Offline Blog Post Editing on Mac OSX – Part 3: Ecto
In this 3rd part of our series on blog post editors for Mac OSX, we will review ecto 3.0 by illumineX a software company that has also made iBlogger, a blogging app for the iPhone. Ecto is a commercial software which license costs $19.95. It also has a free 21 days trial mode.
Picture 1: Ecto supports many blog systems
On install, ecto needs to know the blog system. One can choose among an impressively long list of platforms (see Picture 1). Then, after giving the URL of your blog, ecto asks for the administrator login and password. Your first blog account is ready. You can add other accounts if you wish, since ecto does support having multiple blogs.
Once an account is created, your recent posts are retrieved, so you can browse them locally. All media are imported too, including embedded ones such as youtube videos that you can play inside ecto (see Picture 2). Note however that the rendering is different from the actual one that can be viewed on a web browser.
Our biggest disappointment is about editing new posts. The font is too small and we didn’t figure out how to make it larger. And you can insert only one tag a time. It would been better to accept a comma separated list of tags. Another missing feature is a view displaying only used tags. Currently, chosen tags are hidden in the list of all your tags, and can only be distinguished by a check.
On the positive side, ecto editor plays very well with other applications. You can copy/paste images or text from any into a post. All text formatting is preserved, including links. Speaking of links, new ones can be inserted by clicking a dedicated button. The URL of a new link is preset with the clipboard content if it your last copy or cut action was on a website address. Another nice feature is that URLs are displayed as tooltips when hovering links. Unfortunately, updating links is not as nice. Although changing the URL or the title of a link is done through the very same window used for inserting links, it has to be brought back using a right click menu instead of the button used for link insertion. Changing the anchor is even worse. We failed to add a single character to an anchor in the Wysiwyg editor. The only alternative to switching to the HTML view is to remove the link, then put it back after changing the text.
It is worth mentioning that ecto provides multiple small utilities and assistants that might help the blogger. We will only mention a few of them starting with the autosave and the ability to edit post summaries sent through RSS feed. All categories and tags from your blog are within reach in a side bar. And, there are two helpers that allow you to search Amazon and Flickr for images and links. Last, we should mention that ecto allows setting up post properties such as enabling/disabling comments or trackbacks.