Saturday, July 09, 2005

Composed with Zoundry Blog Writer

Zoundry logoFor the past few months I've been composing my blog entries with Zoundry's Blog Writer. I initially looked for it because I was a bit uncomfortable with Blogger's online editor, and the price (FREE) was right.

Zoundry's Blog Writer (BW) is a nice WYSIWYG editor for blog posts, with features that make it easy to add product links, for those blogs offering product reviews that might lead to sales of a product. I have not used Blog Writer to sell anything, but I've found the other features quite useful.

Blog Writer has a feature called "media repository" which streamlines the process of uploading images that will appear in the blog. Instead of having to log into the account where I have some webspace where I can upload images, and upload them before post the blog that will use the images, Blog Writer manages the whole process. It automatically generates a thumbnail of any image to appear in the blog posting, and uploads both the thumbnail and the desired image to the web. The blog post will include the thumbnail, which is hyperlinked to the original image. This way of handling images is really useful when one is using thumbnails of images to support the text, but it gets in the way when one wants the focus of a post to be full-size images themselves.

One tab in the Blog Writer allows the user to view the HTML source code for the entry, but not to edit it. This is useful for those of us who understand HTML code and want to see why an entry looks the way it does, but is occasionally a source of frustration when one wants to fix something quickly by changing the code directly. I've found that most of the time I don't need to edit the code directly, and the few times that I do, I am able to use the online editor provided by Blogger. Zoundry says that allowing the user to edit HTML code is one of the improvements in the pipeline.

Another tab in the Blog Writer enables the user to preview a blog entry as it will appear in the blog. This feature works fairly well as long as one is focusing attention on the blog entry itself. The feature is not perfect as it sometimes does not display all parts of the template correctly. Nevertheless, it does display the entry in the correct fonts, colors, and size.

There is not a lot of documentation accompanying the program, but the online help files do address some issues. Zoundry has recently introduced searchable Zoundry Forums, where a number of users raise questions and suggest features to be added to the Blog Writer. The responsiveness of the Zoundry team makes up for any deficiencies in the current documentation.

I've found Zoundry's Blog Writer to be a very useful tool for composing and posting my own blog entries, and I recommend it to others.

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