Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Google - More than one way to write a blog [Updated]

I was reading the comparison between Microsoft's Live Writer Beta and Google's blogging tool at PC Magazine. As I read the details it struck me that there had been an oversight with the review of Google's blog publishing tools.

Microsoft's Live Writer Beta is a windows application and so is restricted to use on a Windows PC. Google's tool is a web based application that will work in Firefox or Internet Explorer. For Mac users you will find that Camino is supported but not Safari at the present time. As Davis Janowski points out in his analysis, the blogger tool only supports publishing to the blogger platform, and to the beta platform at that.

What Davis overlooked is that Google now offers an alternative platform for blogging - Writely.

As demonstration I have written and posted this blog using Writely.

The first step was to write the blog.

After the writing the next step is to preview how it looks prior to posting.

Since I haven't posted to Blogger with Writely before the next step is to preview my publishing settings.

Take note that Writely not only supports Blogger and custom servers
via the Blogger, MetaWeblog and MoveableType APIs but it also supports six hosted providers including LiveJournal and WordPress.

The Writely editor lets you perform WYSIWYG editing as well as switching to HTML mode to tweak the underlying code. It is an impressive and easy to use cross-platform blogging tool. Take a look - you can sign up at For Mac OS X users it is worth serious consideration even though support does not extend to OS X's native safari browser.

Update: I checked out the Writely Support forums and it appears that the upload problem was a temporary problem. I am including a snapshot from the Google Groups page as a test to see if image upload will work this time.

If the image upload works then Writely is a very cool blogging tool.

The Outcome

Writely does not use the full url in the image tag. If you go in to HTML mode in writely you can add "" in front of the "File.aspx?" reference. This will allow your images to be viewed in your blog. I hope the Writely and Blogger teams will fix this problem. The workaround, works because if someone knows an exact url reference in URL they can view a file. That is Security through obscurity. It doesn't matter whether you have published your writely document or not. The images are visible. I would prefer to see Writely move the images and update the references so that the entire document and document related images are transferred to the blogging platform, whether that is blogger or not.

I am always interested in cool tools to make lighter work of surfing the web. Join the conversation and let everyone know what cool tools you use. leave your comments below.


  1. Mark - I am a regular user of Writely but was not aware of this blogging capability. I see Squarespace listed in your screen capture. I'm going to check this out. The question is, though, what benefit this will provide to me. Squarespace is already 100% web-delivered and requires no local client. The main benefit, I would think, is collaborative in that Writely supports the collaborative development of documents which can then be submitted. Other than that what benefits are there?

  2. Dennis,

    The Writely export to Blogging sites is still very "Beta". Results with it are mixed. I mainly wrote this article because PC Magazine were comparing Live Writer with the Blogger editor and it struck me that they were not really comparing apples with apples.

    Writely has the potential to be a useful generic blogging editor platform. The benefit it has over live writer is that it can be used from any PC or Mac and doesn't need a client application to be installed.