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Frustrated by the built-in WordPress editor, I decided to try one of the offline blog editors. There are several different possibilities here – Livewriter is perhaps the best known – but, as a Mac user, the system I am using here is MarsEdit seems to get the best reviews.

It is not a free editor – I think it is about $40 – but there is a free trial download which is what I’m using now.

When you start it up, it autoconfigures given the name of your blog and it imports existing blog posts for editing.  This is not something I particularly want to do so I haven’t tried this – but the way in which images are imported doesn’t look very encouraging.

There are 2 things that really piss me off about the existing WordPress editor – firstly, it decides where there should be white space and I have had lots of problems in trying to force it to include some space between objects on a page. So, as an easy test, there should be 2 blank lines between this and the following paragraph.


As you can see, there is the right amount of white space, which is good.  

Secondly, photos. I find blogs where there are very large photos irritating so I want to have a 2 column display for relatively small photos (about 300 * 200 px) that expand when you click on them. The WordPress editor appears to have this capability.

MarsEdit can apparently access Aperture libraries directly with no need for explicit exporting – so I’ll try this with a few photos below. What I should have is a gallery of 4 photos, arranged in 2 columns, with a blank line between these.

IMG 8710

Courgettes, Peppers and Onions

IMG 8716

Stone fruits – ready for roasting



















The Aperture access worked well. You can pick a Library then chose the image from that library. Importing from Flickr is also possible.

As you can see, it seems to get the two columns right but in the first instance at least, I don’t have white space separating the images. Again, I could hack the html but if I need to do that, is it worth using a separate editor? For some reason, there is a little bit of misalignment in the bottom pair of image.

What does not appear to be possible without HTML hacking is to add captions to images. This seems a pretty strange omission to me. I added the caption in the above images in the WordPress editor – it then interleaved the html in the MarsEdit display.

To link a smaller version to a larger image version, it seems that you have to upload the larger image then use the ‘Image from Link’ command to create a link to it. This looks like a bit of a faff to me so I haven’t bothered trying.  

Sending the posts to the blog is easy – simply click on the toolbar button but when you then try to re-edit the post, strange things happened. The first time, two of my images disappeared although they showed up on the preview, then they appeared again when I re-edited.

MarsEdit supports different blogs and would be very useful for managing blogs on different platforms. Its text support seems pretty good but I only do basic things with text and don’t need fancy stuff. Overall, the Media Manager seems quite restricted in its capabilities and the missing capabilities are the ones that I want.

If Marsedit was a free tool, I would definitely use it sometimes but it doesn’t do all that I want so I don’t think I’ll be paying for it. If you just do text posts, I think it would be fine . I won’t give up yet but I suspect that my search for a decent blogging editor will continue.







5 Responses to “Offline blog editor – MarsEdit. First (and possibly last) impressions”

  1. Hi Ian – thanks for giving MarsEdit a try. You seem to have a good handle on the strengths and weaknesses of the app, for the areas you covered. One nuanced point I’d make is the “having to manually edit the HTML” is something that can be done just once in MarsEdit if you set up a custom “Style” for the image you are inserting. If what you were trying to achieve is customizable with simply editing the wrapper HTML for the image, that’s a good solution. You’re right there is no straightforward way to support WordPress-style captions, or the thumbnailing behavior of clicking a smaller image to open a larger one.

    • admin says:

      Dan – thanks for replying – I would be happy to recommend MarsEdit to anyone mostly doing text editing. I could live without captions as these are easy to add but easy thumbnailing is a key requirement for me.

  2. Plabon says:

    Is MarsEdit 3.5.5 fully compatible with Mountain Lion? I am not quite sure but when I try to edit any post my MarsEdit crashes frequently and I keep loosing what I have edited.

    Btw, I didn’t know you can place pictures like that with MarsEdit. I gotta give that a try. One question, do you think I can place adsense with MarsEdit wherever or however (like, alignment) I want with MarsEdit?


  3. Jim says:

    Have you tried the WordPress plugin TinyMCE Advanced?
    WordPress rather nauseatingly automatically strips breaks and other html characters from your post. The plugin stops that, and adds other functionality as well.

    For a host of reasons, I use Word or Open Office to compile posts, and then copy it into Windows Live Writer to upload, which translates things like footnotes into valid html anchors. It isn’t perfect, but it is better than struggling with the WordPress interface as a writing tool; I end up back and forth in html and wyswyg mode rather than writing.

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