A rather splendid online conversation with Dave Briggs has generated into us both thinking about and developing a wishlist of features the ideal offline blog editor would have.
So, taking the best from RocketPost (which I still attempt to use as it was my ‘perfect’ tool until it started crashing so badly and corrupting its database; they continue to post updates so someone must still be working at Anconia…), Qumana, ecto and BlogJet, the list is starting to look a little like this.
Now, I preface this list by saying that whilst I have downloaded the latest Windows betas of both Qumana and ecto, I haven’t installed them yet. So what follows may already be extant in their latest chunk of code.
- It automatically inserts the url in the clipboard into appropriate dialog box fields when, for example, you create a text link;
- It generates fully compliant code (even to the point of generating ‘normal’ paragraph tags instead of ‘div’ tags which my WordPress blog doesn’t like too many of);
- It handles images and image captions (allowing you to put the caption either underneath or on top of the image) with ease;
- It allows the creation and management of tables, including header, footer and caption tags;
- It allows you access to the html code so you can tweak where necessary;
- It reads and stores your css file so you can format your blogpost in accordance with the styles on your blog (useful for captions, pull quotes, etc);
- It allows you to generate technorati (and other tools – e.g. delicious, furl, etc) tags with ease, and stores those tags for later re-use;
- It cross-references to previous posts on your blog based on the tags you use (so, for example, if you use the tag ‘Dave Briggs’ on a post, it will also auto-publish a list of links to previous posts that have the tag ‘Dave Briggs’);
- It allows you to select a list (such as this) and automatically add paragraph tags to turn the list items into readable chunks, rather than a huge block of text scrunched together with a few bullets at the side;
- It also pulls in comments to previous posts and allows you to add further comments, or edit the existing comments, or approve a comment flagged for moderation, or mark a comment as spam, liaising seamlessly with whatever plug-ins you have and your blog admin area;
- It cross-references its own saved list of posts from your blog so that when you reference a previous post of yours it automatically puts in a ‘title’ tag with the date and title of the post;
- It allows you to preview the post, so that you can see what it will look like in ‘real life’ on your blog;
- It seamlessly uploads and points to images (but not creating a ‘_new’ version of the image on your hard drive as RocketPost did);
- It allows you to preview images in your ‘images’ folder, so you can choose whether to use one already stored on the server or else create/edit and upload a new one;
- It stores previously used urls so that you can re-use them (in a similar way to how browsers cache urls);
- It has an easy-to-access trackback screen that allows you to add trackback uris, and that clearly specifies how it wants you to input multiple trackback uris (e.g. separate with a comma, use [enter] to add uri on a new line, etc.)
- [Addition:] It allows you to edit your ‘pages’ (WordPress) as well as your blog entries.
As I have said before, RocketPost was my ideal tool — doing everything I really needed really well. It just started crashing and crashing and crashing and corrupting its own database.
But since Dave and I have started down this path of an ‘ideal’ offline blog editor, please feel free to add additional features to the list – who knows, maybe a developer will read them and respond to us all.