I am a big fan of offline blog entry writing, especially since most web-based editors leave a lot to be desired and can be quite buggy. It didn't take long with the WordPress editor for me to know I couldn't actually use it to write anything. I was more hopeful with the BlogEngine.net editor, which is nicer than in WordPress, but it still wasn't viable for any real authoring. Knowing that I wanted a simple but featured offline editor, I went on a quest to find all the offerings that were available.
When I was using WordPress I was first introduced to Windows Live Writer, which is a great piece of software. There really aren't too many shortcomings with Windows Live Writer, but other than the post editing features, there's not a lot to it. Overall, it's a polished app with a lovely interface and good, albeit basic, features. The one drawback was that I was unable to delete posts that were published. I think this may be a limitation of BlogEngine.net's implementation of the MetaWeblog API. I also didn’t see a way initially to add tags, but after viewing Al Nyveldt’s post, I figured out it was just hidden (hit F2).
I found a post by a member of the BlogEngine.net team which covered some of the software that was available for offline authoring. Other than Windows Live Writer, the two attractive candidates seemed to be BlogJet and Zoundry Raven.
BlogJet was a great piece of software. It had the simplicity and interface goodness of Windows Live Writer, but just felt a little simpler and cleaner. It has the same limitation as Live Writer in the fact that you can't delete posts. But still, how often do you do that? The major roadblock with me using BlogJet was it's price. They are priced in GBP so after the currency conversion to USD, it's almost $50 as of this writing. Ouch .. I think Live Writer is good enough for that price. For $20 I might think about it, but it's not that great.
Zoundry Raven is another free option, which packs a good amount of features. It has a pretty decent interface and has a host of posting options. The drawback to the posting options is that there are so many options. There is a bit of a cumbersome interface to mark a post as draft or not, but it works. Again, you cannot delete posts with Zoundry. Are you seeing a pattern here? One interesting, but somewhat useless, feature with Zoundry is that you can view all links and images and drill down to what post contained them. It’s somewhat interesting to see that you linked to wikipedia 7 times over 4 posts or whatnot, but not really all that useful.
As many people have done, I have decided to stick with Live Writer. I used BlogJet a couple times during the trial, but there’s no point getting used to it since I’m not going to drop $50 on it. Zoundry was ok, but I like the polish of Live Writer better, and I don’t really need any of those extra features that Zoundry provides.
Hopefully this post helps you confirm that you’re using the right offline editor for you, or at least it introduces you to some other options. If you don’t mind buying a good piece of software, give BlogJet a try. If, like me, you can’t justify spending money on an editor for your hobby blog, try Live Writer or Zoundry.