As I started to catch up with more “modern” methods of blogging (so long, Blogger.com!), I realized that I was sadly behind the times when it came to my blogger’s toolbox. Sure, the default WordPress interface is clean, unimposing, and easy to deal with, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I needed a Swiss Army knife of a blog app, stat!
Since I’m a die-hard Firefox user, I headed over to the Firefox addons site to find a worthy candidate. A quick search turned up a few possibilities, the top two being ScribeFire and Deepest Sender. A quick look at the download stats: 1.6 million vs. 57,000 and I had a pretty good idea which one was going to win.
While the reviews for both addons are favorable, these addons are clearly in different classes. Deepest Sender is kind of like manually opening a second Firefox window and doing your WordPress work there while you browse in another (which is the clunky method that made me start this search in the first place). It doesn’t allow image uploading or adding tags, but it is a decent way to quickly jot down parts of a post or brainstorm.
Deepest Sender is tiny, presents a cleaner interface, and it doesn’t run on your web server – so it would save a bit of bandwidth. Other than that, I don’t see too many advantages to running it.
Ready to move on, I close the window and fire up ScribeFire by hitting F8.
This is more like it! Scribefire springs into action, splitting the Firefox pane in half horizontally and revealing a solid editing environment right inside the browser!
ScribeFire has a lot of killer features – including support for multiple blog sites and publishing systems, tabbed posts (you can see two tabs open in my screencap), complete font control, YouTube and Flickr embedding, source code editing, and even a sharing pane to make it easy to check Technorati stats or add to Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.ici.ous, and more! Oh yeah, there’s an options tab, too, which allows you to change several aspects of ScribeFire’s behavior.
The tabs on the right offer broad support for WordPress’ other post-writing features, including categories, tags, timestamp, trackbacks, and ping options. You can even scroll through older entires and make changes to them on the fly. Is there anything this addon can’t do?
Oh yes…It also supports dragging and dropping from your Firefox tabs, like this:
A list of all the default keyboard shortcuts used in ScribeFire.
Used in the rich text editor (preceded by Ctrl)
- Bold: “B”
- Italic: “I”
- Underline: “U”
- Link: “M”
- Undo: “Z”
- Redo: “Y”
- Cut: “X”
- Copy: “C”
- Paste: “V”
- Delete: “D”
- Select All: “A”
The above shortcuts were as easy to add as going to the Wiki page, clicking on keyboard shortcuts, and then highlighting and dragging the block down to my ScribeFire editor. Holy ease of use, Batman!
Really, the only downside I can see is the size of my editing area. On my 15.4″ laptop’s 1280×800 screen, I only see about a paragraph of my post at any given time. Still, to have the editor reside at the bottom of my Firefox window rather than on another tab or in its own window, I’m willing to work with that. It’s a pretty minor annoyance, especially in the face everything Scribefire does well. Besides, it’s not the publisher’s fault I can’t yet justify buying a laptop that sports a WUXGA panel.
I didn’t notice any sluggishness when browsing with Scribefire open, and there was no major impact on the size of my Firefox install (the download itself is only 250kb).
The jury’s in, and between these two addons ScribeFire wins hands down. Deepest Sender is outgunned and outclassed this time, and has lost its spot in my Firefox addons list.
All in all, you can have your Windows Live Writer. With Scribefire and my portable Firefox install, I’m ready to blog anywhere with an ever-decreasing number of hassles. For in-browser blogging, Scribefire is about as good as it gets – unless you can convince me otherwise?
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