Ok, so I have been searching for a viable solution to a small problem of mine, which is the ability to create new posts while offline. I want the ability to then be able to publish them, once I find a connection. Granted this isn’t much of a requirement these days with everything from wwan capable netbooks, notebooks, tablets, portable hotspots, mobile phones with built-in hot spots, cell phone tethering, and so forth. I however, do not have any of these types of devices, and don’t think I will have them soon either. There are also the times I want to write posts where service is unavailable, such as aboard on airplane or where service is unavailable. This quick blog post is going to demonstrate my testing of applications that can perform such a task. So as an overview, the list of requirements:
- Run on a PC, preferable Ubuntu Linux (Gnome)
- Offline editing, including addition of images.
- Ability to load previously published posts
- Works with wordpress, particularly the xml-rpc posting.
This browser extension seemed relatively awesome at first. It is very lightweight and installs very easily with firefox extension manager. There are numerous methods to get to the interface, such as
- Right-clicking a link or image, and go to the Scribefire context menu
- Press the F8 key while in firefox
In firefox, press tools -> scribefire
By default, it splits the browser horizontally and give you the lower half as the blogging interface, however you can change this in the settings to open in a new tab or browser.
You can setup multiple blogs & sites in the right sidebar, and a bonus, you can post a single article to all of them, or so that’s what I think.
The interface is just a basic WYSIWYG editor along with basic tools for web content, as seen below:
If you are offline, you can save the content of your post as a note, and once connected you can then publish, and I didn’t notice a limitation of how many notes you can save. There is the ability to even search through multiple notes, using the right side panel, along with managing your blogs, previous entries (if online), post categories, and such.
Right off the bat I thought this was going to be my solution, but the problem relies where I want to include an uploaded image, while I am offline. Scribefire tries to instantly upload the image to blog, and doesn’t seem to ever time out. It would be better if it cached the objects you want to work with, then uploaded it when you publish the post, but instead you get this:
Being I like to upload media with the bulk majority of posts, this application is not my solution. Outside that, this would be my number 2 selection as per the fact that it is platform independent.
Moving onward, I go to the Ubuntu Software Center, and just query the term: “blog”. Now I have a handful of applications to test. Damnit, oh well, I didn’t feel like working today anyways, so I’ll get started, with the order they appeared. Being I am using Gnome, I am sticking to those, and exluding the KDE apps, since I am not in the mood to screw around with KDE libraries…
Blog Entry Poster
This application is simply what it says. No formatting of text outside of bold & italics, then there are links. That is it. This is the entire interface:
This is not what I am looking for. “Blog Entry Poster” is not my solution.
Upon trying to install, it instantly errored out on a python dependency on my Ubuntu 11.04 system which is up to date. I decided to go ahead and try the KDE version, installing it while I was at lunch.
I am starting to get impatient, and I instantly jumped to the image button:
Lekonee is not my solution.
Upon loading this up, I instantly had problems connecting it to my account on my wordpress blog. This is mostly my fault as I had just domain.com instead of www.domain.com, relying on the 301 redirect to handle that. I guess QTM doesn’t like that. The account setup isn’t very user friendly, but manually entered in everything, and it worked. The interface is, well I will say, different. There doesn’t seem a very intuitive way to format font size. Actually, looking at the interface more while writing this is making me hate it more:
And furthermore, in order to work with images, you have to upload them manually, then post the URL to the image:
And I cannot seem to find a way to load existing posts. QTM is not my solution.
This didn’t even load up. It started to, then errored out, and I am not trying to figure out why after attempting to loading it from terminal:
BloGTK is not my solution.
Doesn’t support wordpress, or XML-RPC:
Drivel is not my solution.
Thinking outside the box labeled “offline blog editors” I got the idea that maybe, just maybe I will use a regular word processor to do what I want. I can save them as document, the prepare them as needed when I find my connection. Then I got the idea “wait, LibreOffice has extensions.” So I jumped into the extention manager in Libre Writer in search of what I had in mind. I eventually found my way to this list of openoffice extensions that work with libre office, which did not have what I want, despite having a similar extension for wiki sites. I went on over to the OpenOffice.org site, and found their extension library. BINGO! They have Sun Weblog Publisher. I quickly downloaded the extension and tried to install it with LibreOffice Writer, which failed miserably. I went on over to the OpenOffice.org and on their download page it states:
So I guess some kind of fight happened between the debian and oracle? Because when I install “openoffice.org” from ubuntu repositories, I end up with LibreOffice.
Moving forward, I am simply going to assume there is no software that meets my requirements in the Ubuntu Linux world. Maybe later, I will familiarize myself with RedHat or CentOS, though my preferences really are BSD or Debian Based.
Microsoft Live Writer and Microsoft Word 2007
Both Live Writer and Word 2007 do exactly what I want, though Live writer is free. I wrote this entire post using Word 2007, well because I am at work, and we haven’t had the budget for deploying Office 2010. But as far as Live writer goes, here are some awesome features:
- It uses CSS detection from your primary theme
- You can set up numerous site accounts and blogs.
- The ribbon has everything you need, categories, tags, post date.
- You can add pictures & videos upon publishing which get uploaded upon publication.
- Support for adding images from clipboard, which is awesome when coupled with snipping tool. no need to deal with cropping images.
- One problem with this is there is no way to name images, which can destroy some SEO tactics.
- Images automatically get a nice 3d shadow, and can be resized easily.
- You can load previous posts, and save them locally.
- Extendable via plug-ins
Here is a quick preview:
I really hate to admit it, but Microsoft… You have my solution.
If any readers find a linux alternative to Live Writer, i am begging you, pleeeeease leave a comment in the regard. I really do not like Windows on my home computers.