Blogging from the Palm

I know that WordPress supports email posting, but looking through the posts it seems to be a dicey business. With a trip coming up, and the desire to blog on the go, I thought I would look into the various Palm blogging tools available.

Today I tried Vagablog, Hblogger, and mo:Blog. All have the basic functionality of creating and publishing a post. I canâ??t comment on the compatibility of programs with the various systems â?? all I can really comment on is my experience.

Vagablog is the least expensive, at $7. Its registration reminder is unobtrusive and unavoidable â?? you get 5 posts, and they warn you when the program starts. The interface is very simple â?? the first screen you arrive at is a post screen, with title and category at the top, and a â??postâ?? button at the bottom. There are no multiple blogs, and there is no way to save a post. This app seems to scream out at folks who are making lots and lots of short posts â?? key it to a hard button on the palm, hit the button, bang out the entry, hit â??postâ?? and you are done. Very simple. It does not take advantage of the dynamic graffiti area on my T3.

Hblogger is a bit more pricey at $14.95. Its registration reminder is a bit more obtrusive, which is unnecessary â?? the app runs for 15 days. Why they feel the need to remind me of that every time I try to do something important, I donâ??t know. It supports the dynamic graffiti area on my T3 just fine.

Anyway, the Hblogger is prettier than Vagablog, and is aimed at a more leisurely posting pace. You get drop downs for HTML tags, Live Journal stuff, and post options. Below that you select the weblog, the definition of which includes which category you are posting to. For whatever reason (perhaps because it was unregistered) there was no space for the post title â?? just the space for the post itself. After you write a post, you can send it, save it, or move it to the outbox unsent. Not sure what that last one is for. Being able to set up multiple blogs gives the user very easy access to categories vs. typing them out on Vagablog. On the downside, the manual is a bit sketchy, and the subject line for posts is missing in my instance.

Mo:blog is $12.50, and is probably the best deal, although it does not support the dynamic graffiti area. It offers the same level of functionality as Hblogger, but does it in a more attractive package. It also does it with the most annoying registration reminder method Iâ??ve seen yet. At various times, when you are trying to send a post, or doing something else, it will pop up a countdown screen and make you wait for up to 15 seconds.

Even so, between mo:Blog and Hblogger, I would probably pick mo:Blog unless I was using Live Journal, in which case Hbloggerâ??s special LJ features might win the day. Based on features, though, the choice isnâ??t easy. Both allow image upload and access to VFS for images. Both let you send all unsent posts across multiple blogs in one go. Mo:Blog does manage snippets where Hblogger doesnâ??t seem to.

Neither does a good job with images, in my opinion. Both allow you to specify a directory to find a file, but they donâ??t give you any way to look for a file when you go to insert it into a post â?? you are picking from the files in the directory you specified. This wouldnâ??t be a problem if all the photos you might want to pick from where in one directory, but they arenâ??t. Most digicams create a new directory for every 100 pics. If you donâ??t know the exact directory the file is in, or what the file name is, youâ??re screwed. So you really have to spend some time with the camera (or accessory software on the palm) to note the name of the file, and itâ??s location. I can empathize with not adding complete photo browse functionality, but could you at least give us the ability to go up and down directories, and see what files are there?

If you do manage to figure out exactly which file and directory you need, thereâ??s one more hurdle to cross if you are arenâ??t using integrated networking â?? when you pull out the photo card to put in the WiFi card to send the post, the image is no longer available. Neither app saves a copy of the image with the post to avoid this.

At this point, I just donâ??t see either app having useful photo ability. In a pinch it can be done, but itâ??s more hassle than itâ??s worth to me.

If I look beyond the photos, I feel mo:Blog has a nicer interface, although that infuriating delay-based reminder may drive it out of my palm yet. It even makes me wait when I cancel out of a menu!

While all three are certainly functional, and Hblogger & mo:Blog offer a fairly complete experience, there are features I want that none of these apps have:

  1. I want to be able to pull down existing posts that have been saved as drafts, so I can edit them. If I start a post on the palm, I donâ??t want to be stuck editing it on the palm. Since posts can be kept on the site as drafts, it makes sense to store them there.
  2. I want to be able to adjust the posting date. I tend to get post ideas in clumps, but I don’t want to post them that way. With WordPress, I can simply post-date an entry and it appears when its date passes.
  3. Iâ??d like to be able to manage categories, or at least add new ones.

As it turned out, Iâ??ve registered all three. I will play with them further over the next few weeks.

[1/4/2004 – Here is some more on Palm blogging clients]

2 thoughts on “Blogging from the Palm

  1. Dude, thanks for a very interesting blog entry on Palm Blogging software. I’m looking into it as well and HBLogger indeed lacks the correct interface to WordPress with regards to the subject line…

    I’m going to check out the alternative you mentioned.
    Keep me informed on your findings !

    Like

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    I’ve decided that Vagablog doesn’t really suit my style – I think it’s best for the folks who blog many thoughts throughout the day.

    That leaves Hblogger and mo:Blog. I’ve had some trouble with my Hblogger registration, so m:Blog is what I’ve been playing with. But as yet I have not made a post using it 😉 I’ve started a few though!

    One thing I’m finding I really miss is a spell checker. I’m also missing some way to publish the posts as drafts.

    Like

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