After reading Apple Gazette’s fairly positive overview of Blogo 1.2, we decided to give the stand-alone blogging application a try. (We tried out ecto and MarsEdit in the past, and ecto still stands as our victor.) From Blogo‘s screenshots, we were hopeful that the application could seriously stand against ecto, as it looks quite polished, with a nice feature-set and much better-looking UI than ecto, albeit one that could still use some polish.
One of the first things we noticed when we started Blogo up is that after easily adding mendax.org to our list of blogs, Blogo imported a number of recently published posts. While ecto does this also, the key difference is that Blogo imports saved drafts at the top of the list, whereas ecto drops them to the bottom as if they were posted weeks, months, or years ago. The ecto team claims that this is a WordPress issue, but it’s clearly surmountable.
Blogo also has a nice full-screen editing window that can be toggled. This feature makes Blogo great for authors who post longer entries on their respective blogs, or authors who like to keep their desktop free of distractions while writing. Also, Blogo has a nice preview mode for blog posts, which actually generates a template of your site by connecting to the site in question and grabbing the requisite style-sheets and related documents. All in all, were quite impressed with Blogo up to this point.
Sadly, this is where Blogo’s strengths end, for even with a nicer aesthetic to the interface than ecto, our experiences with Blogo went downhill quickly. Firstly, there’s little image manipulation that can be done. While some may argue that margin sizes should be handled by a blog’s style-sheet, we still like the fact that ecto lets one adjust image margins without hacking up the HTML code for a blog post. We also like that after aligning an image to the left or right in ecto, that text is automatically wrapped around the image. In Blogo, the HTML tags inserted didn’t display the word-wrapping well at all, and we couldn’t find a way to fix it without getting down to the raw HTML.
Blogo also doesn’t show a list of tags previously used. While typing a letter brings up a small window of tags starting with that letter, it’s not as simple as visually check-marking the tags you want assigned to a new post. In this respect, ecto’s implementation is better, though Blogo could run with both ideas and make the tag list an optional, detached window (like the comments window it sports).
Before submitting our first test post, we changed the time-stamp to the following day, so as to queue the post for later publishing. Unfortunately, Blogo ignored our preference and published right away, which is a bug that shouldn’t have made it out of beta testing. A similarly annoying bug was noticed during the editing process itself, in which italicizing or bolding text via command-I and command-B, respectively, did not work unless text was selected.
Finally, after publishing a post, we retrieved it with ecto to make changes. Immediately, ecto complained about HTML syntax errors. After fixing them, we took a look at the image we uploaded, and noticed that Blogo automatically changed the left and bottom margins to 10 (the image was right-aligned). It’s silly that Blogo doesn’t let users change this value easily.
All said and done, Blogo is a stand-alone blogging application with promise, though very simple bugs are making it to release, and that’s really unfortunate. As it stands, the application needs more testing, and more refinement, before it can really stand up to ecto or MarsEdit. For $25, Blogo shouldn’t sport a version number of 1.2 with these kinds of shortcomings.