Five Desktop Blog Editors for GNU/Linux Users
Ask ten bloggers at random what they use to compose their blog posts and chances are that you might get ten different answers to that. Possible options include integrated WYSIWYG editor provided by the blogging software itself; desktop blog clients for Windows like w.bloggar and Windows Live Writer; Word processors like MS Office/OpenOffice; Web based blog composers like Google Docs; Emacs, web browser extensions, sidebar/desktop widgets and things like that. It’s the “to each his own” philosophy in full flow here.
For the GNU/Linux users though, the options are pretty limited and I am yet to see a full-blown, feature-rich desktop blog editor that could post to most of the popular blogging engines that are out there. But all is not lost when it comes to blogging tools for GNU/Linux; there are quite a few options and all of them fulfill certain blogging needs to near perfection. Below I am going to discuss five different ways to compose your blog posts on the GNU/Linux platform along with their pros and cons.
All of them can be installed using apt-get or aptitude on Debian/Ubuntu based distributions and can be compiled from the sources on others(first check with the package manager of your distribution before compiling from the source).
Five Blogging Editors to Make Blog Posts From the GNU/Linux platform
- GNOME Blog Entry Poster
Blog Entry Poster is all about convenience and efficiency. It lacks in features but if you want to make a quick post about a news item/article/announcement that you have read on the Internet, then this panel applet can make it as fast as any other tool. To use it, install it from your favourite package manager or download and compile it from the source, and then right-click on the GNOME panel, select Add to Panel from the menu and finally select “Blog Entry Poster” from the dialog box. You can configure settings by right-clicking on the “Blog” dropdown button that you can now see on your panel and selecting “Preferences” from the menu. Select the type of your blog engine, enter its web location, enter the user name and password and click the “Look up Blogs” button. It should fetch your blog and show it in the dropdown box to the left side of “Look up Blogs” button. Click the “Close” button to save the settings.
Now whenever you come across an interesting story on the Internet, you can just click the “Blog” button on the panel, give a title to the blog post, enter the contents and hit the “Post Entry” button. You have some very basic formatting available to add links, format to bold and italics etc., but as noted earlier, this is not the tool to use if you are looking for a lot of features. You have to use HTML tags to do all your formatting and you can’t even preview before posting. But I find this to be the quickest way to make a short blog post. (Clicking the “Blog” button in the panel again closes the dropdown window, but the text you have entered is still retained in it. Click it again to see what I talking about. This allows you to edit the blog entry over a long period of time.)
Gnome Blog Home page
- Drivel Journal Editor
You will love to make blog posts with Drivel if you are a LiveJournal user. This one has quite a few interesting features for users of all type of blog engines but it has tons of features specifically provided for the LiveJournal bloggers. I haven’t found such a good LiveJournal blog editor even on Windows; it allows you to select a mood, set the music you are currently listening to, set custom security and bunch of other stuff while making a post to LiveJournal. It is a decent blog editor for other blogging software too, including WordPress, Movable Type and Blogger. Definitely worth a test drive.
More information on Drivel
- BloGTK Blog Editor
This is a reasonably feature-rich blog editor for the GNOME platform. It supports many popular blogging engines and has good number of formatting option. My personal favourite feature of BloGTK is the ability to create our own custom tags for HTML tags that are not available by default in the BloGTK toolbar/menu. To start posting blog entries, go to Edit -> Accounts and Settings, enter the details about your blog, click OK, go to the File menu and click the Connect menu item. You are now ready to publish to your blog. The main view of BloGTK shows HTML mixed with the content(unlike Drivel that uses WYSISWYG editor) but it supports the preview mode, so no worries there. You can’t use BloGTK with the new Blogger version yet.
More about BloGTK
- ScribeFire Firefox Extension
If you are basically looking for at least the basic set of features that one expects from a blog editor and are not put down by the web browser interface, then ScribeFire Firefox extension(previously called Performancing for Firefox or PFF) is an excellent choice for you. It has more features than any of the above mentioned desktop clients, you don’t have to be online to compose blog posts with it just like a desktop blog editor, it has a very clean user interface and installing it is a total snap as you don’t have to worry whether your GNU/Linux distribution packages it or not, or if you have to build something from the source. As it is a Firefox extension, installing it is as easy as going to the ScribeFire extension page and clicking the “Install” button. You can install it in all Firefox compatible web browsers(e.g. Flock). After installation, click its icon in the status bar of the browser and a window will pop-up which covers the lower part of your browser window. You can hide it and re-activate it at will, making small edits to your content while surfing the Internet to collect more information, and, once finished, finally posting it to your blog or saving it as a note locally.
Getting Started with ScribFire Blog Editor
- Google Docs as a Blog Editor
The last option I am going to mention is Google Docs. I love its clean interface and use it to keep a lot of content on various topics in separate document files in the draft form. But when I am almost ready to post it to my blog, I take it over to the integrated editor of WordPress and do the final editing/formatting there. Some people though prefer to do all the editing in Google Docs itself and either copy/paste to the blog web editor in the end or post to the blog directly from Google Docs by selecting Publish from the top-right corner and clicking the “Post to Blog” button. Google Docs is a good option if you use it for other editing purposes too, or to post to multiple blogs, but for posting to only one type of blog, there’s no clear advantage in using it over the blog engine’s own WYSIWYG editor.
Google Docs as a Blog Editor
You can install (1), (2) and (3) on Debian/Ubuntu by running the following commands respectively:
sh# sudo aptitude install drivel
sh# sudo aptitude install blogtk
With (4) and (5), you can learn one interface and use it on any platform.
So what else is there to fulfill other blog posting needs of the GNU/Linux users? I will be particularly interested to hear what Blog Editors do the KDE users use – someone had mentioned KBlogger but I don’t know how good or bad it is.
Update 1: Thanks to all those who have commented on this post, here is the summary of all the blog editors that were suggested by you: Five More Desktop Blog Editors for GNU/Linux Users
Update 2: Here are two more posts related to the same topic of GNU/Linux desktop blog editors:
Linux Blogging Sucks (it’s well written, not a rant)
Building The Blog Editor List (all blog editors, including for GNU/Linux)