15 Desktop Blogging Tools Reviewed

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Desktop blogging tools can benefit designers-bloggers in a number of ways. They provide extra functionality that can significantly speed up the blogging process for both newbies and professionals.

One of the main benefits of using a desktop client is the ability to comfortably write a post offline, and publish it later. Many clients also have a scheduled post feature, so you can define what time you would like to publish your articles. Some editors provide a spell checker, drafts saver, remote publishing and WYSIWYG-editor with advanced formatting options such as inserting media or structuring the post — they may be hard to deal with using standard online blogging-engines.

Let’s take a look at 15 desktop blogging editors which can speed up the blogging process. Some are free and some cost a few dollars, but in the end all of these editors can significantly improve your workflow, regardless of your skills.

Windows Live Writer (Windows)

Windows Live Writer1

Windows Live Writer2 is an impressive blog editor, and is probably the cleanest one. It provides the familiar user interface that one would expect from usual Microsoft applications. Writing a blog entry with intuitive features like a rich text editor and spell checker is easy. Users also have the ability to quickly add images and other media.

The distinctive feature that puts Live Writer ahead of the competition is that you can can add plugins3 to the editor. For instance, there are plugins that seamlessly integrate with Flickr4 and Facebook5 photos; word counting as well as many further features are available as well.

Live Writer is useful for people who don’t necessarily want to mess with HTML and just want to quickly write a blog post, but it’s also great for more advanced users with the ability to add specific features with plugins.

MarsEdit (Mac)

MarsEdit6

The main advantage of MarsEdit7 lies in its ability to integrate with other text editors. The client integrates cleanly with BBEdit, SubEthaEdit, TextMate, or TextWrangler. It has a simple yet robust user interface. Users can define powerful markup macros to insert commonly used snippets of code. The tool works with WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type, LiveJournal, Drupal, and Vox. You can also quickly scan your Flickr library, then insert an image into your blog post with the click of a button.

Another nifty feature is the preview functionality. The tool allows you to build a template to match your blog, then let MarsEdit’s live preview show you how your posts will look before you publish them. Extensive AppleScript support makes it possible to add further features. Price: $29.95. A free 30-days-trial-version is available as well.

BlogDesk (Windows)

BlogDesk8

BlogDesk9 is a robust, multi-language blog editor that supports all of the popular blogging platforms except Blogger. If that isn’t a problem for you, then you’ll love the unique and intuitive features BlogDesk provides. The Image Wizard allows you to upload and edit pictures, without editing images in image processing applications. You can also define frequently used phrases and keywords to speed up your writing time, much like TextExpander10 (Mac).

Links can be easily inserted and edited. If you link to local files (such as MP3 or PDF), BlogDesk will automatically upload them. Dictionaries in 14 languages are available for the integrated spell checker. Posts already published can be edited afterwards and deleted directly from the server. In the Notebook you can insert and rearrange text before you actually use it in your weblog entry. For your convenience you can create multiple categories where text can be saved separately.

Zoundry Raven (Windows)

BlogDesk11

Zoundry Raven12 is a free advanced WYSIWYG-blog editor with XHTML editing, drag and drop from browser-functionality. It also provides the Unicode (UTF-8) support, quicklinks and a template-based preview. Users can manage multiple blogs online and offline and use a built-in indexer that allows to see posts by blogs, links, tags and images.

Zoundry Raven supports Blogger, TypePad, MovableType, MetaWeblog and LiveJournal. The tool is available as a portable application which you can use on your flash/thumb drive. Finally, you can use Raven to create and modify your WordPress Pages just like any other blog post and set WordPress tags as well as import tags from all of your posts.

It is worth mentioning that Zoundry Raven also has an integrated HTML validator built into the code view and includes a publish menu to finalize your decisions, tags, trackbacks, etc.

Ecto (Mac)

Ecto13

Ecto14 is one of the most popular blog editors, and has earned the respect of some top bloggers like Darren Rowse15. It’s a powerful tool with all typical features (Rich text editor, spell check, draft saving, etc.), but it also allows you to extend the functionality by using plugins, much like Windows Live Writer. Amazon’s affiliate scheme seamlessly integrates in Ecto and makes it easier for you to link to a particular Amazon product page.

