Thank you Ecto, for now I can blog

Normally, the prospect of spending the last few minutes of my evening writing a blog entry would seem a bit masochistic. The typical process:

  1. Visit my online blog
  2. Maybe sign in (after navigating to the login screen)
  3. Find the menu item I need to add a blog entry
  4. Open up some external wysiwyg (probably Dreamweaver) to compose so I can auto-indent html and save as I go
  5. Compose, copy and paste over to the add entry screen
  6. Submit, discover I used the wrong input type (should have been Full HTML, dangit!), change and resubmit
  7. Invariably decide to reword something, edit and resubmit

Besides the actual writing, that process is costly in terms of brain power and time. It kind of makes me sick to think about at such a late hour.

So, I'm probably the last mac-using blog-writer in the world to hear about Ecto, but on the off chance that I'm not, I'm using to it to post this to my blog, which - according to the Cult of Done Manifesto, item #12, is pretty much accomplishing my goal of telling everyone I know about it by just getting it on the web (thanks, Manifesto, for justifying my lazy ways!).

Ecto transforms the heavy process above to the following:

  1. CMD+Tab to Ecto (because it's always running on my mac)
  2. Click CTL+N to start a new entry
  3. Write it and click the Publish button
  4. Invariably change some wording and click the Publish button.
  5. Optionally do a little dance at how friggin easy this is

Maybe - just maybe - it takes a minute of time outside of actual writing, and a pretty brainless minute at that. Just click a couple pretty buttons. Heck I can do that in my sleep! (maybe I am doing it in my sleep...)

Getting Ecto set up with Drupal takes a little work initially, but once it's set, it's absolutely beautiful. Tutorials will likely come later, but I want to entice the reader with several more sexy bullet points to get you interested:

  • I use it to log ideas for blog posts. I just create a new entry with a couple word abstract, and then some late evening like this I'll flesh it out and post it.
  • You can filter out entries by word or tag.
  • It integrates with Drupal TAXONOMY! How bad ass is that?
  • It registers your input filters, and you can set a default (a beautiful method for getting around Drupal's single default input filter)
  • You can switch between wysiwyg and html
  • Add your own buttons to wrap particular code around
  • You can even edit other content types, not just blog entries (ideal for quick grammar corrections)
  • Spell check as you go (unlike Dreamweaver)
  • Image integration! Flickr integration! Twitter integration!
  • Schedule blog posts without extra Drupal modules
  • Manage multiple blogs in one place!

There are a few gotchas and quirks, but they're not bad considering the boons. This will be my sixth post from Ecto, so I may bump into a few more as I go, but so far, this is absolutely fantastic.

Ecto rocks my world!

Quirks:

  • Input format is hidden in HTML view, in the lower right hand corner. I attribute divine guidance in finding it
  • There's no 'clear formatting' button. Almost makes me miss TinyMCE
  • Oooh, icky <font style..> cruft when you try to stack formatting options

Update

Just discovered a novel use for Ecto and Drupal. In Drupal, if you decide to change the length of your teasers, you have to re-submit all your nodes to get the new length. With Ecto, you just select all your posts and click the 'publish' button, and *poof*, done.



Comments

Thanks for the tip about the input filters. Finding Ecto pretty good with Drupal. Not the prettiest Mac app, but it's working better for me than MarsEdit.