BlogJet 2 Desktop Blogging Application Reviewed

Teli Adlam —  May 22, 2007

One of the best ways to critique blogging software is to actually write the review entry within the software itself and document anything you come across as you go. In that vein, this blog entry is currently being written in BlogJet, a commercial desktop blogging application ($39.95) designed to help blogging productivity.

BlogJet Editor It’s been a long while since I last downloaded and played around with BlogJet. In its original form, it wasn’t enough for me to fork over the cash for a full license. Since then, it’s gone through an entire make over and is sporting a bunch of new features. So, how does it fair this time around?

Quick Pros

  1. Intuitive user interface, with an option to change the look by choosing one of a number of available themes.
  2. Basic color coded HTML editor with error highlighting and tag auto-complete in code view.
  3. Word count, with an option to view character, word, and paragraph count[1] .
  4. YouTube and Flickr content integration (if you’re into that sort of thing).
  5. Voice recorder (attachment) uploader.
  6. Tag support with a customizable URL, so you can link to internal tag pages as opposed to Technorati[2].
  7. Customizable ping list with trackback support.
  8. Supports FTP upload[3] or API upload if your blog software supports it.
  9. Replaces certain typographic elements with their HTML equivalent, such as curly quotes or typing dash twice will yield an em dash.
  10. Auto replace. Great for the lazy typist (like me); words that you commonly type can be configured to be replaced automatically. For instance, I’ve set it up to replace _wp_ with WordPress[4].
  11. Thumbnail image support.

Quick Cons

  1. No HTML code blocks. To insert a block of code, you would need to switch to the HTML editor, locate the position in the post where you want the code to appear, type it, then switch back to the WYSIWYG editor.
  2. No custom HTML tag support[5]. Though nice to have, the auto-replace feature does not replace this.
  3. No way to strip paragraph tags in favor of line breaks before publication.
  4. Sloppy code if the blogger isn’t careful. Some of the afflictions included empty and unclosed paragraph tags, and random non-breaking spaces. (No idea why, did nothing out of the ordinary which would generate them.) Sloppy Code Example
  5. Borks previously published WordPress entries. WP doesn’t use paragraph tags when it saves a post from the admin panel, therefore, when you download the entry into BlogJet, it lumps the content all into one giant blob with no logical divisions[6].
  6. Inflexible toolbar. Adding or removing options from the visible toolbar is not possible, and logical items (i.e. Save icon, Open icon, Font formatting, and so forth) are removed. Though shortcut keys are favorable, it’s still nice to allow the user to decide which lesser used icons should disappear and which oft used icons should be included in the toolbar.
  7. Randomly inserts the word “Array” into the trackback field in WordPress admin panel. (This wasn’t discovered until the post was uploaded for editing in the admin panel.[7]) — See Dmitry’s comment

Wish List

Of course, there are a number of additions that would, in my opinion, take this software leaps and bounds above most others. It should go without saying that this wish list is in addition to improvements on items listed in the “Quick Cons” section.

  1. Lightweight image editor which would allow you to paste an image from the clipboard as well as add a class or ID to an image when inserted.
  2. XHTML support with in line styles for font formatting as opposed to the font tag and support for all closed tags including horizontal rules and line breaks. (This is actually taking a step backwards as version 1.0 did output compliant code.)
  3. In line spell checker to underline any misspelled words while writing.
  4. Built in thesaurus. Nice to have, but certainly not a deal breaker.
  5. Save toolbar settings on close. Currently, the toolbar starts up with all the available toolbars visible, although I set only formatting to display.
  6. Auto Save. Anyone who’s written an extremely long blog entry then lost it due to computer error, human error, or just some random act of nature before being able to save it would appreciate this feature.

Final Verdict

I like the software, however, it certainly doesn’t increase my productivity as much as it should for the price. If it takes longer to write an entry using a desktop editor than it would by logging into the admin panel and publishing, something is amiss.

In what appears to be a move to simplify the software, it seems to have been inadvertently over-simplified; many features that would be useful for a power blogger are missing.

The question then becomes, does BlogJet make blogging easier and quicker? For the most part, yes, but there is much left to be desired. Despite being outweighed by the pros, some of the cons (for me) are deal breakers. BlogJet’s a great tool for the average blogger, but it may not be worth the price for heavy-duty or technical bloggers who need a lot more flexibility and features.

Don’t take my word as gospel, though. Download it for yourself (there is a free 30 day trial) and decide whether it helps to improve your blogging. The only person it needs to please is you, so if it does make you more productive, then the license would be worth it.


