If there’s one powerful but overlooked blogging tool out there, it must be [NO LONGER WORKS] Flock. Granted, Flock is not a standalone blog editor, but a browser with a blogging feature.
What’s so great about blogging with this “Firefox with a twist”? In general, it’s the simplicity and the WYSIWYG editing environment. A novice without any clue of HTML would greatly appreciate it.
“So what?” you might think, “big deal, Windows Live Writer also has it”. Yes, but non-Windows users have been longing for this feature for so long. And even for Windows users, Flock would make a worthy alternative blogging tool because of other nice features, such as:
- adding media – picture, sound, video to the blog is dead simple in Flock. As simple as drag and drop.
- quoting, re-blogging and sharing a blog post that you like via your own blog is just a matter of highlighting the material(s) and click.
Integrating Your Blog to Flock
To start using Flock to blog, you have to integrate Flock with your blog. Click the “Key” logo on the toolbar under the “Home” button and the “Accounts and Services” sidebar will be opened.
Scroll the panel below to the bottom and you will find the “Blogging” section. Choose and click the appropriate account and you will be asked to fill out the required information. Follow the steps and your account will be ready in no time.
After adding your blog, it’s still possible to modify the account by clicking “Blog Settings”, or to delete it by clicking “Forget Account” under the blog name on the above panel.
Anytime you find interesting information on the net that you think is worth to share via your blog, just highlight the text (and/or the picture, audio, video) then right click and choose “Blog This” from the pop-up menu. The blog editor will then open with the selected materials as a quote.
Alternatively, if the materials for your blog post come from several different sources, you can utilize the “Web Clipboard” sidebar. Open it by clicking the “Clipboard” logo under the “Star” button. Then you can drag and drop any item from web pages to the clipboard.
Then open the blog editor, the clipboard materials are ready on the left bar to be re-dragged and re-dropped onto the blog post. Standard editing tools are available to enrich your post.
There are three tabs from the editing windows for users to choose from:
- Editor – this one is the WYSIWYG environment.
- Source – this one is for those who understand HTML and want to add some code.
- Preview – if you want to see what your post will look like, choose this. No editing is possible here.
After you’ve finished babbling and yapping (and adding tags if necessary), click the “Publish” button on the bottom right corner of the windows.
There’s still a few more steps to do before your post is really “published”.
- You have to choose which one of your blogs this post belongs to from the drop down menu above. (or add a new one)
- Choose the categories.
- Decide whether this one is a new post or a replacement for a specific post.
- Tick the options to help promote Flock if you want.
- Also decide whether you want to visit the site after the post has been posted.
Then you can safely click “Publish”.
If you are offline, you can save the writing to be posted later.
Another use of Flock’s blog editor is to “peek” at the HTML code. I’m not a code geek and I don’t know too many of the combinations. I’m lost beyond “bold”, “italic” and “link”. But many of my blogging assignments require me to write in a HTML environment. So what I do is I write normally in Flock’s WYSIWYG blog editor, then switch to the “source” tab to get the HTML-ish text, then copy and paste the text to be used in my assignments.
And for the minus…
I couldn’t find any easy way to upload my own pictures to my blog storage without uploading them first manually to my blog then attach them (also manually) via the editor’s source tab. If that’s the case, I might as well use the online blog editor instead of Flock’s.
The available easy options are either link the pictures from the original source or upload the picture to an image sharing service then link the picture from it. If you like this kind of arrangement, then it’s fine. But I know many bloggers who prefer to keep their own media in their own place. So, it’s all down to personal choice.
So the conclusion: Flock is, and will still be, my favorite tools for quick blogging – quoting from here and there, for offline blog writing, and for editing existing blog posts. But for posts that require me to upload the media to the server, I prefer to log into the blog account and do the blogging from there.
What about you? Do you (or will you) use Flock to blog? What’s your favorite ways to blog? Share your thoughts in the comments below.