After losing the "fruit of my labor" (blog posts) a couple of times because network or server errors, I decided to look for a Windows-based blog posting tool that would allow me to prepare posts offline, save my work locally and post at the first (network connection) opportunity. As I was packing for the holidays, and I knew that Internet access would be limited at least the first week, I started seeking the "perfect" tool – based on my requirements:
- Ability to save posts locally, post drafts and final versions, modify previous posts
- Support for standard blog features: categories, turning on/off comments and trackbacks, sending trackbacks, etc.
- Ability to configure multiple blog accounts since I am now authoring two different blogs, and contributing to a few others, on different blogging platforms
- Offering Wysiwyg editing with direct access to HTML, spell checking with multiple dictionaries, etc.
- Dealing with multimedia uploads automatically (i.e no need to pronounce dark incantations to add a picture to a post)
Looking around, I found 4 different products, some free, some licensed: Ecto, Qumana, w.bloggar, BlogJet. I was already familiar with the NewsGator Outlook plug-in that offers relatively basic editing capabilities for TypePad.While the latter is useful, it is too limited and does not offer the functionality I outlined.
I ultimately chose to go for BlogJet (4 weeks trial, $39 license), essentially because it offered the best coverage of my requirements. It does the job rather well, as an efficient KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) implementation of a blog posting tool.
What were the issues with the other tools, and things I liked in them ?
- Ecto (2 weeks trial, $20 license): it is feature rich, and does include a very cool table creation/edition feature that might be of use. However I found the lack of a real Wysiwyg editor and easy picture upload to be problematic.
- Qumana (free): has a great editor and user interface, but does not give access to HTML editing and picture upload management. And setting a category seems to require online access to the blogging platform. Update: Unfortunately, Zoli seems to have faced “I lost my posts” issues with Qumana.
- w.bloggar: is OK functionally but does not offer a Wysiwyg editor.
What else would I want to see in BlogJet ? The table functionality is useful (though I am not sure how often I would be using it). I have been having some stability problems, like getting error messages stating that a post could not be uploaded whereas it was. And I would like to be able to set an option for my comment/trackback default settings. Apart from these details, I am quite happy with my selection, having now used it quite a bit.