Footnotes

1: The word count varies when switching between WYSIWYG editor and HTML views (intentional?). As of this writing, there are 1024 words in this entry, however, there are 1394 in code view.

2: Though you can change the tagging URL, this is not on a per blog basis, so you cannot customize internal links for your individual blogs.

3: BlogJet FTP Config Bug While setting up the FTP upload, I was greeted by a slightly annoying bug. After testing my FTP configuration settings and receiving a successful confirmation, the disconnected window would not close; manually closing the window meant losing all of my changes and needing to re-configure my FTP information all over.

4: Would be a great feature if I could actually get it working. Despite adding some custom words to be automatically replaced and even closing/restarting BlogJet, it still refused to work. However, the default auto-replace words worked.

5: Adding these superscripts (along with the heading tags) were a pain in the rump which could have been avoided with custom HTML tags.

6: Odd this wasn’t caught considering that their blog is powered by WordPress.

7: Another blow to productivity — needing to edit a blog entry after publication in order to clean up random problems created by the editor.

[tags]desktop blogging application, desktop blog client, blogjet review, blog management[/tags]

Teli Adlam

Posts

23 responses to BlogJet 2 Desktop Blogging Application Reviewed

  1. Nice review, thanks!

    – Word count in HTML view doesn’t ignore tags when counting (and yes, it’s here intentionally).

    – Auto replace considers _ as a separator, so try “wp1” instead and it should work.

    – You can insert HTML tags using auto replace feature.

    6th footnote — that’s because when you publish posts with BlogJet, WordPress returns them back with paragraph tags πŸ™‚

    – Insertion of “Array” is a WordPress’s bug which is in their code forever πŸ™

    Thanks again! We’re looking forward to improve our product.

  2. Hi Dmitry,
    Thank you for taking time to stop by the blog and comment. πŸ™‚

    Auto replace considers _ as a separator, so try β€œwp1β€³ instead and it should work.

    Thanks for that tip, modifying it does work.

    It may be a good idea to include a note about that somewhere in the documentation or throw up an error message if someone tries to use an underscore, slash, pipe, etc. like it does when a colon (:) or space is typed in.

    Side note: Not everyone will understand what a delimiter is, so it’s best to spell out exactly which characters aren’t allowed in the auto replace. Or, possibly just stating that only letters and numbers can be used would be the better option?

    You can insert HTML tags using auto replace feature.

    I know, but like I mentioned above, auto replace isn’t a replacement for custom HTML tags.

    For me, it’s a matter of productivity. It’s far easier for me to type the content, highlight it and hit a hot key to insert the necessary tag.

    Using the auto replace feature, I’d need to define a variable for the heading tag, then I’d need to go back and actually write my title.

    Consider the following scenario:
    I want to create a heading called “This is heading level 3”. I would set up a custom HTML tag similar to <h3>$variable</h3> and save it. Then, I would write “This is heading level 3”, highlight it and do my h3 hot key magic. (The $variable would be replaced by the highlighted heading text, of course.)

    Using auto replace, I’d need to set up a variable for the heading, for instance h3text, which would be replaced by <h3>Text</h3>, where “Text” is not a variable. (This word is added so I wouldn’t need to switch to code view.) Then I’d need to go back, highlight and then type over (or delete) the word “Text”. Extra step and unnecessary typing.

    I hope that makes sense and clears up why I had it on my list. πŸ™‚

    Insertion of β€œArray” is a WordPress bug which is in their code forever.

    BlogJet is the only application I’ve used which causes this, though. Are you trying to do anything special with the trackbacks which may cause the bug to rear its ugly head? And have you/anyone else submitted the bug to WP team yet so they can look into it?

    You’ve done some great work, Dmitry, and this is the one project I continue to check up on often because I know how much you put into it.

    I wish you much success.

    ~ Teli

  3. Oh, I just looked into their xmlrpc.php code for WordPress 2.2 and it seems like they fixed that “Array” bug. πŸ™‚

  4. Interesting review and may need to check it out. Have a gut feeling I’ll stick to just blogging in code as I am used to but even Old Bald guys can learn new things once in a while.

    May be worthwhile for some of my customers though as quite a few aren’t comfortable with anything that is not in WYSIWYG form.

