Retread on ScribeFire

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Well, here I am, posting from ScribeFire … again.

I’ve used SF in the past, and I had a lot of reasons to like it … and a lot of reasons to dislike it.  We’ll see how things go this time.

It’s got a greatly improved image-handing feature, which is nice.  It’s also been integrated with Zemanta, which is awesome.  (You can see my post on Zemanta on my Software Reviews page.)  Of course it does standard things, like insert links, images and YouTube videos.  There’s even a nice li’l “YouTube” button on the tool bar now.  And it allows you to insert special characters with a button click too, on that same tool bar.  Neat.

It allows you to add a post splitter, and insert custom HTML tags.  It will switch from the editor view to a source view, and allow you to customize the coding behind the post.  Another nice feature.  It’s still category-centric, but WordPress has become tag-centric, so I’d like to see it yank down tags from the blog and present them in a selectable area, too.  Re-using tags is nice and it’s how bloggers, at least on WordPress, connect.

It will still allows you to ping places like Technorati, and insert tags for them too.  It allows modification of the post time/date, and has a series of tabs along the side of the editor window for adding ads, allow you to promote the post in places like Digg and Facebook, and if you want the editor out of your way you can configure it to open ScribeFire in a new window, tab, or just leave it at the standard split screen.  And the split is resizable, so you can fit it to your comfort.

All of those are very nice features, and it has several others too, like saving your content to a note, allowing you to clear the content in one button click, and deleting the post altogether.

One of the things I hated about SF was its inability to remember the blog’s own spacing for text lines.  It smashed them together so the white space was more compressed.  It adversely affected, in my opinion, how the blog looked and impacted my wiliingness to use SF.  WLW gives no such guff when posting and does a great job.  It’s also slow, and memory-intensive.  But there is an external portable app launcher for it, so if you want to run it portably (and you don’t, trust me) it can be done.  With SF there’s no way to do that unless I run it against FireFox portable, which is disastrously slow all by its lonesome; add SF to it and it’ll probably die.

While SF makes blogging on the fly while surfing the ‘Net easy, it’s not going to be my blog client of choice for a couple of reasons.  One, I have to have the browser open to work with it.  I don’t like having to blog within the browser; I can do that with WordPress’s own editor.  I don’t need ScribeFire in that event.

Second, it’s interface is sort of ugly.  That’s not a big deal, but it’s not my favorite interface.  Who likes working with ugly?  Trust me, I’ve had enough people say this to me as they were walking away to know from being ugly.

Finally, while ScribeFire seems improved, it still lacks the ability to auto-link things.  For instance, in WLW, I can type “my beloved”, “my wife” or “DarcsFalcon” and all will automatically become hyperlinks to LOML’s blog.  ScribeFire doesn’t seem to have a feature like that.  That’s a big one.

Another drawback is my inability to insert the copyright blurb automatically at the bottom of each post.  I can just choose a text template in WLW to do it.  WLW also has the ability to track the word count in a post.  While this might not seem like a big deal initially, it is when you’re trying to optimize the readability of your blog.  (I’ve mentioned before, 400-750 words is the range you want to be in if you want consistent traffic when you post.)

But ScribeFire is fine for those spur-of-the-moment, inspired blog-type posts.  It launches quickly, and gets you going in a hurry.  It also allows you to insert images from the page you’re on, so if you have something you want to capture, when coupled with Fire Shot, ScribeFire becomes a great way to rip off fast and frequent posts.  If you’re running a high-volume blog with heavy-duty updating, this might be a better option than wielding the powerful but clumsy Windows Live Writer.

All in all, I like ScribeFire.  I always have.  But I also like the advantage of being able to save a draft of my post and work on it offline.  (When you’re out of work as much as I seem to be, being able to belly-ache offline is a good thing.)  So it’s not going to be my client of choice.  I figure I’ll give it a couple of posts, try and shake it out, and see what features it has that I like and don’t.

If you’re looking for an in-browser, nice little replacement for the editor on your own blog, or something to give you the ability to post from another web page, this is a good choice for you.

Happy blogging, everyone, and I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day weekend.

God bless,

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