wasn't clear what user name/password should I enter. Besides, the initial configuration doesn't ask anything about the blog type/site. I guess if the program targets specifically Blogger users, that makes somewhat sense. Still, it might be good to have small button "Advanced blog settings..." or something like it that takes you to the blog settings.
  3. Almost all commands have associated shortcut, most of them quite logical. However, several commands don't use the de-facto standard shortcuts. Examples - the Redo usually is associated with Ctrl-Y; the alignment commands normally use Ctrl-L, Ctrl-E and Ctrl-R; F10 in most programs acts the same as single Alt press (gets you to the menu). Using these would make w.bloggar more familiar editing environment. OTOH - there are probably current users which already have learned the curent shortcuts and would be upset by any changes (oh, the joy of having to support "legacy" versions).

The bugs I noticed so far (I guess I have some kind of job-inflicted mental deviation):

  • null reference exception on the About... dialog box - shows if you start w.bloggar minimized in the taskbar notification area and choose About... from the notification icon's context menu
  • the status bar uses non-localized font, but attempts to localize the date format and shows strange characters
  • the post drafts are saved by default in the w.bloggar installation folder. This has two implications - if you are running as non-admin thic will cause some problems and also is potential information disclosure on multiuser systems. The preview html is also saved there.
  • hitting Reload posts in the Accont properties dialog while editing new post will clear the new post category
  • selecting text and inserting a link doesn't use the text. thus, any text you enter in the link dialog box ends appended to the text you selected.
  • (not really w.bloggar issue) the RSS feed of http://www.bloggar.com doesn't contain the latest post

Anyway, the overall feeling I get is that this is very nice piece of software. I really liked it, but of course, I'll have to give it some more time to decide whether it will be useful to me. In the mean time, I probably should look around and see what else there is. So, which one is your favorite blog authoring tool?

Update: I just hit the first major thing I don't like - w.bloggar doesn't put automatically HTML paragraph tags. I have to manually put the appropriate HTML instead of focusig on my text. :-( That makes the actual editing a lot more of an effort. Let's hope v4 makes some progress in the direction.