Both MarsEdit and MacJournal appear to have strengths and weaknesses relative to what I’m trying to do, which is compose and edit blog entries in a single location, and post them to both WordPress and Livejournal and thus keep two blogs synchronized while I figure out which to stick with.
Initially I liked MacJournal better, because you can create a single “entry” and once it’s composed, send it first to one blog and then to the other. MarsEdit uses a different organizational structure in that every blog is kept in a separate folder within the window, and each blog entry must be composed in one blog or the other, then copied-and-pasted into the other blog. Though this is less than idea, the two blog folders are only separated by a tiny bit of screen space, so it’s still more convenient than separately managing the two blogs.
When I post images to my blogs — something I’m trying to do less frequently now, unless there’s a good reason, because it makes composing the blog entry more difficult and time consuming and thus something I’m less likely to do often — I upload the images via FTP to my own server (hypnos.com), in a sub-folder, and then link within the post to the image URL. This way, I always know where my images are, what they’re named, and I can download them, mess with them in Photoshop, repurpose them or whatever. Using the image attachment feature of the blog itself just stashes the file away on WordPress or Livejournal’s servers, and isn’t how I want to do it. I have plenty of storage space on my own server and this seems more in line with how I edit and post to the hypnos.com web site and online store.
Here’s where the problem with MacJournal reveals itself. MacJournal is promoted as software for blogging and journaling but it’s really best suited for private diaries, note-keeping, or journals, rather than a full-fledged blogging tool. There’s no means of editing the HTML code of your entry, which reveals just how limited MacJournal is as a blog editing tool. Also, as I’ve worked with this software in evaluation mode for two days, several times it has completely lost track of my Livejournal settings and I’ve had to re-enter them from scratch. I don’t mean just re-entering or confirming my password, but entering all the blog address, username and password information as if I’d never entered it in the first place. For these reasons, MacJournal just isn’t going to work.
MarsEdit has some weaknesses. I already mentioned that each entry must be duplicated from one blog into the other — not a deal-breaker, but I wish there were a way of creating just a single entry and then cross-posting (even if it takes two steps). Another weakness is the lack of tag support within Livejournal. My WordPress posts can be fully edited and manipulated within MarsEdit, no problems I can find at all, but Livejournal posts cannot have tags entered. If I want to tag my Livejournal posts I’ll need to log into Livejournal’s web interface and do this manually. I figure this is the direction I’ll go, just log into Livejournal every once in a while and tag all the entries I’ve made.
MarsEdit HTML support is great, in fact it looks like it could be a perfectly good interface for editing regular old web site pages (though it wouldn’t function for uploading your files — it only works with blogging platforms), as it has HTML code interface, WYSIWYG editing, and a web preview capability.
One final downside to MarsEdit is the requirement for OSX 10.6 (that’s Mac talk, for you Windows fellers), and my old laptop, on which I work first thing in the morning while I chug my iced coffee, is stuck on 10.5 because it’s an old Powerbook G4, and 10.6 won’t install on PPC processors like this. So assuming I work with MarsEdit, which is how it looks at this point, it will have to be only on my various newer Macs.
Note: this blog entry continues to get a lot of views months later, so I wrote a followup entry here.