I use a desktop blogging platform for writing my blog entries. It’s something I’ve always done, and was, in fact, the whole reason I found Fahim in the first place. I started with Fahim’s Blog, but lately, it hasn’t been serving my needs quite as well. Fahim’s switched over to a Mac, so doesn’t do any development work for Windows any more, so he suggested I switch to something else that’s been kept up-to-date a bit better.
BlogJet is one of the apps I’ve taken for a test drive–it has a 30 day trial period, thankfully. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out as well as I would like.
- BlogJet 220.127.116.11, released 13 September 2007
- System Requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003 or Vista; Internet Explorer 5.5 or later; 10 MB free disk space.
- $39.95 for single user, unlimited blog. (There are other pricing schemes – you can find them on their website – but this is the cheapest).
I’m using Windows 7, and even though it’s not listed on the accepted Windows O/S list, because Vista is, Windows 7 should be completely compatible.
Error receiving more than 200 posts from the server
The first problem I encountered was this. I posted to the BlogJet forums.
– BlogJet 18.104.22.168
– Windows XP
– WordPress 2.8.1
– http://srilanka.laurieashton.com (~1400 posts) + http://lmashton.com (720 posts)
I’m new to using BlogJet and haven’t decided if I’m going to continue using it or not. Whether I do or not depends on whether this following problem can be fixed.
I have four blogs. Two have no problems receiving posts from my server, but they also have less than 200 posts each. The two blogs I have problems with are listed above.
If I try to receive 200 or fewer posts, it retrieves those with no problem. If I try to receive more than that, I get the following error message:
[Boring error message deleted that basically means that trying to retrieve all those blog posts results in a memory problem at the server end.]
Which looks to me like it means doing this sync is trying to take up more memory than my server allows. Since I can’t change how much memory I’m allocated, either I need to fix something or I need to find another way to import all my blog entries in.
The answer I got was basically that I was out of luck since there was no other way for BlogJet to import old posts.
Happily, Fahim is a geek and found a workaround for me, which I also posted to the forum:
I’ve solved this problem by exporting my entire WordPress blog. Then set up a virtual server, installed WordPress to that virtual server, and imported the entire WordPress blog. Then I changed the hosts file to point the URL for that blog to the virtual server. Then retrieved the entire blog history of posts.
I did that for both of my larger blogs. It’s a pain in the butt to do, so I would rather not have to do it again, but it works.
But that wasn’t the only problem I encountered.
Old posts disappearing
I also posted this to the forum and am currently awaiting a response.
– BlogJet 22.214.171.124 Trial
– Windows 7
– WordPress 2.8.4
The blog URLs don’t seem relevant since it’s happening with all of them.
I’ve just noticed that, as I post new blog entries, old ones – as in, the ones at the very beginning of my blog – are disappearing from the BlogJet history. They still appear in my blog just fine and I get no error messages. But those older blog entries are no longer available through BlogJet.
Is this a “feature” of the trial version? Is there a finite number of blog posts that BlogJet can hold, and when it’s full, it starts dumping old ones from history?
While I do have a method in place now for an alternate way to retrieve those old blog posts (see this forum post), it’s a time-consuming pain in the butt that I’d rather not have to go through.
Is there a way to fix this or is it going to keep happening?
I like keeping all of my history since
- It serves as a backup on my own computer in the event that something goes severely wrong on the server and backups there are lost or corrupted
- I have a tendency to go back and edit old posts. Like when tagging was introduced to WordPress and I started adding tags to old posts. Or when I changed the locations for where I stored my images.
- It’s faster to scroll and search through locally-saved posts than to run a search on a website, especially with the Internet speeds that we can get here.
But if my old posts are going to disappear, and I can’t easily retrieve them in light of my first problem, then BlogJet suddenly becomes a lot less convenient.
Native tagging is supported.
Or so BlogJet claims. In reality, I haven’t yet been able to get that work, whether in Windows XP or Windows 7. And it’s not related to any tagging plugins–removed those to test it out. It just doesn’t work. The tags become Technorati tags, but will not become WordPress tags.
Oh, yeah, this is another problem. I’ve gone searching through the forum posts looking for answers to some of my problems. The number of posts that go unanswered are… well, they’re worrying. And when they are answered, there seem to be an awful lot of “BlogJet doesn’t support that” or “BlogJet can’t do that” or “It’s coming up in a future release, but I can’t tell you when that’ll happen, and no, I can’t give you a patch now.” There’s even been a comment to the effect that the upcoming version of BlogJet is a complete overhaul, which isn’t a problem in and of itself, but that it may lose features.
Um, there are still so many basic features that it doesn’t have.
- Like the ability, in WYSIWYG view, to make text Heading1, Heading2, Heading3, and so on. I instead switch to HTML view to accomplish that.
- Or the ability to easily make a backup of the database with all the blog entries. Instead, I go through Explorer through Documents & Settings to the location where the BlogJet data is stored and make a copy. That’s a hassle. Yes, it’s something that I can do, and easily, but what about everyone else out there who isn’t as skilled with computers? Sure, you can do a backup of a post, but what, you’re supposed to go through and manually do a backup of all 200 or 3000 posts? That’s not at all realistic.
- How about saving an entry in mid-type? I can publish interim versions as a draft, but that’s not quite the same.
- A decent dictionary. This one doesn’t recognize words like “website”, and certainly doesn’t recognize a lot of plurals for nouns that it does recognize. Bizarre.
Or less basic features, like the ability to set a default URL for images? I keep all of my thumbnails in one place on my website’s server, and that’s where I always point the images to. That would save me time.
It also has “features” that I don’t want. Like it adds unnecessary HTML. Um, no, I have a css style sheet which specifies all the styles I want for everything. I DON’T want BlogJet to add anything other than what I specify and only exactly what I specify. So when I add a <blockquote> tag, I want just the <blockquote> tag, NOT <blockquote style=”MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px” dir=”ltr”>.
The end result
At the end of the day, it looks like BlogJet is still too completely unsuitable for my needs. Which is unfortunate. It has a nice looking interface that’s reasonably intuitive, it mostly works, and, at $39.95, it’s a decent price that I would have gladly paid. If it worked.
If you use a desktop blogging program that you’re happy with, please tell me about it. If it looks good, I’ll likely take it for a spin and see if it works for me.
Meanwhile, these are the desktop blogging platforms that remain on my list to try out:
- Qumana Blog Editor – ad centric
- Windows Live Writer
- BlogMate plugin for TextMate
The ones I’ve reviewed:
- BlogJet 126.96.36.199, released 13 September 2007
- Zoundry Raven Beta 1.0.375, built on 08/05/08
- Anconia RocketPost 2 Pro 2.5.441
- BlogDesk Version 2.8, build 400 from 22 February 2009
Ones that are otherwise out for me:
- Bleezer – mac only
- Blogo – Mac only
- MarsEdit – Mac only
- Ecto – Mac only
- Zoundry Blog Writer – it became Zoundry Raven, reviewed above
- Scribefire – Firefox plugin, not desktop blogging platform
- AIRPress. AIRPress no longer exists. Its domain is owned by squatters.
- Flock – web browser with built-in blogging, not desktop blogging platform.
If you know of other desktop blogging clients for Windows, please let me know. I’ll add ’em to the list and take ’em for a test drive. 🙂