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Hey Mac Developers – Can Someone Make a Decent Blogging App?

Windows Live Writer

I’ve been blogging, for others or for my own sites, for around 6 years now. When I started out I was using Windows machines and all sorts of different apps or web interfaces to draft and publish posts from. A few years ago I switched to using a MacBook and I haven’t used a non-Mac PC since.

One thing has prevented me from cutting all ties with Windows though. One thing has caused me to run a Windows XP and now Windows 7 virtual machine for years. The lack of a decent blogging app for Mac. I run a Windows 7 virtual machine solely because I want to use the superb (and free!) Windows Live Writer app.

I’ve tried various times to find a Mac app that is comparable with Windows Live Writer (WLW) but never succeeded. In fact, I cannot find a Mac blog editor app that even holds a candle to WLW. Last week my generally awesome MacBook Pro was getting a bit sluggish, and it spurred me to take a look at Mac blogging apps again – in the hope of being able to get rid of my need to constantly run a virtual machine on it.

So I spent the better part of four days looking at the ‘leading’ Mac blogging apps, and for three of those days I kept Parallels Desktop and my Windows virtual machine shutdown.

This is what I found out: there is not a single good blogging app for Mac for my needs anyway, and there’s just a huge dearth of even decent apps in this category. Talk about a gap in the market – this one is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Here’s why I say this:

— The three leading Mac blogging apps, as far as I can tell from a ton of searching, are MarsEdit, Ecto, and Blogo. Three apps. Blogo does not yet support OSX Lion, and by the sounds of it its developers are stretched to devote any development resources to it at all just now. Ecto also does not appear to have a lot of current support and is erratic and buggy to use to say the least

So that leaves one out of three – the one that is most often named as the best Mac blogging app, MarsEdit. I’ve looked at MarsEdit a few times over the years but last week I gave it sustained try over the course of several days. And it was riddled with problems and shortcomings, including:

— It has a major issue with removing line breaks at random if you use (the well respected and commonly used) Minify feature with handling of line breaks on along with a cacheing plugin. WLW has no issues with this.

— It doesn’t import a site’s template – so its preview mode is more or less useless.

— If you try to split a post (add a More break) the split is never made where you ask it to be made. Not only does the split not ever go where it is intended to go, but once you attempt to split a post you suddenly lose the ability to easily see the text that’s in the latter portions of a post. The app’s developer even admits the UI for this ‘broken’ and not good at all – but has no timeframe at all for when it may be improved.

— I found no easy way to insert video into a post.

Windows Live Writer does everything that these three ‘best of class’ Mac apps fail to do. It makes creating, editing, and publishing blog posts simple and fast. It has a UI that’s a lot like MS Word and is basically just a pleasure to use.

So needless to say after my ‘experiment’ last week, I gave up and fired Parallels, Windows 7, and Windows Live Writer back up. I’ve got my MacBook Pro running like a champ again and I’m happy to be using an app that actually works, doesn’t require dumb workarounds for basic actions, and is a pleasure to work with.

I have to say I find it astounding though that there is so little and such poor choice when it comes to blogging apps for the Mac. If any of you reading this are Mac developers looking for new app ideas, please consider creating a good blogging app. Thanks in advance.

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  • I’m with you, homes. I’m no software dev, but I can imagine a world of perfect blogging apps I cannot (yet) build myself.

  • I find this glaring gap in Mac software painful as well. I’m trying to set up a non-tech-savvy new Mac user (my mom) with a blog, and finding it painful and frustrating to show her how to do stuff without Windows Live Writer. The best option for Mac users is the WordPress built-in editor, which of course, you can’t use offline. So what I’m thinking about is getting her to compose her blog post in MacJournal since it can be done offline, and then post it in draft mode to the blog, and then add images and format the post there. It’s awkward and painful.

    I might just have to add parallels on her machine just so I can get Live Writer. There really is no mac equivalent.