Saturday, September 6, 2008

Blogger clients for Linux

Since Blogger is so annoying, I gave a couple of dedicated blogging clients a try. Here is a short summary of my findings. An important requirement for me is that the client runs on Linux (Windows is optional, but not required). WYSIWIG editing is not important to me, as long as there's some kind of preview feature. And there must be a way to post images.
A GTK program, written in Python. Last updated in 2005. Couldn't get it to work, obviously.
Another Gnome program. It is not in the Ubuntu repositories and the most recent Ubuntu package is for Dapper, which is ancient and fails to work. Then I noticed that image upload is not supported, so I didn't bother trying to build from source.
A Java program, runnable from the web via Java Web Start. The password that you type into the program is shown in plain text on the screen so at that point I gave up. I do not want to use a program with such disregard for basic security and user interface conventions.
Gnome Blog
Sits in the way in your system tray. Not what I was looking for.
A Firefox plugin. Ironically much better than all the standalone applications. For now this is my program of choice. The image upload does not work for me, however, so I filed a bug about that. ScribeFire seems to be pretty well maintained so I expect that they'll get back to me soon.

News flash: Blogger still sucks

Just need to rant again. Sorry. Some more things that are wrong with Blogger and have been around for ages:
  • When inserting an image, the <img> code is inserted at the top of the post, not in the place where the cursor is. You need to scroll all the way back up, cut the code, then find the place where you were typing in the annoyingly small box, and paste it there.
  • The following crap is Blogger's idea of good image code: <a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://…"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://…" border="0" alt=""id="…" /></a> The part where the cursor is specified and then immediately overridden is my favourite. I haven't looked at the “deselect gracefully” bit but I suspect it is equally awful. And don't these guys know that you can specify CSS in a separate file instead of repeating it on each and every element?
  • The preview does not use the actual CSS from the blog, so the formatting will come out all different from the preview.
  • When toggling to preview mode and back, you are thrown back to the beginning of the post, and you'll have to scroll back to the place where you were typing. Did I mention that that box is annoyingly small?