17 November 2008

Blogging software

...or why I like some things better than others.

I found out one thing by using a web browser as a blogging/writing platform: it sucks for medium to long posts.  As most of my posts are medium to long to full length novel and beyond, that is a critical factor in software use for me.  After Blogger lost my Xth long post in work, I did go over to using Open Office for my writing (although it used to do a hatchet job on HTML that I don't care to describe), and it is *still* my preferred writing platform for longer posts that don't need scads of hyperlinking or blockquoting of text.  If anyone ever makes a plug-in for it (or the next version supports posting natively) then it will be my platform of choice, hands-down, for long entries and will need a test or two on HTML compatibility with blogger (and the rest of the known universe).

Until then I have been looking at the offerings from a few places, with MicroSoft being the prime one with Windows Live Writer.  It has some big pluses: able to work on multiple blogging platforms, has a relatively easy to use interface, will download your template so you can see how things look immediately, a handy-dandy spell checker and supports the native picture system for uploading pictures (and other non-text media).  The downsides are a few:  does not lend itself to some blogging platform native ways of doing things (like going for a smaller text font size in blogger), does not let you set when it should do incremental saves on work, and while swift for small and medium posts, it is slow as sludge on long posts.  Those formatting annoyances and slowness for my more typical post length size keep it from winning out... those formatting issues are in my template and yet WLW does *not* pick them up.  Dealing with longer posts is something of a heartache for everything but a full-up word processor, it appears.  Also WLW does *not* save to a platform neutral format file, and for portability of work that is a huge minus.

That said, this post is being written on WLW.

The other choice I have been looking at is Zoundry Raven, which is a platform where you can join in to 'making money with this software' by opting in to post links to advertisers, or *not*.  I am not doing so and am looking at it for its one very useful feature: it can be run off of a memory stick of usb microdrive.  That is becoming a bit of an issue as of late as I have had to split time between multiple machines.

Zoundry Raven isn't bad, really, but suffers from some sluggishness as it is compiled to have a number of python scripts in it, which allows for greater cross-compatibility of code, but slower execution of same.  I haven't really put it through its paces for text formatting as of yet, either, although it is doing a good job of that so far.  Like WLW you can use it to see how a post looks 'in-situ' which is a help.  Its pros, so far on a partial test: has a downloadable spell checker (perhaps not as good as WLW), uses a template for immediate checking of post, and is portable.  The cons are numerous:  slow with medium posts, tends to save out frequently to a stick drive (which is not good), does not upload to platform specific multi-media areas (that I'm aware of) preferring a third party like ImageShack, and is mindnumbingly slow on saves for longer pieces.

Portability is a trump card, but, yea and verily, it has some negatives to it.

Basically the best of all worlds would be having Open Office Writer upload to blogging systems directly, and let me take files around on a memory stick and then auto-synch with local hard drives as I move from system to system... or store it on the external drive when I'm not on a home system.

I am about half-way or so on the Pico-ITX system which will be a local file server, and then things will change, yet again.  At the moment I am drilling out a motherboard holder for it and once that is done it is only finding a way to get external connectors for everything.

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