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some features I'd like to see

edited July 2012 in MarsEdit
I've been using MarsEdit for several years now, and it seems to be the best offline blog editor out there. Congratulations.

However, there are some features that would make it work a lot better for me:

* special characters - I couldn't find any way to insert them. I LOVE the WordPress special characters bar so that I can add things like — (em dash) and non-english characters like ë (ë) without having to remember the HTML codes for them.

* wider full screen mode - I wish full screen was really that, but all I get is a narrow column taking up the full height and width. It's nice that everything else is hidden, but it still doesn't use the real estate available effectively

* customizable edit menu - It would be cool to be able to put the tags and codes that I use the most in the edit menu, so that I can access them quickly.

* better error messages - when I typo'd the xmlrpc location, I got a message saying that there was a 404. But not for what. I ended up on a Japanese site translated by my browser to tell me where to look for the problem. And when I input my self-hosted WordPress blog, it just said it couldn't auto determine the settings.

* but why couldn't it? - the xmlrpc.php in all my blogs is in the same place (the root directory). How hard would it be to make an educated guess about the file being in the root of my URL and the blog ID being 1, and then if those facts aren't true, THEN making me fill in the fields myself.

* an option to NOT store my passwords in the keychain - some of my blogs I don't want automatically grabbed, I just want to fill in the password every time - yes tedious, but much more secure, especially on a laptop that could easily be stolen.

* password protection on MarsEdit directly - this would also solve the above problem. If I could lock down the entire program behind a password, I wouldn't worry as much about the passwords in the keychain.

That's probably enough. :-) And if it already does any of these things, I'd love to know, so that I can improve how I use MarsEdit.

Again, thanks for all that you do, I do love your program, and think it's a great offline blog editor. I would love to see it get even better.


  • Thanks for all the great feedback. I am taking it all to heart and want to respond to some of the points specifically because I may be able to offer alternatives in the absence of these improvements in MarsEdit. Bear with me, this is kind of long, but I think you will benefit from some of the information:

    1. Special Characters. If you can figure out how to type the characters in MarsEdit, you shouldn't need to remember any HTML codes for them. Granted, some of these solutions are not as convenient in all cases as the WP special characters panel, but e.g. for the example you cited (ë) here are a few options that work not only in MarsEdit but anywhere on your Mac:

    - If you are on Mac OS X 10.7 or higher, just press the letter (e) and hold it until a panel with common variations pops up. Then you can arrow to the desired variation, or press the number under the variation to select and continue typing.

    - If you have the "Input menu" enabled (from System Preferences, Language & Text), you can always select Show Character Viewer from the menu bar at the top right of your Mac's screen, and then browse the entire set of unicode characters for insertion.

    - For very common characters you can memorize the option-key based input to get the desired variant. For example to get ë you can type opt-u and then e.

    2. Full Screen Size. If you zoom the editor window to the full size of the screen before entering full-screen mode, it will take up the full screen. I will consider enhancements to the way this works but for this version I decided to settle on the approach that the current width is always respected so users who prefer narrow or wide can get exactly what they are looking for.

    3. Customizable Edit Menu. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the customizability of the "Format" menu. (Select Customize from the bottom). Does this achieve what you're looking for, or is that you specifically want to be able to edit the "Edit" menu?

    4. Autoconfigure and Error Messages. The error messages can definitely use some work. Why can't I just make an educated guess about "xmlrpc.php"? Well, it's not a bad idea, but bear in mind that not every blog is WordPress based so it won't follow the same convention. The better question here is why you had to type the XMLRPC API at all. In most scenarios MarsEdit is able to figure it out by using the official conventions that WordPress uses to advertise its configuration information to clients. If it didn't work for your site, it's most likely a bug in the theme you are using.

    5. Optional Keychain Storage. This is a good point. When I implemented the current keychain behavior, I envisioned only using MarsEdit on a personal computer that you "trust." I didn't consider other scenarios but I ran into just the issue the other day when I logged in to my blog from an Apple store to test out MarsEdit on a newer Mac.

    Thanks again for the feedback.


  • Thanks for the suggestions. I guessed about the resize of the window before entering full screen mode. And I already knew about how to add most special characters, but some I don't have memorized, so it's nice to have the chart.

    Re the edit menu, I was thinking about how many editors have things like bold, italics, etc. on the menu, rather than inside a drop down.

    Re the xmlrpc thing I'm using the standard twenty-eleven theme that comes with WordPress for one of the blogs that it didn't recognize. While the other themes could definitely have problems like you describe, I'm not sure why the default that comes with the setup wouldn't work. oh well. :-) I got it working in all the cases I use it for, so that's all that matters, right? ;-)
  • Thanks, yeah, it's great that you got it working, but I would definitely like to get things working more smoothly for other folks who might run into this. I will play around with the twenty-eleven theme and see if I can spot any gotchas.
  • Oh, and I meant to say, for the edit items you describe, bold, italics, etc., they are in the Format menu, but tucked away under the "Style" submenu. You can actually move them around (and any other Format menu items) through the Customize functionality of that menu.

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