Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Monday, April 2, 2018

back to the blog with MarsEdit

As I’ve noted several times over the years, I do almost all my writing in a text editor, BBEdit. But when I write a blog post in BBEdit, the process of getting it onto the blog is not as straightforward as it might be. I write a post in Markdown, convert it to HTML, and copy it to my clipboard. Then I open a browser tab for the relevant blog/blogging platform — WordPress for my personal blogs, Blogger for this one — paste in the text, add some tags, and hit Publish. 

I can do all this very quickly, and save a step or two with Keyboard Maestro, but even so it’s not ideal. The estimable Dr. Drang has written some scripts to post directly from BBEdit to WordPress, but I lack the skills to make those work for me, and I can’t even imagine having the skills to write an equivalent script for Blogger. So… 

I’ve owned Daniel Jalkut’s blogging app MarsEdit for a long time, but just recently have dedicated myself to using it every day — and it’s great, a marvelous piece of software. You can write in rich text, HTML, or Markdown (the last slightly awkwardly, but it works) — it even lets me edit a post in BBEdit if I want. MarsEdit offers very convenient options for pasting in links, and also serves, if you wish to download your previous posts, as a backup for your blog. 

For me, one of the most useful features of MarsEdit is the ability to draft a post in any of my blogs and then with a dropdown menu change it to a different blog (this feature aids in cross-posting also). 

When I’m done drafting and adding tags, I click “Send to Blog” and it uploads flawlessly, every time. 

MarsEdit has been around a long time, and I hope will be around for a long time to come. Frustration with most of the dominant social media platforms has led to a mini-revival of blogging, which I hope will become a full-scale revival. Austin Kleon has been blogging daily for several months now; Dan Cohen has gone “back to the blog”; Gordon White recently wrote, "Last night, sitting by the outdoor fire, drinking and ranting into a wordpress window as in the days of yore was joyous.” The great Warren Ellis has noticed: "My RSS reader is starting to get nicely repopulated, and the more people who notice this, the better the world gets.” 

Let’s do this thing. Let’s bring back the blog. And if you have a Mac and want to make blogging as simple and seamless as possible, use MarsEdit

2 comments:

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up, Alan!

  • Oh yes oh yes.... I've been doing a daily blog for, well, nearly 17 years at americandigest.org .

    Here's Cobb, another ancient blogger [On Typepad no less!] saying Bring Blogs Back - Cobb

    Everybody who thinks about it knows it to be true. Social media isn't working the way we thought it would.

    There are a lot of reasons. Some are simple and some are rather complex. But let's look at the simplest reason and to my mind, one of the most important. You don't own your own words. When you live on Facebook's property, you don't own your own words. They can be deleted by someone other than you. They can be banned by someone other than you. You can hardly even know what you said a year ago by searching for it. I don't mean to suggest that Facebook alone is capable of this, but it is the 900 pound gorilla. The same things are true of Twitter and the comments sections of hundreds of new media outlets.

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