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MarsEdit 3.0: Blogging Software for the Mac | Kestrel's Aerie

MarsEdit 3.0: Blogging Software for the Mac | Kestrel's Aerie

MarsEdit 3.0: Blogging Software for the Mac

Shortly after I moved from the PC platform to the iMac last July, I wrote about blogging software for the Mac. My conclusion then was that the best software for the Mac is actually Windows Live Writer (WLW), running in a virtual Windows environment. The next best option, by the way, is the native WordPress (WP) editor, which is what I use for shorter articles. Yesterday’s “Weekly Wrap-Up” post was written in WLW under Parallels.1

MarsEdit 3.0

MarsEdit3Icon128.pngThis week, however, MarsEdit 3.0 (ME3) was released, and is $40 or a $15 upgrade for current users. The biggest change or improvement is the implementation of a Rich Text Editor: No more futzing around with HTML tags to change header styles, for example. Instead, most format options are readily available from a right-click context menu, or from a drop-down from the menu bar. There is also a Format button in the upper right corner of the RTE window. All windows are identical:

MarsEdit_Format.png

MarsEdit 3.0 Format Dialogue

You can also (obviously) insert media directly; however, there aren’t a lot of options available other than alignment, alt text, and size. For example, I’m unsure how to display a reduced-size image in Lightbox, since I need to specify the file’s URL as a link. MarsEdit doesn’t upload files until you post the article. Obviously, I could upload the images via FTP, but that’s an extra step that I’d prefer to avoid.

ME3 does allow you to upload your post as a draft, which you can then preview and edit as needed from within WP. This is handy for adding the aforementioned image links to enable Lightbox. Server options are shown under the categories list:

MarsEdit Server Options

MarsEdit 3.0 Server Options

By contrast, WP uploads images from a separate dialogue, and at that time gives you the option to include the file link for the image. WLW uploads images when you post articles as well, but it automagically includes the file’s URL to enable Lightbox display. Neither WP nor ME3 gives you the option to specify image margins without editing the HTML image tags.

ME3 grabs your blog’s categories, and has an option to prompt you to include the category (as well as title text, tags, and body text) before uploading. There is also a space in which you can type a new category name. The View menu includes an option to display a “Tags” field, or you can add Technorati tags if you’re so inclined.

There is a right-click context menu which is fairly consistent across selections, but gives you a couple interesting options at the bottom if you select and right-click an image or blank space:

ME3 Context Menu #1

ME3 Image Context Menu

On the other hand, if you select text, the context menu is slightly different (Spotlight is OS X’s built-in search function):

MarsEdit Text Selection Context Menu

M3 Text Context Menu

Overall, MarsEdit has moved to the top of the list when it comes to native OS X blogging platforms. However, it still has some distance to go to match the functionality and ease of use of Windows Live Writer. For $40, I’m not convinced it’s a better option than the built-in WordPress editor, either. On the other hand, if I didn’t have WLW to fall back on, I might be more inclined to purchase MarsEdit 3.0. It’s clearly head and shoulders above anything else I’ve seen for OS X.

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Notes:
  1. I have both Parallels and VMWare’s Fusion; both are excellent, but Parallels makes it a tad easier to launch a single Windows app from the Mac Dock, which in turn launches Windows in the emulator. Fusion is coming out with an update later this month (I’m guessing), so I’ll update and try that again.
 

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One Response to MarsEdit 3.0: Blogging Software for the Mac
  1. Daniel Jalkut
    May 6, 2010 | 09:45

    Great writeup. Thanks for giving MarsEdit such a thorough evaluation.

    I think Windows Live Writer is a great app and there is still much to draw inspiration from. I know there is still plenty of room to grow in MarsEdit, particularly in the media handling department.

    Daniel Jalkut
    Red Sweater Software
    Daniel Jalkut´s latest blog post is MarsEdit 3 Is Here My ComLuv Profile

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