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How Do I Really Feel About MarsEdit?

March 25th, 2007

I started writing a “What’s wrong with my favorite apps” post almost a year ago (May, 2006). It’s been sitting in my MarsEdit drafts folder ever since (yay, MarsEdit drafts!).

I stumbled upon it today and found this choice bit of commentary on MarsEdit itself. I find myself frequently responding to the concerns of users by saying “Yes, I agree! I want to fix that!” Well, this isn’t proof that I really mean it, but it’s pretty good evidence:

MarsEdit. MarsEdit is, like NetNewsWire, extremely helpful to my daily routines. I tend to write a lot of blog entries, so I keep MarsEdit open even if only to capture vaguely bloggable ideas. In fact, this entry has sat in MarsEdit for a few days [UPDATE: Almost a year :) ] as I accumulate enough applications and opinions to make it worth posting.

My biggest complaint about MarsEdit is its lack of a search facility. This has everything to do with this “capturing ideas” behavior of mine. At any given moment I have the last several of my published blog entries as well as a number of drafts stored in the application. Right now there are 31 items in the Drafts folders. That’s right, 31 items that you don’t have to read (yet!). [UPDATE. Now it’s 52]

When I want to resume work on any of those drafts, it’s infuriating to not be able to easily pop it open by searching on a unique keyword. I went so far as to write an AppleScript aimed at performing the search for me, but alas MarsEdit’s scripting interface doesn’t allow access to the text of drafts, either.

MarsEdit needs a search field just like its cousin NetNewsWire has.

So, believe me! I care. I want this thing to rock, and I’m in a very good position to make sure that happens.

Oh and incidentally, I wonder sometimes if people will suspect me of “carpetbagging” this target audience. I mean, here I am I just pulling into town with a truck full of shiny new blog editor. But I have been interested in writing a blog editing application for a long time! In fact, I’ve even got some stale abandoned projects around here somewhere. In 2003 or so I noticed Michael McCracken’s open-source Blapp and seriously considered diving in. I thought with support for a few more blog systems it could really kick ass. You know, like MarsEdit.

A few years later I was deep into WordPress and again considered writing my own custom client. This time I was using MarsEdit, but hoping for even better integration with WordPress. Luckily, I never started that project. Also luckily, I am going to be able to finish it.

7 Responses to “How Do I Really Feel About MarsEdit?”

  1. P Says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while.

    Recently I have been considering purchasing marsedit. What I am worried about is that you will add a few features that are long over due and then release maredit 2.0 and charge for an upgrade. When do you plan to release mars’ 2.0?

    As a student mars’ is quite expensive, and I could not afford to pay for an upgrade in 6 months time.

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hi P – I have no idea how long it will be before 2.0 will be shipped, or how many more 1.x releases will be done before I move on to the next milestone. I am committed however to offering existing customers a very reasonable upgrade price when we move to 2.0.

    I can appreciate wanting to time things to save a bit of money, especially if you don’t have a lot of extra money to spare. But of course this is the problem in deciding whether to buy any type of product. Software is especially tricky to time, especially when the features to be included or excluded might be in flux during the development process.

    The good news is if you do buy now, you will start to benefit immediately, without having to wait however long it is until the next major upgrade.

  3. Greg Smith Says:

    I know how you feel. I was frustrated with the lack of development of MarsEdit and it lead me to get half way through my own Blogging app.

  4. Julian Cheal Says:

    Cool post. It’s funny how things pan out. I bet when you wrote that draft, being the owner and sole developer of MarsEdit, was never something you thought you would be doing.

    If you hadn’t of bought MarsEdit, and had of created RedSweaterEdit (trademarked) lol or equivalent. Do you think you would have gone down the same development path, that you are taking MarsEdit down?

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Julian: it’s impossible to say. If I had gone down the “new client” path, it probably wouldn’t be either as complete or as popular as MarsEdit, so … well, to be honest, it would probably be dead :)

    I think there’s really something to be said for great software having different “generations” of caretaker. It gives one generation a chance to give it their all, and then move on to something else while another generation takes over with renewed energy.

    This kind of shifting team phenomenon is present everywhere. For instance, there are very, very few people still employed by Apple who were there within the first year of the company (off the top of my head I can only think of Jobs, Woz, and one individual contributor). Yet the team that’s there now continues to build an awesome product (Mac OS) with renewed vigor.

  6. Gus Mueller Says:

    I think we all wanted to write a blog posting app at some. Must be a mac developer thing. I just took a gander at my old projects folder, and I see that one such project named “Chewable Rabbit” started on 5/13/00. It’s written in realbasic tool. Ouch.

    Oh hey, it still runs!
    http://gusmueller.com/2007/images/flysketch/ae1ce2e7-98a0-4749-aa30-b1e409d89ac5.png

    The cocoa version was named “BlogShop” (product of ’02) and it was equally as bad.

  7. Michael McCracken Says:

    Daniel, thanks for reminding me of good ol’ Blapp. It was a pretty fun app to work on. Because it was blosxom-only, I just punted on all the hard stuff like supporting blog software APIs, and got to work on fun things like preview tweaks for long posts and grabbing links from your old posts and making them searchable.

    I think searching your old posts is the kind of thing where a local blog editor can really offer a better experience than a web UI.

    Anyway, I also wanted to note that all of Blapp’s code was BSD-licensed, so if there was anything you wanted to take a look at, you can do so without any problems. I can’t imagine there is, except maybe for the links window, but just in case, there you are.

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