Zoundry Raven – Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

zraven   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer All blog platforms, such as Blogger and WordPress, come with their own built-in interfaces for writing new posts. These interfaces work fairly well, but they are ultimately web based interfaces and they can sometimes feel sluggish as a result. These built-in interfaces also can be an issue for people who have multiple blogs. Being forced to log into each individual site in order to make a new post can be very annoying.

The solution to these problems is the use of a blogging client that exists on your computer and acts as a normal program.

A blogging client acts like a word processor, and because it is located on your computer’s hard drive, you can write posts even when offline. Blog clients also make it possible to update multiple blogs through a common interface.

There are many of these programs available, and one of them is Zoundry Raven. Raven is an open-source client, and it supports all of the popular blog formats like WordPress or Blogger and is a good alternative to popular Windows Live Writer.

Getting Started

Before you can start writing blog posts with Raven you need to set it up for use with your blog. In order to do this you need to click on File in the upper left, then hover over new, and finally click on Blog Account. This will start the new blog wizard.

I’m going to assume that you have a blog. If you don’t, Raven can help you there – clicking on “I don’t have a blog yet” will link you to Blogger.com so you can set one up. Otherwise, you need to enter the URL of your blog and then click Next. Raven will check the URL to make sure that a compatible blog format is being used on that website.

raven1   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

You’ll next be asked to set up your blog’s account information and enter an account name. You will need to know your username and password for the blog you want to post to and enter it here. Raven will also display the type of blog it detected. If that information does not look correct, click on the drop-down menu besides Site Type and find the right one. Now click Next.

Raven will check to make sure the account information and password you entered is valid, and once complete it will give you a final confirmation screen. If the account information was wrong, check it for accuracy and re-submit. Otherwise, click Finish.

raven2   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

Raven will at this point download all of the image and post data from the blog. Now it is time to start writing.

Writing & Managing Posts

Once you have all of your blog data imported you will see that your blog account is listed in the account manager on the left side of the program. The account manager lets you browse all tags, images, links and posts that make up your blog. Adding a new post will, of course, add a post to this list.

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To start a new post you can click on the big Write button at the top of the program. This will open a new window that doesn’t look much different from the window that appears when you write a new email in an email client.

The name of the blog you are writing for will appear in this window (you can actually add more blogs as well, to update multiple blogs at the same time). Below that you will be able to enter the title of the post and also enter in any tags that you want to use.

raven12   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

By default, the Design view will be open. This is a plain-text view of what you are writing. It is converted automatically to XHTML format that the blog you are writing for can use. You can have a look at the XHTML format by pressing the XHTML tab at the bottom of the window. Raven also lets you add images, links, tables, and XHTML tags. As with the text, all media and tags will be converted into a format compatible with the blog platform you use.

The Preview tab actually lets you take a look at how the post will look when it is posted to the blog. To enable this functionality, however, you must designate a template. This can be achieved clicking on Tools in the main Raven window and then clicking on Blog Template Manager. You only need to enter the URL of the blog you want to make a template for – Raven handles the rest.

zoundryraven2   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

To publish the blog post you only need to click on the big Publish button at the top of the window. Raven automatically uploads the blog post to your blog, and the post will momentarily appear on your blog’s page. Easy as pie! Actually easier – I haven’t a clue how to make pie.

zoundryraven3   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

Media Storage

Raven supports the ability to drag-and-drop files into your posts, including not only images but also non-image files, such as PDF files. These files can then be accessed through links in your blog post.  This is a very nice feature that makes sharing information in your blog posts easier, but in order to use it you’ll first need to set up Media Storage.

Media Storage is where the files will actually be kept. Most blogs have some form of media storage by default, but you may want to use an alternative in some cases. For instance, let’s say you want to post images to your blog AND share them on a image sharing service.

raven6   Zoundry Raven   Another Good Alternative to Windows Live Writer

To set up your media storage you need to click the Add Storage button in the main Raven window. This will prompt you to select the type of storage you want and give the storage a name. Raven supports custom FTP storage, Flickr, Image Shack, LiveJournal Scrapbook, Picasa Web Album and Ripway FTP.

Once you’ve set up your media storage you’ll need to make sure that it is enabled. Go to Tools and then click on Account Manager. Click on the account you want to use media storage for and then click on the Media Storage icon. The name of the storage you just set up will be available as an option with a checkbox. If the checkbox isn’t selected, go ahead and select it and then click Apply. You may need to click the override checkbox at the top of the window in order to do this.

Conclusion

Raven is the best blog client I’ve come across so far. It is easy to use and very powerful. It is open source, so hopefully it will continue to grow as developers work on it further and refine its features.

The most popular competition to Zoundry Raven is Windows Live Writer. They share many of the same features, such as ability to preview posts in your blog’s format and the automatic conversion of your post into a format that is compatible with the blog platform you use. But, as an alternative to windows live writer, The Media Storage Wizard is a feature that Raven has but Windows Live Writer does not and, as said, is particularly useful when you want to share files both on your blog and through a sharing or social media website.

Which desktop blogging client do you recommend?

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21 Comments -

0 votes

Murat

Thank you for the contribution.

0 votes

Steven Sentosa

I have used Windows Live Writer before, but one thing I don’t like is when Windows Live Writer change my picture file name. For example, if my pic file is “file-name-1.jpg”, it will convert it into “filenameone.jpg.” Hopefully Zoundry Raven works better than Windows live Writer. Thanks for the post.

