WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg, and MarsEdit

December 6th, 2018

Congratulations to the open source WordPress team on the release of WordPress 5.0: Bebo. Although WordPress’s versioning scheme doesn’t place significance on the “round number” versions, this update happens to include a major rethinking of the default web-based WordPress editor, which they call “Gutenberg.”

What’s the Big Deal?

The fundamental change in WordPress 5.0 is a new “block based” approach to composing content. Instead of writing posts as a single stream of content, semantically meaningful chunks representing different sections, image elements, etc. can be created and manipulated by dragging them around inside a post.

This change to the editor is part of a trend with WordPress of moving away from the dedicated purpose of blogging, towards satisfying the more general-purpose needs of a full-featured CMS. Typically blogs feature a unified design for posts, so that in the process of writing individual posts, you can focus more on the content than on the layout and organization of the piece. Time will tell whether block-based editing ends up being common in blogging contexts.

What’s it Mean for MarsEdit?

After updating to WordPress 5.0, you can continue using MarsEdit to download, publish, and edit posts on your blog. If you also edit posts in the WordPress web editor, you’ll have the option of using the new Gutenberg editor, or opting to restore the “Classic” WordPress editor.

If you add new posts to your blog using the Gutenberg editor, you can edit that content in MarsEdit, too. Because blocks are implemented using HTML, any app that can edit HTML source, as MarsEdit does, can also edit the content of these blocks.

Known Issues and Caveats

When editing a post with block-based content in MarsEdit, you will see the raw HTML for your blocks when editing in Plain Text mode, and a rendered version of the HTML in Rich Text mode. Unlike the WordPress web-based editor, you will not see a visual representation of the blocks as separate entities in your posts. But when you edit and publish changes to your post, the block information should be preserved.

As of MarsEdit 4.2.2 there is a bug in MarsEdit’s Rich Text editor that may cause additional paragraphs to be inserted between blocks. This is a side-effect of the fact that blocks are implemented with HTML comment nodes, and MarsEdit’s Rich Text editor makes an effort to ensure that posts are separated into high level “p” nodes. I’m working on a fix for this.

Looking Forward

In the short term I am not planning to add much in the way of block-specific functionality to MarsEdit. As I mentioned above, I think that blocks are going to appeal more to web authors who are managing full-fledged sites, and less to bloggers who appreciate the streamlined workflow that MarsEdit emphasizes.

In the longer term I’ll be keeping my ears open both for feedback from my customers, and to see how Gutenberg is received both by bloggers, and by the larger WordPress community. If enhancing MarsEdit to support block-specific workflows seems like it will be widely-appreciated by MarsEdit users, then I will start planning to make those changes to the app.

I hope this post has helped to answer any questions you might have had about WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg editor, and how it will affect your use of MarsEdit to edit your blog. As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any additional questions.

FastScripts 2.7.4: Standardized Menu Sorting

December 4th, 2018

FastScripts 2.7.4 is now available for download from the FastScripts home page and on the Mac App Store.

This update improves the sorting of items in the FastScripts menu, so that they are ordered in the standard localized order. Previously items were sorted by a crude alphanumeric sort, so that for example “100” would be sorted before “50”, because the 1 is less than 5. Now FastScripts sorts things in the same manner as other apps such as the Finder do.

This update also includes some minor bug fixes. Here’s the complete list of changes:

  • Fix the ordering of items in the script menu to be sorted by standard localized order
  • Fix a bug that could cause a renamed script to appear twice in the menu if only the case of the name was changed
  • Fix a bug that caused Quick Action Workflows to be offered for installation when attempting to edit them
  • Fix a bug that caused the focus on the shortcuts table to be lost after setting a shortcut value
  • Add a new FastScripts Help menu item to easily open help on the web

If you enjoy FastScripts, please consider writing a review or rating the app on the Mac App Store, or spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter! Thanks for your support. Questions or concerns? Get in touch at support@red-sweater.com. Thank you.

Black Ink 2.0b11: More Dark Mode Fixes

October 2nd, 2018

I’ve made a lot of progress this year on Black Ink, but most of that work has gone into the 2.0 update, which has been in public beta since earlier this year. While I’ve been releasing updates of my other apps to take advantage of new macOS Mojave features, I decided to focus all such efforts for Black Ink into the 2.0 update.

Black Ink 2.0b11 is now out. You can download it directly, or just “Check for Updates” if you’re running an early 2.0 beta.

Screen Shot 2018 10 02 at 5 48 09 PM

This update includes more improvements for macOS Mojave Dark Mode, as well as a few other fixes:

  • More improvements for Dark Mode for macOS Mojave
  • Increase the height of clue list table rows to give a little padding between text
  • Fix bugs related to puzzles that have blanks as “correct answers” for cells

I hope to finish up Black Ink 2 and ship an official release later this year. In the mean time, I hope some of you will enjoy these betas!

MarsEdit 4.2.1: Continuity Camera in Mojave

October 2nd, 2018

MarsEdit 4.2.1 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and has been submitted to the Mac App Store.

After Apple shipped macOS Mojave last week, I got a report from a MarsEdit customer who was trying out all the new bells and whistles. They discovered that the new Continuity Camera feature didn’t work in MarsEdit. Instead of inserting the freshly snapped picture from their phone, it crashed the app!

The problem turns out to be rooted in Apple’s handling of “file promises.” In a nutshell: since MarsEdit has gotten so good at accepting file promises from various apps, it’s also become vulnerable to bugs like this one, where file promise information that will crash the app is placed on the pasteboard.

MarsEdit 4.2.1 works around this crash. Now if you want to take a picture from your phone to add to a blog post, just right-click in the Editor, and select “Take Photo” from the menu item next to your phone’s name:

Screenshot of Continuity Camera feature in contextual menu

Here is the complete list of changes in MarsEdit 4.2.1:

  • Support Mojave’s new Continuity Camera feature for taking pictures from an iPhone’s camera
  • Dark Mode: fix text color in Crash Reporter console log display
  • Support “Extended Entry” content in preview template downloader
  • Restore support for dragging URLs from Safari into MarsEdit’s editor

If you enjoy MarsEdit, please consider writing a review or rating the app on the Mac App Store, spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter, and of course, writing about the app on your own blog! Thanks for your support.