MarsEdit 2 review
Review Date: 20 Sep 2007
Price when reviewed: (about £15)
Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull
As blogging matures, so do blogging applications.
MarsEdit, originally created alongside NetNewsWire by Brent Simmons, is now under the new ownership of Daniel Jalkut at Red Sweater Software. The result is an injection of fresh blood for MarsEdit. MarsEdit 2 benefits from some helpful interface tweaks and a handful of much-needed new features.
Anyone who has used Mail will feel at home in MarsEdit. The blogs you can post to are listed in a sidebar on the left. Adding a new blog is simple, and in most cases is almost fully automatic, requiring only a username and password to get started.
Each blog's posts appear in a sortable list, where they can be previewed in situ or opened in a new window for editing. An options sidebar in the edit window offers finer control over categories and comments, allowing you to amend those settings before hitting the Send button.
Another important change to editing is the addition of a Media Manager, which offers greater control over images. Adding an image is as simple as dragging it to the Media Manager's window, where it will swiftly be previewed and made ready to add to your current draft post.
Even better is its integration with Flickr. Once you have authorised your copy of MarsEdit with Flickr (a two-click process), the Media Manager will display your Flickr-hosted images, and a simple drag is all that's needed to add one to a post.
Browsing a large image collection can take quite some time, of course, so the built-in Flickr search box is very handy. This clever combination of local and web-based software working transparently together is what makes MarsEdit so impressive.
MarsEdit offers the kind of advanced control a web professional would expect, including the ability to use the same styles as your website for local previews. However, adding properly disability-compliant links with title tags (and targets) is now more difficult, which is a definite backwards step.
There's another potential drawback: MarsEdit may frighten off the less technically inclined user, because it's not as Wysiwyg as most people are used to. Blogging apps such as Movable Type and WordPress offer a Wysiwyg editor because it's what millions of users find easiest to use. While many may be happy to dive into MarsEdit anyway, some will be left bemused by the Text Markup toolbar control, which offers help with formatting, but is a long way from the Word-style friendliness of a true Wysiwyg editor.
Regardless, MarsEdit offers plenty of power for both experienced bloggers and newcomers. Under the new ownership, additional new features can't be far away.
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