Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 3 best free blog editors, and their quirks

Okay, of course this is highly subjective but I doubt anybody’s going to disagree with me on my picks.

Microsoft Writer: the best, and possibly as good as a paid alternative. I’ve never been as happy with a MS product since… Notepad. Writer will remind seasoned users of Frontpage, while newbies will be right at home with the simplicity of the application.

writer Best features: can synchronise posts; supports most blogging platforms; ease of use; plugins available Let-downs: some issues(see end of this post)

There’s also the Flock blog editor, the built-in blog editor of the socially-friendly browser, Flock; and ScribeFire, the able Firefox plugin. It’s always a merry occasion when you have a blog editor right inside your browser, and ScribeFire even comes with useful options ranging from an inbuilt revenue-earning system and one-click posting to advanced pinging options. flock scribefire

But if you ask me, at the end of the day Writer wins hand down for its user-friendliness and solid synchronization.

Known quirks: many of the plugins for Writer (there aren’t really many, surprisingly) don’t work; others are plain scratchy. Among the ones broke are the ones made by the Microsoft devs themselves (not so surprising, eh?). Formatting often doesn’t agree either; take a look: line gap -b -copy line gap -w

The original post in Blogger has a line break, which Writer fails to reflect. From my experience, I’ve had trouble synchronising posts with both Flock and ScribeFire. They also support fewer blogging platforms compared to Writer; and although ScribeFire in particular has some interesting features, both applications essentially feel like plugins, and lack the necessary MS Word-like seamlessness one would look for in a blog editor. [Update: I had just published this from Writer where the post turned out like this. I had to dig into the code -- a simple matter of tags getting mixed up -- to fix it.]

Exceedingly busy


It’s getting harder and harder to find spare time, as I had predicted. I haven’t been able to look up any web designing/developing or programming texts yet, but I’ve been surfing a bit, with mixed results. Surprisingly, there’s still a dearth of quality sites on coding and aimed at novice to expert level users.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Finally, focus


In short, this blog is about the way I relearn and redeem my geekery.

That means it’s a sort of scratchpad for my self-taught endeavours into coding and such. I’ll write down anything I learn anew, and which will usually involve some sort of practical usage on my part. Like how to fix the look of my blog (a pretty likely topic, given it’s so ugly right now), or how to pull off a certain CSS trick, or something in RR or Python.

So what’s in it for you? If you’re: a serious blogger or developer who’s starting out or is trying to reacquaint him/her-self with code or design issues in a systematic manner, or a casual blogger or web developer who likes to stay informed, then this blog is for you. And of course, it’s for all my friends – which goes without saying :)

My gameplan:

  • Phase 1: CSS, XML, JavaScript
  • Phase 2: AJAX, PHP, MySQL, Adobe AIR
  • Phase 3: Python, Ruby on Rails, C#

About the posts My posts usually aren’t going to be huge (I’m aiming for the 200-300 word region), and if there’s an existing tutorial that does the job I’ll provide the link and cut the description part. This gives credit where it’s due and also keeps posts small, and hopefully, less boring. I’m hoping to have multiple posts per day week Initially things will be a lot slower, as I have other occupations. Potential topics include (but aren't limited to): blogging (esp. in Blogger), web design and development, programming, coding practices, software, social networking, SEO, and the occasional odd post to remind you I'm still human ;)

What happened to you? If you’ve been around, you probably know things haven’t always been like this. I wrote about everything ranging from news commentaries to odd news to food reviews. I’ve learnt a lot about blogging since then, especially during my long break last year when I hardly blogged at all. Currently I’m focused on blogging about the aforementioned stuff: these days I’m suffering from a strange and unforeseen nostalgia for coding, which stems from a past life where I actually used to be a computer engineer and inspired web developer. Therefore, I’m trying to get back to it, purely for my own interests but not sans the passion of a professional.