Review: MarsEdit

Send to Kindle

Buy MarsEdit. Okay, maybe I should clarify. If you maintain or regularly contribute to one or more blogs, buy MarsEdit.

For the last several months I have been putting MarsEdit through its paces. I have heard people singing its praises several years, but only recently has its value become apparent to me. Along with AcademicMac, I also maintain or contribute to my personal blog, my department blog, YSU’s Teaching and Learning blog, and the PTA blog for my daughters middle school.1 MarsEdit has allowed me to maintain four of five of these with minimal effort.

Overview

MarsEdit is a desktop blog editor that allows you to create, edit, post and revise multiple blogs. It has the built-in ability to embed images and video in your posts. These can either be uploaded with the post or separately. You can also preview your post prior to upload in a separate preview window.

MarsEdit main
MarsEdit Window
MarsEdit media
Media_Window
MarsEdit Preview
Preview

MarsEdit allows you to write in two separate modes. For those that just need a word processor for blogging, you can compose your posts in rich text mode. On the other hand, if you like to use Markdown, MultiMarkdown or HTML, there is a plain text mode. Regardless which compose mode you choose, you are also able to assign your posts a category and tags, and decide if you want to allow Comments or TrackBacks.</p

MarsEdit Compose
Compose

Impressions

When I first looked at MarsEdit several years ago, I didn’t see the real advantage to paying $39 for a blog editor. At that time I maintained a single WordPress blog for course discussions (that did not use images or media) and played around with a Posterous blog. In both cases I found the web interface to be adequate. Since using MarsEdit, I can’t imagine goining back. The ability to draft, incorporate multi-media, post, and revise all from my laptop is well worth the price. In particular the ability to easily edit a post (something I find myself doing more and more) is an incredible time-saver, as is being able to search every blog entry I’ve ever made.

The only downside to MarsEdit will be to hardcore MultiMarkdown users. While MarsEdit does support a MultiMarkdown preview mode, you cannot convert you text to Markdown within the program. I have worked around this limitation by composing in Markdown, performing a “Select All” on my text and running Brett Terstra’s Markdown Service Tools from the Services menu. Doing this does convert my Markdown text to HTML, but it also means I lose my original markdown text. It would be nice to be able to compose in Markdown, and publish directly out of MarsEdit as HTML. I suspect though that most academics will not miss the lack of full Markdown support.

Conclusion

If you regularly maintain a Blogger, Tumblr, TypePad, [Squarespace 5]2, or Movable Type blog, and want to be able to write offline, you really can’t go wrong with MarsEdit. Even without the ability to save my posts in [Markdown]3, I still find MarsEdit an incredibley easy and efficient way to blog.


  1. This last blog is maintained by SquareSpace blog which is currently not supported by MarsEdit due to SquareSpace’s own restrictions.  ↩

  2. MarsEdit does support the previous version of Squarespace, Squarespace 5. Hopefully, Squarespace will reconsider their decision to not support an Squarespace 6 API for third party editors.  ↩

  3. Although my posts are saved as HTML, I can also convert them back to Markdown using the Convert HTML to Multimarkdown Service Tool. ↩

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the thoughtful review. I want to draw your attention to a feature I recently added to MarsEdit, which should streamline the “convert from Markdown to HTML” workflow for blogs where you want it. In blog settings, under “Posting”, you will now find an “Apply preview filter to content” option. If you check this then whenver you post to your blog from the HTML Text editor, the content will first be run through the preview filter before sending it to the blog.

    Does that help?

%d bloggers like this: