Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Byword and Blogger. Not Quite the Right Solution

This is three paragraphs.
Can you tell where
they split?
I hate typing in browser windows, but since starting this blog, I’ve been doing a lot of typing in browser windows, but I am seeking to limit it. Many of these posts start off by my typing something into the app Byword, either on my Mac or in iOS (I’ve actually dictated a few drafts into my phone while walking my dog). As a text editor that syncs between a Mac and iOS devices, it’s pretty good. As a blogging tool, it leaves a bit to be desired.

As I noted before, Google’s own Blogger app for iOS is sadly deficient. If you’re going to make an app, it should be better than just opening up mobile Safari. Another mild complaint I’d make about Blogger is that it creates really bad HTML. When you type a line break in Blogger, it just gives you an HTML break (<br />). Ooo. Bad coding. The actual coding should be paragraph tags, which is exactly what Byword produces, and Blogger than translates to break tags.

One problem with this is that if you want to go from Byword to Blogger, you then need to go and fix up the layout. I typed this with a blank line between each paragraph (hitting the return key twice). Byword exports each text block within paragraph tags, ignoring my blank lines. Blogger then changes that to text blocks ending with line breaks. Or in other words, all the space between the block paragraphs gets smushed together.

Blogger really should be supporting the paragraph tag. It’s pretty standard. And a block-level tag lets you do stuff. If f Blogger put my text into paragraph blocks, I could format my blog with indented paragraphs (and no space between, as in a book), if I wanted to. Or block paragraphs that put space between themselves. You can’t do that with break tags; there’s no formatting allowed.

There are certain limitations I’m willing to accept with Byword. I know that I cannot put a graphic into my post and get that to upload to Blogger (that’s what I want Google’s app to do). Byword should be working with the limitations of Blogger that I’ve been ranting about, and not pretending that by sending nice HTML code to Blogger you get a nice result.

Given that anything written in Byword and then uploaded to Blogger is going to need a little tweaking, the Publish option in Byword should allow you to mark a post as a draft. I don’t want to publish anything that comes out directly moved in from Byword, even if I’m not adding a picture.

The verdict: Byword is a good, simple text editor that works nicely between the Mac and iOS. Its blog publishing features still need a little work.
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