Question: Why Use a Blogging Client?

23 Nov

So someone very honestly asked, "Why bother using a blogging client at all?". Well, what better way to answer than in a blog post? Since I’ve just finished moving house and don’t get broadband installed until Friday (using my mobile phone), I figure this is as good an excuse as any to get back on the ball with my blog. Lets get to it, then!

First: Itty-Bitty Advantages

To start, I’ll just group up a bunch of 1-sentence, less-than-140-character advantages. Saving blog-posts locally is a life-saver for me on my netbook, for when I’m on-the-go and need to punch out a blog post. With Blogilo, you can also download your blog’s theme locally to preview your blog posts without an internet connect (again, an awesome feature for when you’re out-and-about). Using a client also means you don’t have to open your web-browser, go to your blog’s home-page or admin-page, then tell it you want to write a new blog-post – open the client and you’re ready to type, straight away. If you run multiple blogs, you can also just set them both up in the client, write out your blog post and pick which blog to upload to (or post to both). If you have different blogs with e.g. different blogging providers (WordPress and Blogger, for example), then it doesn’t matter to the client: it looks and works exactly the same way.

Next: Long-Winded Explanations

Screen-Space Stress Test

A simple experiment can be done to see which application uses screen-space most efficiently. In fact, it’s so simple I can explain the whole process in one screenshot:


Oooh dear. That website doesn’t seem to be coping well.

Yeouch. Hell, I’ve done everything I could to get Firefox to save space, and yet… ouch ouch ouch. Blogilo wins this one, even before you remove the toolbox.

The reasons are obvious. WordPress.com suffers all the weaknesses of trying to make an application out of a document-layouting language, while Blogilo benefits from the full power of modern-day desktop application toolkits: this is evidenced by the fact that, despite not having enough room for the Visual Editor tab’s toolbar, the toolkit knows how to properly manage that situation (hide some buttons at the end). Moreover, because you only ever open Blogilo to actually post something to your blog, that’s all it has to display: web interfaces also need tools and navigation for visiting your blog, managing comments, visiting other people’s blogs, managing your account, managing media etcetera, and that stuff scoffs space. The website looks, feels and works like… you guessed it – a website. On the other side of the fence, the desktop client looks, feels and works more like a document creator, which is good – since the focus is on the document and not the rest of the interface.

Lots of people complain that screen-space isn’t really that important, especially when you’ve got a large monitor. They’re half-right: screen space doesn’t matter if you’re only ever doing one thing at a time. However, the more screen space my blogging client takes up, the less I have for, say, a website I’m referencing, an E-mail I’m reading or what-have-yee. I like being able to see all this stuff at once, and the less screen-space that’s wasted on the application itself the better. If I only ever wanted to see one app at a time, I’d buy an iPad. Nooo, thank-you.

Features, Features, Features

That’s all well and good, but it counts for naught if the client just makes me do more work to make my totally awesome blog-post… totally awesome. Fun times, people! The client wins on this side, too.

Because the rest of the chrome takes up so little space, they can afford to cram in buttons that add extra formatting options (headers, lists, the standard BIU stuff, changing the text colour, alignment and tons more fun stuff). This is all stuff that (at least, in WordPress) I’d have to go into the HTML editor to enter in manually – which is annoying, especially for lists.

Managing multiple blog posts at the same time is easier, too – for two blog posts, you’ll have two tabs in your blogging client and nothing else. In a web-browser, those two tabs could be mixed in with any number of other tabs or grouped with some task in the task-bar somewhere, which can make it a pain to find them (of course, you can do stuff to negate those issues like just having your actual blog posts in a separate window from your main task, but with a blogging client I don’t have to do that kind of stuff). All the more comprehensive stuff is there as well – the current post’s permalink (if it’s already published), post summaries, scheduling posts, submitting posts as drafts, downloading current posts, submitting edits to those posts and deleting posts. I’m sure it’s something to do with a lack of relation to blogs, rather than technical feasibility, but the only thing I’m really missing is a, "make me a cup of tea" button.