Ecto also has support for Flickr and del.icio.us. In addition, ecto also lists the tags you have used with del.icio.us and Flickr, so that you can reuse them for your blog entries. The only drawback is that the software costs $17.95, but you can try it out for free for 21 days.

w.bloggar (Windows)

wbloggar16

w.bloggar17 is a professional blog editor for advanced users who are fairly technologically savvy. It’s snappy and has a lot more advanced features built-in than Live Writer. While the interface isn’t as intuitive or elegant as Live Writer and some of the others, it’s a useful little editor.

With w.bloggar you can save posts locally for further publishing, import text files, post to many blogs and ping to Weblogs.Com, blo.gs, Technorati and ping-o-matic. Also, you can download a portable version that you can take with your anywhere on a USB drive. Perfect for bloggers on the go!

Thingamablog (Window, Mac, Linux)

Thingamablog18

Thingamablog19 is a hybrid of a blog editor and RSS-feed reader. It’s not quite as polished as other blog editors, but is great for someone needing a cross-platform blog editor. Setting up the blog is a bit cumbersome for the first time, but not unbearable. You’ll need to have Java Virtual Machine20 downloaded and running on your machine to work.

Thingamablog has a few advanced features that are different from other blog editors. You can import RSS feeds, and you can post to your blog while reading your RSS feeds. It’s a nice program for bloggers who typically write news-related posts. The editor also allows publishing remotely to your blog via email and saving entries as drafts. Thingamablog is released under the terms of the GPL.

Qumana (Windows, Mac)

Qumana21

Qumana22 has an interesting feature that isn’t found in other blogging platforms. If you are interested in joining an ad network for your blog, Qumana has a built-in ad network23 (Qads) that allows you to insert ads into your post.

You can use Qumana when you are offline. Save your blog posts to your hard drive and upload whenever you like. Useful for bloggers on the move. Apart from standard features the editor has a handy little feature called the DropPad, which adds drag-n-drop capability to snag links, pictures and text to a desktop pad. Qumana is very intuitive and is definitely an option worth consdering for both newbies and advanced bloggers.

Scribefire (Firefox)

Scribefire24

Scribefire25 is quite different from the other blog editors as it is a Firefox extension. When you want to blog about the page you are currently viewing, hit “F12″ and the scribefire extension pops up in the lower-half of your browser. You can blog about a specific web page without having to leave the browser. You can also click an icon to move blogging frame into a separate tab, if you’re going to need some more space.

Scribefire isn’t as feature-rich as an editor like Ecto or BlogDesk, but it is fast and easy, and works well for everybody in a hurry.

BlogJet (Windows)

BlogJet26

If you are a power blogger, BlogJet27 is definitely a solution worth considering. While the application costs around $60, it manages to combine a number of useful tools in one clean, intuitive interface. It supports most blogging services, integrates with RSS-readers and also allows you to use keyword-shortcuts (like BlogDesk).

BlogJet cares about typography: it automatically replaces quotes and dashes with proper ones as you type. If you are on the road and there is no Internet-connection, or if you want to finish your post later, save it as draft. Then you can get back to finishing and publishing it. The tool also has Flickr and YouTube support, Spell Checker, Word Counter and Blog Statistics, Post Management and Searching. And BlogJet can automatically insert the title and the artist of the song playing in iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player.

If you are looking for a free alternative, stick with BlogDesk. It has almost the same features and is free. However, if a beautiful, intuitive design is important to you, then give BlogJet a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Flock (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Flock28

Flock29 is a web-browser that has a built-in blogging tool. The blogging tool allows you to blog directly from the page, similarly to Scribefire, with a keyboard shortcut or a mouse click. However, the interface on Flock is a bit nicer, and has a slightly more seamless integration than in case of Scribefire and Firefox. Also you can use the web clipping tool to save and store clips of information in your browser.

Flock is an optimal tool for simple bloggers who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles that come with other blogging editors.

