MarsEdit 1.1

MarsEdit 1.1 is a desktop-based tool for posting entries to Web logs. It will appeal to experienced bloggers who want a quick way compose and publish.

Easy set-up

When you first open the application, it asks you to enter your Weblog’s name and URL. Based on that input, it will quickly download information it needs to know about your blogging service account—including your blog ID and the kind of Weblog software you’re using—and then let you start posting.

To do so, you simply click on an icon in the main window and begin typing in the resulting pop-up window. When you’re done, you can preview your post (in another pop-up window), then either save it as a draft or publish it.

That draft option is great: It’s faster than saving your draft via a Web-based application. Publishing is also easy: Click a button, then watch the task window to clock the progress of your new post. MarsEdit’s main window will also show your blog being updated—a nice, user-friendly touch. The lag time between hitting the “post” button and seeing the updated site was not noticeably longer than if I had written my post via Typepad. My only complaint: there’s no option for selecting multiple posts and batch-publishing; you have to go through the posting routine for each item.

The draft option doesn’t always work, though: I forgot to add

<p>
-tags before each paragraph in one blog post, but the entry appeared perfectly formatted in the preview. It was only when I posted it to my blog, it showed up as a big chunk of text. One saving grace: MarsEdit lets you move seamlessly between other apps via the File menu. You can select a post’s contents, then format it in BBEdit or running any AppleScripts you might have for doing markup.

Where are my settings?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I’d published my first post that I discovered that many of Typepad settings hadn’t migrated properly into MarsEdit. For example, in Typepad, I’ve configured one blog so all posts allow comments and trackbacks. But MarsEdit, by default, blocks comments, and you have to set trackback preferences post-by-post. I had to modify the settings on each of my blogs to replicate my Typepad preferences. And initially none of the categories I’d set up in TypePad were available in MarsEdit’s categories list.

While the app’s help section is otherwise comprehensive and easy-to-understand, it wasn’t much help in explaining my categories problem. I ended up solving it by chance. (I highlighted my blog name and hit “Refresh”; MarsEdit then downloaded both the 10 most recent posts and the Weblog’s category list. It would have been nice if MarsEdit had done all that when I first added the blog.)

Macworld’s buying advice

If you maintain multiple Weblogs and are comfortable with HTML, MarsEdit could be useful for quickly writing, saving, and publishing blog posts. But it’s best suited for experienced bloggers looking for ways to tweak their publishing process, not for blogging beginners.

[ Lisa Schmeiser is a writer in Alameda, California. She’s been writing about Mac-related items since 1999 and blogging since 2003. ]

(DISCLAIMER: Mac Publishing, publisher of Macworld, recently entered into a business relationship with NewsGator, publisher of MarsEdit and NetNewsWire, that will include providing services on Macworld.com and selling a news reader application based on NetNewsWire.)

MarsEdit 1.1 will list the last few posts you’ve made, which you can then sort by category, date or title.
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