But Most Important of All…

The client is prettier. :3

On a more serious note, getting a blogging client written in your preferred toolkit means you get a client that integrates well with your DE (and you can even make KDE apps adopt the GTK+ theme, giving you no excuse to use anything other than Blogilo 😉 ). That means it works and behaves in a way that you’re familiar with and in a way that you have already told the computer you want applications to behave in.

That’s all I’ve really thought of right now, but I hope it’s been enlightening. Thanks for reading, people. 🙂

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8 Responses to “Question: Why Use a Blogging Client?”

  1. Cyrille Berger November 24, 2010 at 08:00 #

    You do know that you can reduce the menu on the left ? And increase the size of the text box in wordpress ? Because once you do that, both blogilo and wordpress gives you about the same space.

    • the Madman November 24, 2010 at 11:39 #

      Is that the absolute max you can trim down the cruft in WordPress? Because removing the toolbox on the right and the toolbar at the top is as much as you can remove in Blogilo.

      Still looks, “Oh Dear” worthy to me.

      Although, further inspection reveals a bunch of formatting options in WordPress under, “the kitchen sink”, which I didn’t see before ’cause of the size of the window. :/

  2. Eric Mesa November 24, 2010 at 12:42 #

    Thanks for creating this blog post in response to my question on identi.ca. When I saw the screenshot up there, I thought WTF is going on there? And why is The Madman using such an old install of WP? Then I realized that you’re on wordpress.com (as opposed to running your own WP install) But, the fact of the matter is that I don’t know what the heck’s going on with your screen there. Anyway, enough about the screenshot.

    I’d say that my response is as follows:

    Useful to Me:

    Meh:
    -The ability to open Bligilo and start typing: Nice, especially if you can’t wait to get your idea out. I usually have WP open anyway most of the time so I can see my stats

    Not Useful to Me:
    -Work on a blog post without an internet connection – I almost never find myself in this situation. But when I do I can just type it into emacs, vi, Kwrite, Kate, gEdit, etc Then I just paste it into WP when the connection comes back. The advantages I see are being able to have the links and formatting right, I’ll concede that. But most of the time I don’t have any formatting in my text and I need to look up links (which would need an internet connection) The ability to d/l your blog template to preview how it will look even without an internet connection is a very neat bit of tech. But I, personally, don’t do anything that complex. I just center my images and keep them < 500 pixels wide.
    -all the formatting you mention is there in my WP blog. Perhaps wordpress.com is some hobbled mess?
    -everything in the paragraph after formatting is also there in my WP blog

    In conclusion, I now understand why someone would want to use a client like Blogilo. I also see that, none of the advantages apply to me. So, for now, I continue not to use one. But thank you for helping me evaluate whether or not it was useful to me.

    If I may posit one bad think about using Blogilo specifically – the next version doesn't support spell check. But my web browser does. And if you have to copy your posts into some other program to check the spelling…you're really losing a lot of the efficiencies.

    • the Madman November 24, 2010 at 14:12 #

      Well, first things first: the next version *as it is right now* doesn’t support spell-checking, but that’s not to say they’ll not just reference Sonnet and get spell-checking in there in time for the stable release.

      Other than that, though, yeah: it’s a different way to do the same thing. I can only say what’s actually, genuinely better about a client than a web interface; I can’t say, “that’s enough reason for you to use a client instead of the web interface”, ’cause that’s your decision to make.

      • Eric Mesa November 24, 2010 at 14:26 #

        True. And, again, I really am grateful you wrote it. Before I had no ideas why anyone would want to use one. Now I have reasons – they just don’t apply to me.

  3. EiNS November 30, 2010 at 12:44 #

    Still looking for better blogging client for Ubuntu other blogilo…it’s unintuitive, ugly yet buggy as hell…

    the best blogging client for linux is nothing compared to Windows Live Writer 2011 on Windows

    • the Madman December 13, 2010 at 23:28 #

      You realise… non of this is really constructive, right?

  4. Jason "moofang" February 1, 2011 at 12:37 #

    Nice post. You’re convincing me 🙂 I’m gonna give blogilo a shot the next time I write.

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