Tag Archives: marsedit

Core Intuition 299

One more week until our 300th episode! From the show notes for today’s episode:

Daniel and Manton talk about Daniel’s struggle to finish and release MarsEdit 4. They compare notes about using the WordPress API to import content, and Manton reveals he is working on a Mac app for Micro.blog. They check in about the impact that increasing competition, or perception of it, on their long-time friendship and collaboration.

We’re announcing something new next week. Hope you can tune in for it.

Micro.blog photos from MarsEdit

This morning I updated Micro.blog’s XML-RPC posting to support the MetaWeblog API, which allows uploading photos to your hosted microblog. If you’re using MarsEdit to post to Micro.blog, edit your “System API” in MarsEdit’s blog settings to “MetaWeblog API” instead of “Blogger API”.

Working on the photo upload support has also helped clarify how Micro.blog should process text from the different posting APIs such as MetaWeblog and Micropub. After the next version of the Micro.blog iOS app ships, Micro.blog will start requiring Markdown and escaping HTML tags from Micropub, just as it currently does from the web interface. This will be a much better default for most people, and bring more consistency between web and iOS posting.

MarsEdit and other tools that use XML-RPC will still be available for when you want more control over the HTML that is posted. Micro.blog does allow Markdown in your MarsEdit posts, but otherwise it does very little processing of text from MarsEdit. It even lets you post long-form blog posts.

MarsEdit 4 and microblogs

Great to see Daniel Jalkut announce a public beta of MarsEdit 4. There are a lot of new features in this version, but the one that I love the most actually might seem minor. It’s just a short line in Daniel’s announcement, under WordPress-specific enhancements:

Post Format support

For anyone using WordPress for microblogging, this is a big deal. It means you can post with the “status” post format for your short posts. It’s a really convenient way to post to a WordPress microblog from a Mac. (And of course, you can use MarsEdit to post directly to a Micro.blog-hosted blog as well.)

WordPress drafts workflow

Since moving to WordPress, I haven’t changed much with how I write blog posts. But there are more tools available now, so I thought I’d revisit my workflow.

The key is being able to work on a blog post from any device and any text editor. I have a Notes folder on Dropbox that I use for draft blog posts and notes about other projects. When I have an idea for a post, I create a new note there and either start writing it, or leave a link, quoted text, or a few topic ideas to come back to later.

On the iPhone, I use Editorial. On the iPad, I use Byword, since Editorial hasn’t been updated for the iPad Pro yet. And on my Mac, I use Justnotes. All of these sync from the same Dropbox folder. They are plain text files, so I can edit from anywhere and they’ll survive platform and hosting changes over the years.

If I’m on my Mac, when I finish a post I’ll preview it in Marked and then copy it into MarsEdit for posting. On iOS, I’ll copy it into the WordPress iOS app. For microblog posts from iOS, I use an unreleased iPhone app that’s part of the microblogging stuff I’ve been working on.

I’ve also been using the Calypso-based WordPress UI a lot lately. I usually work on several blog posts at once, and if a few are ready to go at once, I schedule them to go out later in the day or over the next couple of days. WordPress’s web UI makes keeping track of scheduled posts pretty nice.

It hasn’t been all perfect switching between multiple apps, though. I noticed today that some of my new posts, which I always write in Markdown, were converted to HTML for publishing (likely by Calypso on WordPress.com). But for the most part, no regrets switching over to WordPress. The added flexibility and future-proofing have been good.

Doubt, with screenshots

My good friend and Core Intuition co-host Daniel Jalkut isn’t convinced. After we recorded last week’s podcast, we talked privately about the direction I’m headed in. He’s seen the projects I have in development, but he thinks working on Mac apps is a safer bet than web services. And he works on a blogging app, so if I can’t convince him that the goals I have around microblogging-related tools can be a real business, how am I going to convince the rest of the world?

Earlier this year I gave a talk at CocoaConf about tips I’ve learned to be productive while juggling multiple projects. But as I worked on the talk, it turned out to be about something else. It was about Walt Disney moving from Kansas City to Hollywood. It was about crazy side projects that no one else believed in. It was about Texas Hold ‘Em poker and risking everything for an idea.

The new microblogging app and service I’ve been working on, off and on for the last year, is the most ambitious project I’ve ever attempted. It is difficult to explain and market, it might only resonate with a niche audience, and it is going to increase my hosting costs. So part of me knows that Daniel is right — that the smart business decision is to put it on hold and focus on my Mac apps, which will probably have more predictable revenue.

And yet, this project is also the most meaningful. In the words of Peter Thiel, it could take independent microblogging from zero to one. A new push forward for weblogs, maybe the first in a while. Therefore, I must do it, and I must accept some risk in the process.

Lately I’ve been working on the iPhone version. When you look at these screenshots, it might be tempting to compare it to Twitter. Don’t. Instead, think about how the plumbing fits together: RSS, microblogs, and the open web.


