Tuesday, August 09, 2005

ecto

I've been using this program to do my blogging for about a week. So far, it hasn't replaced the blogger.com website.

What I don't like

  • The inability to update multiple posts at once
  • I'd like to be able to update multiple posts, save them to my computer, and then upload them all at once. I've already had to change just about every post on my blog twice in the last week, and doing it one post at a time isn't really any easier than doing it through the blogger.com interface.
  • The “old or new” dialog
  • This is incredibly annoying.
  • Constant connection errors
  • Almost every time I refresh/post/do anything I have to deal with disconnects & having to retry the operation.
  • User Interface
  • There are several little quirks in the interface that need to be taken care of to make this program top-notch. One of them being the tag editor in the options pane of the post window. I've had a lot of trouble with tags appearing multiple times, tags disappearing, and tags reverting to the default-“puppy”.
  • No link support
  • The API used by blogger supports specifying a link for each post, there's no way to set this with ecto.

What I do like

  • Multiple blog support
  • I contribute to two blogs, so this is handy.
  • Preview
  • This attempts to display the post the way it will look in a browser. Most of the its close.

I'd like to see the PREVIEW functionality be implemented a bit more like the blogger.com website. The fact that it pops up another window is pretty annoying. They should look at Dreamweaver, and the way you switch from code to split to design mode, only I think the options code, design, and preview would be more appropriate. Having the OPTION to open any of the 3 in a seperate window would be great. (Not even Dreamweaver can do this)

I also think that this tendency to have everything appear in a separate window extends into other portions of the program. There's HTML Tag Templates, Account Manager, Notification, Settings, Templates, Console, and Status. The first 5 could easily be incorporated into the Preferences window.

The preferences window

There's something lacking in the interface here... It doesn't feel very refined. The font options shouldn't be here, it should be a toolbar button that references the standard font/color dialog. The recent entries pane lacks the option to automaticaly retrieve posts & save them locally. The options for retrieving posts from the server should be independent of the local cache options. The only interface options are setting window transparency. Again, I think this is something that you should be able to control from the window itself. Not to mention grouping some windows together could be annoying for some people who use this feature. The “other” options seem kinda out of place, but I'm not sure where else they'd fit in. These are the kinds of things that should be on a General tab (not other) and, IMO they'd be better as the first pane. There are a lot of advanced options to choose from, but if the entire preference system was improved, a lot of them would find a better place.

Console

This is the protocol log, it details the interaction between the server and ecto. This information is quite helpful if you run into problems with the software. I'd like to see the ability to store this info in a log, along with the status information.

Status

This small, useless window contains information that you would expect to see in the status bar. The info isn't useless, just putting it in its own window is.

Final Thoughts

I like not being tied to the web interface that blogger provides. I can't say that I'll be ready to shell out for this app after the next to weeks, but we'll see...

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2 Comments:

Blogger BM5k said...

The "draft" functionality doesn't work either...

8/11/2005 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger BM5k said...

And I can't set the date/time of a post. Useful for when I forget to post things on time.

8/11/2005 01:32:00 PM  

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