Quite a while ago I wrote about Palm blogging clients. At the time, I wasn’t really happy with any of them. They all had minor problems of one kind or another, or were missing features.
They still are, but there’s a new app out there that’s showing some promise: u*blog. It’s a Japanese import and the docs aren’t very complete, but the UI is fairly intuitive. There’s a nice programmable tag function, and it will even let you set the category and time stamp of a post before posting.
The downside? It doesn’t seem to work yet, at least on my new TX. I tried to use it to post something recently, and the publish command generated a reset. However, it was a pretty large post, and the software looks very promising. More to follow, if the developer responds to my email.
Ok, I’ve had yet more experience with these clients, and I’m finding them to be a frustrating array of products. Each has a few strengths, several weaknesses, and none are super reliable. The one client, Hblogger, that supports the large Palm screen used on the T3, T5, and Zodiac doesn’t support subjects in WordPress. The client that allows you to pull down posts, Plogit, isn’t very reliable, and I have yet to be able to post with it. Vagablogger, with its attractive simplicity works pretty well (I’ve actually used it for the most posts), but has a quirk or two of its own. Mo:Blog also works, but it’s main attraction is the ability to save posts, which means posts in progress, which means long posts, a keyboard, and the desire to work on a rotated screen, which it doesn’t support. While it’s tempting to list each and every thought, I have to remember that the market for these types of apps is fairly small – I should be grateful I have four to choose from.
But none of these clients have the workflows I think would be ideal:
- There are the quickie posts, where the entry is made with the Palm in hand, and you want to create a short post quickly. You don’t need a lot of writing space, and you don’t want to dig through menus for basic tags and the post button. You need a title, and a pickbox for categories the client has been nice enough to collect for you. A very small push-on-push-off button for publish or draft. In fact, small icons (or even just letters) could serve for the tags as well.
- Then there are longer posts that require enough text that you might want to use the keyboard. This means a rotated display on half-VGA displays, and more text space on the screen. The key here is that the screen can rotate, and the entire screen can be used. The extra text displayed is really helpful in maintaining a train of thought, and creating coherent paragraphs. In this scenario going to menus is ok – more time is available, and maximum text on the screen is the critical element.
- Last are the posts that weren’t meant to be posts. These might be things written in other apps, or might be clips from a browser. This would be a hack to feed text into the main blogging client. This would also allow people to use really serious editors when they wish, to get things like word count and spell checking. You find something interesting, you do the comand shortcut, and it’s in a post. You’ve set a default that decides if it has been put in a queue for publishing, sent immediately, or just saved for later.
I think item #1 should be the main screen – you start the app and the default is that you want to make a simple post. Menus allow you to get to old posts, a screen button allows you to jump to heavy entry mode. At other times, a command shortcut let’s you get the post in to the client for further processing.
I think an application capable of the above, reliable, with the usual level of smaller features, would be worth at least $40 to me.
How about this as a feature to add to a PBC (Palm Blogging Client): You select some text no matter what you’re doing in your Palm, and it’s a blog post saved in your blogging client. So, If you’re Jeff Kirvin and you want to use a word processor to write posts, you can write your post in Docs 6 or whatever, select the text, and off it goes to your client for posting.
Likewise, if you have a memo pad entry that was sync’d down from the PC, you could easily grab that and post it to. Same with links and pages from Webpro and Blazer, and stuff from Snappermail and others.
After all, much of blogging is about distributing the little tidbits we find here and there, that usually have a short shelf life. These kinds of posts should be quick & easy.
I just found out that my last post, which was posted via Vagablogger, was posted without allowing pings and with comments turned off. It also ended up in the wrong category, but I will attribute that to a typing error. The pings and comments might take a little investigation. There aren’t any controls that allow turning these things on and off in Vagablogger, and they are both set to default to on in my WordPress intallation. Hmmm….
I also got a copy of plogit finally. First thing I tried to download 99 posts, and it had an error. When I settled for 10 it worked ok. I haven’t posted with it yet, but it looks pretty promising.