In a recent review of the WordPress blog editor BlogEasy, one of our readers, Siglist, had this to say about blogging apps on the Mac:
Having worked on multiple platforms/OSes… Mac/OSX is colletively the bottom of the barrel when it comes to blogware; no contest. …Why is this the case for the Mac world? There is nothing that can be done with basic “markdown” that can’t be done (and then some) with WYSIWYG.
This is a sentiment shared by many Mac users. While MarsEdit has enjoyed a fine history and following, many users are still on the lookout for the ideal WordPress (or other blog) editor.
There’s a brand new app, PixelPumper, that aims to fill this gap. It aims to let you graphically lay out your blog posts, offline, in an app designed around the latest OS X tech. Can it live up to all of that? Read on to find out.
Linking PixelPumper to an existing blog is a quick and easy process. The first time the app is launched, you will be walked through the process of linking the app to a blog. All you need to do is enter the site name, your username, and your password. Adding additional blogs can be done through the preferences menu. One thing I like about PixelPumper is the ease of switching between blogs.
The UI: Beauty and Puzzlement
PixelPumper’s UI is very eye-catching at first glance. The toolbar icons look nice, if a little big, and the interface is easy enough to figure out: a list of posts on left, the editor in the middle pane, and a few more options for the post in the right pane (category, tags, and main image). Pretty straightforward. But a closer look reveals some problems.
First of all, with the current UI many actions require multiple clicks. For example, changing the paragraph style to a heading requires three clicks. This would not be so bad, but there is no keyboard shortcut. The same for bolding or italicizing text. Its going to take multiple clicks with no shortcut? Cmd-s doesn’t save a draft of the post?
Then there is the window itself, which cannot be resized. Luckily, the default size is reasonable, but if you want to resize a window, you are out of luck. It probably goes without saying at this point, but the UI is also not customizable. No hiding of the toolbar, no separate window for editing, no resizing the window panes, no full screen mode etc.
Not for the Power User
When it comes down to it, PixelPumper is going to work for simple posts, but the power user will find the app lacking in several ways. All of the things Mac users are used to with the Cocoa text editing experience are lacking (as alluded to above with the lack of keyboard shortcuts). What about Markdown? Also not supported. There is also no text mode and no theming support, so any type of advanced editing is not going to happen.
A few other things make the app difficult to use:
- No support for dragging and dropping images into a post
- Bullet lists are limited only to one level
- No autosave function, and no warning to save your work when quitting the app
Needs Some Work
Coming back to the question posed in the title, the answer is no, this app is not going to be the answer for most bloggers. If you have already forked out the money for MarsEdit, this app is not going to add anything you don’t already have.
However, PixelPumper has the potential to be a useful app for making quick, simple posts to your blog. Some bloggers likely don’t need a text mode, or theming. Others might like a slimmed down blog editor to get a quick post out. Currently, PixelPumper is not ideal even for a simple post. The UI is nice to look at, but overall very lacking. As far as creating a post goes, currently the experience is too cumbersome. Adding some UI customization and including some of the basics of a Cocoa text editing experience will make this app a viable solution for some bloggers.
It’s free right now, so it’s worth grabbing just in case it improves in the future. For now, though, it’s likely not the blogging app you’ll want to rely on.
A Wordpress blog editor with an attractive interface, but lacking key features to make it a useful solution for blogging on the Mac. PixelPumper does have the potential to be a good blog editor for simple posts, but for now, it's only worth downloading since it's free.5