0 votes

sefcug

I have been using the ScribeFire Firefox extension, and used to use LiveWriter, but this looks like a good replacement.

Also, I like that it is open source, as I try to use freeware or open source software whenever possible.

I will be giving it a try.

0 votes

sefcug

I have been using the ScribeFire Firefox extension, and used to use LiveWriter, but this looks like a good replacement.

Also, I like that it is open source, as I try to use freeware or open source software whenever possible.

I will be giving it a try.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

In the beginning of the article you brought up a good debate. Should someone use the web-based interface that blogging platforms offer or a local blogging client?

As someone who uses WordPress, I actually enjoy using the interface it offers. I like that it is web-based and that I can use the same interface from any computer I may be on. That is me and my situation suits my choice fine.

Someone who often finds themselves writing while off-line may not have the same opinion as I do.

My other comment is about running multiple blogs. If you’re using WordPress, the new version integrates WPMU into it making it easy to run multiple blogs in one log in. There is even plugins that make it possible to have multiple domains. Just sayin’ :)

This does seem to be a good choice as a Live Writer replacement. Good article.

0 votes

M.S. Smith

“My other comment is about running multiple blogs. If you’re using WordPress, the new version integrates WPMU into it making it easy to run multiple blogs in one log in. There is even plugins that make it possible to have multiple domains. Just sayin’ :)”

That is interesting, and something I’ll look into doing a post about in the future.

0 votes
0 votes

M.S. Smith

Well check that out!

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

In the beginning of the article you brought up a good debate. Should someone use the web-based interface that blogging platforms offer or a local blogging client?

As someone who uses WordPress, I actually enjoy using the interface it offers. I like that it is web-based and that I can use the same interface from any computer I may be on. That is me and my situation suits my choice fine.

Someone who often finds themselves writing while off-line may not have the same opinion as I do.

My other comment is about running multiple blogs. If you’re using WordPress, the new version integrates WPMU into it making it easy to run multiple blogs in one log in. There is even plugins that make it possible to have multiple domains. Just sayin’ :)

This does seem to be a good choice as a Live Writer replacement. Good article.

0 votes

Scott Lovegrove

Nice article, and it’s prompted me to write my own comparison between Zoundry Raven and Live Writer, which you can read here http://wlblo.gs/bOUTaE

0 votes

Scott Lovegrove

Nice article, and it’s prompted me to write my own comparison between Zoundry Raven and Live Writer, which you can read here http://wlblo.gs/bOUTaE

0 votes

Angel B

In principle it seems nice but when using it I ran into 2 problems that quickly became 3:
1) The Blog Template Manager doesn’t seem to work, at least for my wordpress.com blog. 2) I have two wordpress.com blogs under the same account. I couldn’t create different account and download the posts for each of them.
3) The support forums are not that helpful :(

At least at this point it is an alternative, maybe even a decent one, but I am not trading my Live Writer yet

0 votes

M.S. Smith

The support could be better. That’s a big weakness of not just this but open source projects in general. With the exception of the biggest projects, support is usually poor.

0 votes

Angel B

In principle it seems nice but when using it I ran into 2 problems that quickly became 3:
1) The Blog Template Manager doesn’t seem to work, at least for my wordpress.com blog. 2) I have two wordpress.com blogs under the same account. I couldn’t create different account and download the posts for each of them.
3) The support forums are not that helpful :(

At least at this point it is an alternative, maybe even a decent one, but I am not trading my Live Writer yet

0 votes

Parasitechblog

Hey, I agree with timmyjohnboy, its the question of choice. This application is wonderful but I would still prefer the web interface to write into blogs as I am always on net and the interface is sure to remain the same on which ever PC I go.

0 votes

jer979

One thing I wanted to find, but didn’t see in Zoundry was the ability to pre-publish with a forward date. A big benefit for me in WLW. It does look like a nice tool though.t

0 votes

M.S. Smith

“My other comment is about running multiple blogs. If you’re using WordPress, the new version integrates WPMU into it making it easy to run multiple blogs in one log in. There is even plugins that make it possible to have multiple domains. Just sayin’ :)”

That is interesting, and something I’ll look into doing a post about in the future.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

0 votes

Derek

Usefull and nicely written therefore i’m still used to use website for those kind of stuff

0 votes

Scritty

@timmyjohnboy
I think an advantage of some of these offline editors is the ability to post to many different platyforms at once (not just wordpress) So I can post my updates to all 400 of my blogs with one press of a button, despite the fact they are spread across about 20 different formats.

Also, the wordpress editor is about as far from WYSIWYG as it’s possible to imagine, I keep saving, tabbing to another window, refreshing, seeing if it looks ok, then going back.

Once the theme is downloaded into a decent offline editor all this is gone, and videos, pictures, slideshows and other files all sitye where you expect them – mostly first time.

Scritty

0 votes

Scritty

@timmyjohnboy
I think an advantage of some of these offline editors is the ability to post to many different platyforms at once (not just wordpress) So I can post my updates to all 400 of my blogs with one press of a button, despite the fact they are spread across about 20 different formats.

Also, the wordpress editor is about as far from WYSIWYG as it’s possible to imagine, I keep saving, tabbing to another window, refreshing, seeing if it looks ok, then going back.

Once the theme is downloaded into a decent offline editor all this is gone, and videos, pictures, slideshows and other files all sitye where you expect them – mostly first time.

Scritty