Post2Blog (Windows)

Post2Blog30

On the surface, Post2Blog31 appears to be a very simple blogging tool. If you dig under the hood for a bit, you’ll notice that this lightweight blogging tool has some pretty nifty features. You can quickly add amazon affiliate links to your posts. It even has plugins for Firefox and Internet Explorer for quickly blogging a web page.

The tool also has a “Portable Mode” support, integration with RSS Bandit and Sharp Reader — you can post selected items from these RSS readers using Post2Blog plugin. You can also add Technorati, Del.icio.us, Buzzwords, 43 Things tags to your posts and earn money using “Insert Amazon Link” feature.

The only drawback is that the interface isn’t as elegant or intuitive as other Windows blogging platforms, and the tool isn’t supported by the developers.

Bleezer (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Bleezer32

Bleezer33 is a light piece of software that has all standard features as well some advanced functionality which one would expect from robust editors. Spell checking, pinging services, uploading files and FTP capabilities are available. It’s a handy little tool that is quick and efficient. Again, it doesn’t have the beautiful design that BlogJet has, but it’s free and works smoothly. Bleezer is an optimal choice for advanced bloggers who can appreciate the advanced functionality that the software provides.

Using Bleezer you can work with every blogging service (even Blogger). You can also create custom markup by defining your own key strokes for custom HTML markup. As usual, you can also compose posts offline and post them when you want to. Windows and Linux users should extract the .zip file into a directory and double click the .jar file to run. You will need Java Virtual Machine.

Further Desktop Publishing Tools

Let’s take a look at the brief overview of further desktop blogging tools which may be also useful:

  • AirPress34 (cross-plattform, Adobe Air)
    AirPress was a promising client with a file I/O API for saving FLV webcam videos record and ActionScript / JavaScript bridging to interact with the text editor made in HTML/Javascript. In the last release AirPress supported only WordPress and DotClear. The project’s official page (AdobeAir.org) has somehow disappeared few months ago. We don’t know the reason.

    AirPress35

  • SharpMT36 (Mobile, Windows Mobile 5/6, PocketPC)
    harpMT is an offline blogging tool that is designed for MovableType-based systems. There are three versions of the application: desktop, PocketPC, and SmartPhone, all of which share the same file format for offline drafts. The application uses text boxes for post entry: it was a design goal to not support WYSIWYG. It also includes the infrastructure to support plugins and XML-RPC calls that were designed to inteface with MT or TypePad. Freeware.

Conclusion

If you have little experience in blogging you might try either Flock, Windows Live Writer or Scribefire. Those three have fairly intuitive interfaces and don’t have all the advanced features that more robust programs have. Also, they are free so you can check out what application better manages to cover your needs.

Advanced bloggers looking for a bit more firepower should try Ecto, BlogJet or BlogDesk. BlogDesk works especially well for bloggers who frequently use photos in their posts (Image Wizard). Windows Live Writer and Ecto have extra functionality built in, as they both allow you to install plugins to add specific features.

Every desktop blog editor is a great benefit to any blogger’s toolkit, as it saves time and has features that traditional blog platforms don’t always have.

Related Articles

You may also be interested in the following related articles:

