If you run a WordPress blog from your Mac, you’ve got a couple of options when it comes to editing the text of your posts. There are, of course, WP’s own built-in HTML and WYSIWYG editors, which you access in your browser. But a desktop editor makes the process easier (and can be more powerful than the online alternatives). Red Sweater’s $40
MarsEdit is the king of the desktop WordPress editors for the Mac, but it’s not the only one:
Blogo first came out in 2008 (Macworld
reviewed version 1.3 in 2010) but then disappeared for a bit. Now it’s back—but maybe before it’s ready.
Rich text only
Compared to MarsEdit, Blogo takes a different approach to writing and posting. While MarsEdit gives you the choice of writing and editing posts in rich text or HTML, Blogo gives you only the former.
As such, the interface is simpler: There’s a basic two-pane view. The column on the left displays your posts (you can hide this column if you want, though you can’t resize it, and it truncates titles), and a right pane where you type. You do most everything in this pane: write your text, add graphics, enter tags, set posting dates and more.
When you double-click any of that text, you get a palette of styling options: you can apply bold or italics, but also choose styles, such as blockquote, lists, and headings, and you can easily add links.
You can drag images directly into the Blogo window, and the app has some useful built-in tools for editing them. You can crop and resize images; apply filters; adjust brightness, contrast and saturation—all things that’d require a separate app if you were working in the WordPress web interface or MarsEdit. However, once you’ve added an image, you only see a placeholder in the Blogo interface. You can get a preview if you press the Option key—but the graphics will all appear at the same size, 90 by 90 pixels.
Blogo also offers previews of your posts using your actual WordPress theme. But in my tests, these previews were fraught with difficulty. For my theme, it displays text and images incorrectly in the header, then correctly displays the content below. Blogo’s developers fixed the problem by creating a preview file for me. But when I tweaked my theme a week later, I had to refresh the preview file (in the app’s Preferences) and then had the same problem again.
Even when the app displays the correct CSS, there are glitches; for example, spacing above and below images isn’t respected. Depending on your theme, you may also have problems with previews (which the developer says are caused by certain theme elements or plug-ins).
You can view and manage comments in Blogo. But while the developer’s website says you can “answer all comments” from Blogo, the program’s help file says that feature is “coming soon.” In fact, there are several such features marked as coming soon, which makes the app feel a bit unfinished. Features discussed in the help, such as a taxonomies panel (for tags and categories) and custom fields are explained but not yet available. Other imminent features touted on the website, such as social network sharing and “Power Ups,” aren’t mentioned in the help.
I’m not fond of the way Blogo displays blog entries: It uses a font that’s too light and too small on a gray background. (I’ve got to say, far too many developers these days—who no doubt have excellent eyesight—eschew options that would allow users to adjust the font to the size they want. And gray backgrounds, which may look nice, aren’t the best for readability.) I’d also like to see a live word count somewhere in the editing window; many bloggers need to respect word counts, and it’s a hassle to have to copy the text and paste it into another app to know how much you’ve written.
There are some neat features that you don’t get with either WordPress or MarsEdit. You can sync drafts with Evernote, so you can access them on multiple Macs. This is nice for those who use Evernote, but Dropbox syncing would probably be useful for more people. And there’s a Blogo extension for Safari or Chrome, which lets you send a webpage or image to the app; the Firefox and Opera versions are—you guessed it—coming soon.
I think it’s a real minus that you can’t access HTML in Blogo. If you do need to tweak a tag or two, you have to publish to your blog (you can save a post as a draft on the blog), then go to the WordPress dashboard to access the HTML. I understand that many bloggers are happy working in rich text, but having an HTML option would be helpful.
The bottom line
Blogo is a version 2 app that feels like a 1.0. Releasing an app with so many features listed as “coming soon” seems wrong. While some of the features, such as the built-in image editor and direct access to comments, are excellent, too many others (including that preview issue) are annoying.
For me to switch to Blogo, I’d need to be able access HTML for my posts, the preview feature would have to be fixed, and I’d need to be able to choose a larger, more readable font. To use an app like this to manage a blog, it has to do everything you need it to; for me, Blogo doesn’t.