A Quick Look at the MarsEdit Weblog Editor
by Derrick Story
MarsEdit is a full-feature weblog editor. The advantage to using a separate client for your Movable Type posts is that you don't have to be online as when you use Six Apart's web interface. You can create your posts locally using a variety of writing tools, then upload at your convenience.
I've been using ecto for posting to my TheDigitalStory blog, and have enjoyed it. I decided to give MarsEdit a whirl yesterday and used it to post Favorite Photo Gear of 2005. I'm a good test for a weblog client because I take advantage of Categories, Technorati Tags, Keywords, open comments, and TrackBacks.
My first impression is that MarsEdit is a joy to use. It sports a clean UI that you'd expect from Ranchero (feeling very NetNewsWire like), is very easy to connect to your MT server, enables roundtrip editing in your favorite text editor (in addition to its own friendly editor interface), has easy-to-use image uploading (uses a separate window that also catalogs your previous image uploads for easy repurposing), includes an RPC console, and is AppleScriptable.
If you post to multiple weblogs, you can easily manage your work in the side-mounted options drawer. You can access your unpublished drafts here too. MarsEdit also has a handy "edit date" feature that I think is useful for resetting when your post is timestamped.
I depend a lot on "categories" to organize my posts on TheDigitalStory, and ecto has difficulty managing these for my site. I choose a category before uploading, but it often isn't posted to the server, forcing me to repost a couple times before I can get the category to stick. I was hoping this wouldn't be an issue in MarsEdit, but alas it wasn't any better. Possibly I have a problem with my configuration...
Other than the category issue, which may be my doing, I thought MarsEdit worked beautifully. I think it's particularly well-suited for those who post to multiple weblogs. If that's you, I'd take a look at this up and coming client.
Minor (but frequent) frustrations
Here in the office we've used MarsEdit for some time to post to a dozen various WordPress installations. There are two minor-sounding but surprisingly painful problems with the setup, though because one never hears back from Ranchero, we've never established whether they're purely MarsEdit's fault, or a problem that comes up when you cycle a post through your blog software's XML-RPC.