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://get.live.com/writer/overview
  2. 2 http://get.live.com/writer/overview
  3. 3 http://gallery.live.com/default.aspx?pl=8
  4. 4 http://www.flickr.com
  5. 5 http://www.facebook.com
  6. 6 http://www.red-sweater.com/marsedit/
  7. 7 http://www.red-sweater.com/marsedit/
  8. 8 http://www.blogdesk.org/en/index.htm
  9. 9 http://www.blogdesk.org/en/index.htm
  10. 10 http://www.smileonmymac.com/TextExpander/
  11. 11 http://www.zoundry.com/download.html
  12. 12 http://www.zoundry.com/download.html
  13. 13 http://infinite-sushi.com/software/ecto/
  14. 14 http://infinite-sushi.com/software/ecto/
  15. 15 http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/06/21/making-the-most-of-ecto/
  16. 16 http://wbloggar.com/
  17. 17 http://wbloggar.com/
  18. 18 http://thingamablog.sourceforge.net/
  19. 19 http://thingamablog.sourceforge.net/
  20. 20 http://www.java.com/en/download/index.jsp
  21. 21 http://www.qumana.com/download.htm
  22. 22 http://www.qumana.com/download.htm
  23. 23 http://www.qumana.com/qads.htm
  24. 24 http://www.scribefire.com
  25. 25 http://www.scribefire.com
  26. 26 http://www.codingrobots.com/blogjet/
  27. 27 http://www.codingrobots.com/blogjet/
  28. 28 http://www.flock.com/
  29. 29 http://www.flock.com
  30. 30 http://www.bytescout.com/post2blog.html
  31. 31 http://www.bytescout.com/post2blog.html
  32. 32 http://www.bleezer.com/
  33. 33 http://www.bleezer.com/
  34. 34 http://www.sizlopedia.com/2007/09/29/airpress-desktop-blogging-client-powered-by-adobe-air/
  35. 35 http://www.sizlopedia.com/2007/09/29/airpress-desktop-blogging-client-powered-by-adobe-air/
  36. 36 http://www.codeplex.com/sharpmt
  37. 37 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/19/css-editors-reviewed/
  38. 38 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/07/35-useful-source-code-editors-reviewed/
  39. 39 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/06/25-wysiwyg-editors-reviewed/
  40. 40 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/18/productivity-boost-key-stroke-launchers/
  41. 41 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/11/21/web-browsers-you-have-never-heard-of/

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Glen Stansberry is the editor at Web Jackalope, a blog about creative Web development.

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  1. 1

    Did you try ALL of them before saying that one is best of ALL?

    0
  2. 52

    Hello World,

    Thanks for this piece of wor, you also omitted (but nevermind, ;-)) to mention Blogo, which is actually an AMAZING program : easy to use, absolutely beautiful interface (you’ll love the transition and full screen FX) and many useful functionalities which makes Blogo one of the most advanced blogging tool (I’ve tested many one so that I can affirm you that).
    Give it a look !!
    And I promise you I don’t work for BrainJuice, the little company which sells it 25$.

    0
  3. 103

    I have used BlogDesk for about 6 months and find it very useful. As others have commented also, I find that the tagging and custom fields is great. I have set up a list of custom fields that i can then add to the post with a click of the mouse. Tagging is setup for Technorati which is nice.

    but my favorite feature is the image editing and displaying. there are preset image manipulations such as polaroid photo, ripped corner, boxed outine, and a few others. it’s really a nice touch!

    follow me on twitter

    0
  4. 154

    And for Joomla….?

    0
  5. 205

    I’m a big fan of Windows Live Writer, and recommend it to my clients. You said in this article that “Live Writer is useful for people who don’t necessarily want to mess with HTML” – but I wanted to point out that it also has a way to edit the HTML directly.

    See How to use Windows Live Writer to create your blog posts
    for my post on why I like it.

    0
  6. 256

    Hello publisher,

    the URL of “Scribefire” screenshot is linked to “BlogJet (Windows)”. Pls review it.

    0
  7. 307

    gotta give it up for blog desk, seems like it is only one that supports custom fields. (correct me if i am wrong.). if your blog is more about content (text) that bling & if you are someone who can code at an intermediate rate. it is the best tool for you. simplicity..

    0
  8. 358

    Hi there. I’m the author of “Poster”, a blogging tool for Windows and OS X. It’s still at an early version but I’d be keen to hear some feedback. It can be found here.

    0
  9. 409

    I am a windows user and I tried all of the tools mentioned here for windows. I host my own wordpress blog on my own linux box and it’s in a password protected folder on my linux box using HTTPS, SSL, port 443. So I have a separate username and password to login to my “site”, and then another username and password to login to my wordpress blog. I was only able to get Deskblog, ScribeFire and Blogjet to connect correctly to my blog. the rest of the tools, including LiveWriter, as far as I know, do not allow for the separate username/password that I just described. It’s a shame because I’d like to try all of them. BlogJet was quirky in that it wouldn’t display the photos embedded in my posts, and ScribeFire would only pull the past 20-30 previous posts, and I couldn’t figure out how to change that number if I wanted to back farther than that. BlogDesk seems to burp if I pull more than 120 posts. (Why would I want to do that anyway? Just cuz. They are there, so why shouldn’t I be able to?) For now I will be sticking with Deskblog until the others allow for the extra username/password or until someone can tell me how to tweak the tools so they will account for this.