  5. Great! This will make blogging so much quicker! What a great idea. – Win Vista blogging widgets anyone???

  6. I found BlogJet to be pretty handy, and generally improved my blogging productivity.

    It could still use some polish tho…

  7. Great review and bookmarked your site!

  8. Ok, custom HTML tag support would be great, but I bet most of the bloggers are not even aware of a monster called HTML. What I really miss is spacing before new tags like in MS Word. Tried to do that in WP, but failed. The best I could do with it was adding some white coloured underscore πŸ™‚

  9. Using a software for blogging is quite good if you know how to do it, but if you don’t know how to use it, it will just make all your job harder than you ever imagined. Even though there is some software that offer a lot of capabilities, it’s up to the user to learn how to use this kind of software. This is only my opinion, but for me BlogJet is good. I tried it, but it’s still just like other software; there is some missing function that need to be added to make it more powerful in terms of blogging. I hope that this software will help all those people longing for this kind of software.

    Revero

  10. Excellent article. I think I’d like to check out this product, however it would only benefit me if it saves me time in the long run.

  11. Just read all the posts, great insight to the product!

    I am going to download the free trial and check it out. My blogging productivity is low and this may help me be a better blog writer. I am an HTML coder so all the concerns about tags are important to me. I do understand the other listed features and benefits.

    Blog Jet 2 Desktop application software seems much better than I thought it would be. Comments pertaining to learning a blogging software and all have good features and benefits as well as some limitations is correct. As an affiliate marketer I do understand being able to get great content out on my blog and want to thank everyone for their knowledgeable comments about Blog Jet 2 desktop application software. Now I will download my trial and put the software to the test. Good software is hard to find, thanks for the highly relevant info. I bookmarked this site for future reference.

  12. The idea would have been great. But sloppy code is always a no-no for me. Reminds me too much of MS Frontpage.

    But for the normal blogging person that does not know much code. Maybe this is gold to them. Sounds like a product I feel like selling but not using. πŸ™‚

  13. Is it worth the money? MS Live Writer is for free, so it must have some really cool features to pay for it ..

  14. Hi Digi,
    I used the demo version to write my review, so didn’t actually pay for it. For me personally, I switched to WLW and have stuck with it because it’s being actively developed and has most of the features I need. (It does have its quirks, though.)

    One benefit of BlogJet over WLW is how it handles sound recording/upload. It could be a slight time saver for bloggers who wish to record and upload a bit of sound with each post. Is that worth it? Not my place to say; it’s an individual choice.

    And in case anyone else is curious, I’ve written a Windows Live Writer Review (and follow up).

    ~ Teli

  15. I’ll see if it works for me. There’s no harm in trying, although if I go with the review, I’d say it’s not as cost-effective as it should be.

  16. Cubicle Generation May 22, 2008 at 12:01 am

    BlogJet suits all my needs, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I like how the theme blends into my workstations other applications like MS Word, MS Outlook, and Fast Blog Finder.

  17. I also go with Live Writer and it is improving and still free πŸ˜‰

  18. SEO Consultant June 4, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Hello Teli
    A good review. I purchased blogjet several months ago for our new SEO blog, but as yet not used it so checking this review was very useful.

    P.S. You can bet you bottom dollar I will be making sure trackback is not available in the blog.

    Regards,
    David

  19. I have yet to go with a blogging desktop management application like BlogJet, although I have read a lot about others like Live Writer. The latter being free would be something I’d probably try first rather than BlogJet, but honestly, from your review, the price offered for BlogJet is quite reasonable. Might have to consider it seriously in the near future.

  20. You know, there is another consideration here. You can just build your own blogging management system yourself, or have one built for you. The backbone is all via remote procedure call and XML… It is a little hard to find documentation on them, but they are around… I know there are awesome tools around, like what you cover here, but I like to have total control and for that, there’s nothing better than writing your own software.

  21. Nice review, I agree with Vic.

    Go with Live Writer, you can’t beat free

  22. I seem to be the only one missing the point here….why pay for something like this when you can use wordpress for free?

    I am thinking the idea is that you are supposed to be able to do all your writing from your desktop and just upload it to your blog but really, even without any experience with it, I think that would take just as long as logging into your wp account and just blogging.

    Am I missing something here?

  23. “For me, it’s a matter of productivity. It’s far easier for me to type the content, highlight it and hit a hot key to insert the necessary tag.

    Using the auto replace feature, I’d need to define a variable for the heading tag, then I’d need to go back and actually write my title.”

    Teli – this pretty much sums it up for me. I couldn’t agree more. Great post.