MarsEdit 2 Review

MarsEdit is a blogging tool for people who take their blogging seriously. Its big appeal is peace of mind: You can compose posts locally and archive your work. Anyone who’s ever lost a blog post owing to a browser freezing or site going down will appreciate this tool.

One of MarsEdit’s great strengths in its previous edition was the ease with which bloggers could set up the software to publish to specific types of blogs. A new feature extends this smooth transition between the desktop and the web: You can now add your Flickr photostream in MarsEdit’s Media Manager. With two clicks, we had authorised the software to access our photostream, and MarsEdit downloaded the most recent shots. If you include a lot of images in your posts, this can simplify the composing and editing you do offline. If you have multiple blogs, you can share images between them thanks to a centralised image library.

While the previous version of MarsEdit was most effective for bloggers who had a working grasp of HTML, this update is friendlier to markup newbies. To start a new post, choose the New Post option and begin typing in the pop-up window. To format the text, highlight the chosen text, then select the specific option from the Markup drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the window. Although your post will be filled with markup tags instead of WYSIWYG text, it beats trying to work out how to format a post yourself. However, one formatting quirk persists: it’s still necessary to insert tags at the beginning of each paragraph, despite the local preview pane showing properly formatted text. We found a script that inserted the paragraph tags in entries, but it required poking around through assorted menus. This feature could be made easier to find.

This version of MarsEdit has corrected one of the few downsides of the previous version by letting you set the preferences for both comments and trackbacks. You can access this feature by clicking the Options button in the toolbar at the top of a new post’s window. A pane slides out with the blog’s categories, plus server options regarding text formatting, comments, and trackbacks.

If you’ve pasted a URL into your clipboard, selecting the Add Link option will produce the required field with the hyperlink already pasted in. This will save time for people switching between a website they’re writing about and a post they’re composing.

OUR VERDICT

MarsEdit 2.0.4 is worth considering if you’d like the comfort of composing your posts locally and keeping backup copies. Its media-management tool is simpler and more intuitive than many other web-based options.

A 30 day trial of MarsEdit 2 is available to download from http://www.red-sweater.com/marsedit/.

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