MarsEdit Blog Editor – Review January 2011

As anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know I have been searching for a blog editor that that meets my needs since I moved to my Mac last year. I have tried Blogo, Ecto, MacaJournal and ScribeFire. Heck I even attempted to use CrossFire to see if it could run a couple of the better Windows based blog editors. None of those met my needs for varying reasons.

I have been playing with or should I say using MarsEdit for the last week or so and finally decided to buy it tonight.

Product Name: MarsEdit
Company Name: Red Sweater
Type: Desktop Software
Company Product Description:
Screen shot 2011-01-21 at 8.49.47 PM.png
This screenshot was taken from Apple’s Mac Store, where I decided to purchase MarsEdit How much does it cost? $39.99
Is this the first time reviewing this product: I have mentioned that I have tried and didn’t like MarsEdit a couple of times before, but this is my first review of the actual product.
Do my students have easy access the product? No. They are not supposed to download software onto their MLTI laptops and the cost $39.99 puts it out of the price range of the majority of my students. This relatively high price was one of the factors that I have to get over before I could bring myself to buy it.
Do I currently use MarEdit in my classroom? Not yet, but I plan to have my different blogging accounts put in here by the end of the weekend so that I can easily post to whichever one I am using. Especially, my Mr. Shaw’s Blog, which I use as my school blog and to archive my weekly plans, communicate with students and starting in a couple of weeks, working on how to post to a blog there, before we move on to a personal blog.Is MarEdit intuitive and easy to use or is there a steep learning curve? MarsEdit is not that hard to use, but to use it to its capabilities, there is a learning curve and a shift in how things are done. In some respects MarsEdit was counter-intuitive until I actually sat down and started using it. Then as I got used to how things are done I could see the logic in setting up MarsEdit like it was.

How does MarsEdit apply to Special Education? It really doesn’t. However, many people involved in Special Education do blog and they also have Macs, so a review of MarsEdit may be interesting to them. What I like: Setup was quick and easy with Blogger, MarsEdit has a history built in and the default setting is the last 30 blog posts. I really liked that I was able to back and edit an old post that none of the other blog editors I have tried over the last couple weeks could fix and I was able to get the line spacing so it looked correct after it was published. I really like the ability to have an almost live preview of how my blog will appear, this will lets me see how my blog post will look and helps me catch errors that I used to catch after posting.
Screen shot 2011-01-21 at 9.46.22 PM.pngWhat I don’t like: The biggest that that I don’t like is the lack of a formatting toolbar/inspector, instead formatting is either accessed by shortcut keys or a drop down menu. It seems as though many of the older Mac programs have this same configuration issue and this was one of the big reasons, why I didn’t want to use it in the past.

Screen shot 2011-01-21 at 9.18.57 PM.png
The other thing that turned me off, was having to have 2-3 different windows open, to create a blog, I prefer to have a single window open and be able to switch between tabs, just seems less “messy” and use less screen space (I can see the benefit of being able to look at the preview while typing in the editor window.), but having separate windows for the blog editor and main window seems unnecessary. I am used to being able to resize images by simply dragging a corner, it is a bit more involved with MarsEdit and photos can become pixelated if you are not careful.
No built in connection to Zemanta, which would be the cherry on top if it did.
Finally, $39.99 is probably a bit steep for the casual blogger, compared to other similar software.
Right now I am still in the learning the more advanced features of MarsEdit, so I am still a newbie, which can be frustrating, as I go along, some of the quirks of the program will not bother me, like they do today. I simply have to use the program more to become familiar with it.
What are the other options/programs that do the same function that I have used, how does MarsEdit compare to those? There are several programs that are blog editors like Ecto, Blogo, Scribefire, MacJournal or the Windows based blog editors. I bought Blogo last year and didn’t like how it did picture management and it seems like not a lot of development is taking place over there right now? Ecto just didn’t work for me.
I tried MacJournal and while I really liked how it managed images, but I didn’t like its tool bar configuration (it was better than MarsEdit’s though) and a couple of other things. The old Firefox original ScribeFire had finally reached a level of maturity that I was comfortable with, but the new versions for Chrome and Safari browsers just wasn’t what I was looking for.
MarsEdit still lags behind Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer as far as what I want from a blog editor. However, for the choices that I have available for my Mac right now, MarsEdit appears to work best for me.
The reality is that MarsEdit was not an instant “I love it” piece of software, that “wowed” me the first time that I used it. I had to come back to it several times over the past year, in order to understand how powerful, yet simple to use MarsEdit actually is.
The more I use the different features and get used to the logic used in its design the more that I am beginning to like how it works. The one thing that I forgot look at before, I purchased it was its ability to add videos, hmmm now that I thought of it, I don’t see where video support is located? Oh well, it isn’t like I use video all that often and there is always the Blogger editor to add something else in, like I will with Zemanta, so it isn’t a big deal, but might have made me stop a little longer before buying it.Recommendation: It is pretty simple – I bought it. From what my research has shown me, it is the best blog editor for the Mac side of the house. As long as you don’t plan to post lots of videos, I believe it will do what you want quickly and easily. The more I use it, the more I like it, I just wish it wasn’t quite as expensive.