Easier editing with MarsEdit?


RedSweaterLogo.png This is going to be an interesting test of whether I prefer creating my blog entries online in the WordPress interface or in the latest version of Red Sweater’s MarsEdit application. I have to admit I’ve got used to the WordPress interface since I’ve been blogging, and the fact that you can arrange text around your images so that it all looks seamless is a real plus point for me. Also, as I currently only blog from a Mac Pro, then I’m always online, so access to the WordPress interface is easy.

So what’s the interest in MarsEdit? Well I plan on buying a MacBook (some day) and I’d like to be able to travel about and perhaps update my blog as and when I feel like it, without an internet connection in sight – sort of roaming reporter style. Given that I’ve got rid of my car and will be relying on either my bicycle or public transport to get around, it’ll be nice to be able to create content for my blog while sitting on the train for example.

I have pitched right in and am writing this entry directly in MarsEdit so we’ll see Preview of “Easier editing with MarsEdit?”.pnghow it pans out. First up, it’s rich text I’m after. I want to make the words Red Sweater bold in the first paragraph. In WordPress you get a WYSIWYG editor, so it’s simply a case of highlighting the text and clicking on the ‘B’ icon. Here it’s much the same, just highlight the text, go to the Markup dropdown and choose bold from the list. Ok, MarsEdit isn’t WYSIWYG with the default setting of BBEdit as the editor, so instead of seeing the word change to bold type in the editor, you just see the HTML tags around the word. Having said that, with the Preview window open, you get to see the results straightaway – I can live with that, in fact I might even prefer it. You can choose from a selection of other editors like WriteRoom etc., so there’s flexibility in there.

The second thing I wanted to try out is adding an image. I’ll start out with Red Sweater’s logo, aligning it to the top left of my post and letting text flow around it to the right. Here goes… place the cursor where I want the image to go, click on the Media button, drag the logo image into the Media Manager window, choose the alignment and click Upload & Insert. There, what could be easier? Ok, I’m missing the padding that the WordPress editor puts around an image, so the ‘r’ or Sweater rides up against the text of the article, but hey it’s not bad for a first attempt. I dare say as long as I know what the HTML tags are for doing it I’ll be able to sort that out. Actually that’s a good point – using MarsEdit may take a little extra effort initially but I expect the plus side of having all these HTML tags floating before your eyes is that you can tweak it quite easily if you have the know how.

Right, the next test will be a little trickier. I want to add a screen grab around about the third paragraph, have it aligned over to the right, and make it a bit smaller than real life. Here goes…. Ok, first reaction is yikes! My preview window is showing a huge image bisecting my post. However, I can see a width=904 tag and a height=681 tag, so my initial thoughts are that if I reduce those values to 25% of what they are, I’ll get an image reduced in size accordingly. Ok, so change 904 to 226 and 681 to 170 and… yep, that did it. Ok, in the WordPress editor you can choose from four preset sizes and you can resize dynamically with a drag ‘handle’, but this still seems perfectly workable.

Right, I have two tests left. First is to add a hyperlink to the word MarsEdit in the first paragraph, so you can jump to the product page easily (aren’t I good to you). Second test will be to publish this little effort. Ok, I’ve already copied the link to the clipboard, so let’s go and highlight the word and see what the Markup menu has to offer… ah, Paste Link did exactly what I wanted, turning the word MarsEdit into a clickable link. I’m almost there, just have to choose a few categories and publish it. Picking the categories is just a case of ticking the ones you want seeing as MarsEdit has already downloaded my ones from WordPress – ok that’s done. Finally, the Send to Weblog icon looks like just what I’m after, so in a few minutes this little effort will be visible to the whole world.

I have to say my first experience of MarsEdit has been a positive one. Everything seems inuitive, and while I may not have been as creative with this post as I have been with others, well it’s a start. When I do finally get my MacBook I think I’ll be buying a copy of MarsEdit to use as an offline editor. The learning curve may be a bit steeper that the WYSIWYG editor WordPress now gives you, but the freedom of creating blog content on the go is quite appealing – just need to save for the MacBook first!

Click to enlarge...

Click to enlarge...

Addendum – I’m editing this post in the WordPress editor now as I’ve got one observation to make. The screengrab I added above and reduced to 25% of its size doesn’t have a link to the full sized version of the image, which is what you get by default when using the WordPress editor (see the example at the start of this paragraph). This may be as simpe a finding some setting or option in MarsEdit so I’ll have a look. Still, not bad for a first attempt eh?

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Robin – this is Daniel, the developer of MarsEdit. Thanks for writing up your experience as a first time user of MarsEdit so accurately and honestly. This kind of information is of great interest to me, since you can imagine I am far from the mindset of the first-time user at this point!

    I appreciate your positive attitude about the app even though you ran into a few issues. The main drawback you experienced seemed to be in the image sizing and markup. This is an area I hope to improve on in the future.

    I also hope to add a “WYSIWYG” mode in the future, but I’m glad that for now it seems like you’re adapting well to the combination of HTML + Live Preview.

    Daniel

  2. I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..

    -Bill-Bartmann

  3. Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. 🙂

  4. Thanks for such interesting and terrific post.
    Really useful and helpful information. I’ve twitted your blog.

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