I can’t wait to officially announce and ship this. If you’d like to get an email when the beta is ready, sign up on the announcement list.

RSS reading and writing

I’ve received so much feedback about microblogging that I haven’t had a chance to reply or blog about each one yet. This post from Dave Peck is especially interesting:

“For some time now, I’ve wanted a new kind of RSS client: one that reads and writes. Today’s RSS apps artificially separate us from the content we read. If we want to reply — if we want to participate in the conversation — we’ve got to use an entirely unrelated set of tools.”

MarsEdit of course was famously spun off from NetNewsWire. Early versions of NetNewsWire did three things: reading blogs, organizing ideas in a notepad outliner, and writing new blog posts. I think Brent was on to something with combining all these features, but I also totally understand wanting to simplify so that each component is as good as it can be. MarsEdit wouldn’t be as full-featured and polished today if it hadn’t been given that room to grow as its own app.

Also, don’t miss the last half of today’s Core Intuition. Daniel and I talk at length about microblogging and owning your own content.

MarsEdit guilt trip

In which I am the last person to point to the “MarsEdit 2.0 release”:http://www.red-sweater.com/marsedit/. I figure if James Duncan Davidson is “just now purchasing MarsEdit”:http://duncandavidson.com/archives/643, I don’t feel bad waiting so long to say good things about 2.0. (Rumor has it Duncan used to post to his blog with a set of Ant XML build files that he would run with custom Lua scripts as part of his Lightroom workflow.)

Seriously, though, it’s easy to believe that Daniel is right when he “talks about the potential for Mac desktop clients”:http://www.austinheller.com/2007/11/interview-daniel-jalkut.html. MarsEdit had a great start back in the early NetNewsWire days, and 2.0 shows that it has a strong future as well.

At lunch with “Brent Simmons”:http://inessential.com/ and the “Rogue Sheep”:http://www.roguesheep.com/ guys after C4, just before I left Chicago, we joked that what MarsEdit really needs is a Dock badge with the number of days since you’ve last posted to your blog. A big red guilt trip icon staring you in the face: “25 days since you last blogged, slacker!”

The Talk Show ad and porting to Windows

Episode 11 of “The Talk Show”:http://www.thetalkshow.net/ is up, and I’m happy to say that “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ is this week’s sponsor. Even if you’ve been subscribed since the first show, click over to see the new site design by “Airbag Industries”:http://airbagindustries.com/. It’s beautifully done and I tried to create an ad graphic that feels at home there.

For the Wii Transfer ad text I included “Only for Mac”, partly to discourage any Windows listeners from clicking and to set expectations that Wii Transfer is not a web site, but also because after a decade of being ignored I think Mac users like to be reminded that there is a bunch of great software just for them.

Earlier this month “Daniel Jalkut wrote about the unlikelihood of MarsEdit for Windows”:http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/394/blogging-from-windows:

“I love writing software for the Mac. If I had to write software for another platform, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as interested in doing it. Heck, I might work more on becoming a musician, or a designer, or one of the other many trades that I have an interest in. For that reason, the chances of MarsEdit for Windows are almost nil.”

I love that Mac indies are receiving so many “what about a Windows version?” requests. I get similar emails every couple weeks about Wii Transfer for Windows, and luckily there are a couple Windows or open source alternatives that I can point people to. (Some of them are even cross-platform and available for Mac, but they are of the “double click this Java .jar file” variety, so I don’t generally consider them direct competition.)

It used to feel strange getting these requests. I would respond with “maybe” and “unlikely”, suggesting that it’s probably not going to happen but leaving open the possibility, as Daniel did when he said “almost nil”. Then I realized — who am I kidding? — I’m never going to port this to Windows regardless of demand. Never. “With the right team”:http://www.vitalsource.com/ I enjoy working on cross-platform apps, just as I appreciate meetings, planning, and the other formalities (in moderation) that come with a more corporate environment. But Wii Transfer isn’t about any of that; it’s my vacation from the real world, and on my time I use and build for Macs.

Also read the Airfoil for Windows section of “Ars Technica’s interview with Paul Kafasis”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/2/2/6863 from February.

New software releases (plus screencast)

Today is a good day to release software. “MarsEdit gets a nice update”:http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/346/marsedit-12-growl-picasa-and-vox and “NetNewsWire 3.0”:http://ranchero.com/?comments=1&postid=1646 ships. At VitalSource we also just released “Bookshelf 4.6”:http://www.vitalsource.com/index/bookshelf today, which lays the foundation for media-rich textbooks and adds a highlighter rating UI for any subscribed highlighters you have. This data will bubble up in a few places in the future to allow you to discover people and books, although for now it’s one-way.

Here’s a “short screencast of the rating interface”:http://www.manton.org/screencasts/2007/bookshelf_rating.mov (12 seconds, 700k). The star widget is a simple Cocoa control that hits a web service in the background. It was fun to write and surprisingly not very much code.