    0
  10. 460

    That’s good knowledge. Thanks.

    0
  11. 511

    fahjfksah fjksha jfhsajk hfsjkah fashk jfsa

    0
  12. 562

    I hear ecto now has custom fields also

    0
  13. 613

    Thanks for the list. I will definitely be
    sending a lot of my readers to check it out for
    themselves.

    0
  14. 664

    Thanks for the content. I will definitely be sending a lot of my readers this way.

    0
  15. 715

    Great list.

    0
  16. 766

    First of all, great list! Has anyone found a tool to embed videos on WordPress? I’m trying to embed my Ignitecast presentation in wordpress. It’s an embed code, so I can’t just paste the code, it removes it when i create the post. Any idea? Thanks!

    0
  17. 817

    Very useful article, thank you. And great to hear everyone’s thoughts.

    0
  18. 868

    hmm. bookmarked

    0
  19. 919

    Nice article. Bookmarked.

    Techsweek

    0
  20. 970

    Microsoft Word 2007 is always best and secure to publish blog directly from Word to any blogger like Blogspot, WordPress etc.,

    read this article http://allaboutoffice.blogspot.com/2008/05/post-blogs-to-your-blogger-directly.html

    0
  21. 1021

    Good list! Thanks.!

    0
  22. 1072

    Thanks.!

    0
  23. 1123

    so many powerful blog tools are not for linux , i really don’t know why,who can change this

    0
  24. 1174

    Another great list. I’m meeting more friendly and helpful bloggers each week. Great Idea ;)

    0
  25. 1225

    Hi,

    Do any of these applications also edit pages on a blog? I’ve found with the ones I’ve tested they edit posts, but not pages, which seems rather odd (only tested with self-hosted WordPress).

    0
  26. 1276

    Great list of tools. thanks
    I had a questions, it would be very nice if u answer-Is there a tool similar to these just to create a complete offline blog…like a digital journal just for personal use and not to get it online?

    0
  27. 1327

    Skimlinks also just launched a great desktop tool for bloggers to download to help with affiliate marketing. It’s called SkimKit and it’s a live database full of millions products connected to Skimlinks merchants and also includes deep links and shortened links for publisher to put directly in their content. These links are automatically monetised so when a user clicks on them and then make a purchase, the publisher makes money. Should be a useful tool.

    0
  28. 1378

    Would you please update your post. I can’t believe that there is still no competition to Windows Live Writer. Is it still the only piece of software with a real theme preview?

    I tried out all the alternatives… they don’t even support headings. Unbelievable. Very lame.

    0
  29. 1429

    Bit disappointed, I thought there will be some really awesome one, i think the best one might be – Windows Live Writer….currently downloading…

    0
  30. 1480

    Loved your theme. as well as this post. Already using windows live writer and blogdesk. but thimgamablog and flock sound interesting

    0
  31. 1531

    Before reading this post I have no idea what are blogging tools but now I am sure I will use these tools for my blog. Thanks for this informative post.

    0
  32. 1582

    Was it by some means saved or do I do retype the whole factor?

    0
  33. 1633

    These are very nice tools for blogging…
    I hope these will help me better to prompt my blog…Thanks for sharing good stuff.

    0
  34. 1684

    Hi guys try adding NewsAssist to your list of tools? NewsAssist is an open source Firefox add-on that provides an editor (blogger, journalist) all necessities for News Searching, Editing, Publishing, Content distribution to social media. It is a powerful tool and a great working environment that is fully integrated with Firefox. It is aimed to increase the productivity of blog and website editors without having to leave the web browser.

    firefox extension

    1

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