For the past couple of years I have used the offline blog post composer Ecto, and I have loved it. Since upgrading to WordPress 2.2 as my blogging engine, however, version 2 of Ecto has not functioned for me. I was pleased to learn an alpha version of Ecto 3 is now available, which DOES support WordPress 2.2, but after using it for about an hour this evening and losing an entire, lengthy blog post TWICE I wrote (and now have to re-compose for the third time) I’ve decided to give up on this “alpha” release.

Of course “alpha” software releases are pre-beta… bugs are acknowledged by the developer, not hidden, and users/testers should expect problems. Well, the current version of Ecto 3 lives up to its “alpha” status. I do like the WYSIWYG interface, and generally the new version looks good… My main complaint was that blog categories and tags are not separated into different tabs as they were in the previous version of Ecto, but instead all combined in a confusing and long (in my case) list.

I’m going to wait till the final version of Ecto 3 is released before switching back. Since my WordPress 2.2 upgrade in early July, I have been using MarsEdit, which I like but still find inferior to Ecto in several ways. (It is missing support for Amazon Associate links, a sidebar checkbox for handling Technorati tags – it’s under a menubar choice, and I haven’t been able to configure the custom tags to work like I was able to with Ecto.) Since I’ve been using MarsEdit for over 30 days, I went ahead and bought the software, and I am generally pleased with it as a blogging tool.

When the final version of Ecto 3 is released, I will likely return to it as my primary blogging tool. Losing at least an hour’s of writing work this evening (I know, I should have copied it somewhere else and backed-up, but I didn’t) has exhausted my patience for Ecto 3 Alpha.

MarsEdit is Mac-only software, while Ecto is available for both Windows and Macintosh users. Scott McLeod uses and recommends BlogJet as a windows-only blog editing program, I have not given it a try (and likely won’t.) If you find yourself doing a fair bit of blogging these days, I’d highly recommend checking out at least one of these programs. None are free, but they certainly can streamline the blogging experience…. As long as you steer clear of “alpha” software releases! 😉

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One Response to Ecto 3 Alpha released, not recommended

  1. Robert says:

    I downloaded the ecto3 alpha as well and had pretty much the same experience as you:

    http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/ecto3-alpha-released/

    The combining of Categories and Technorati Tags in the new version is just as irritating and inexplicable to me as it was to you. And as far as I can tell, they still haven’t figured out a way to handle multiple WordPress,com accounts. (Currently in ecto2, if you have multiple WP.com accounts, ALL posts published with ecto go only to the “primary blog”.)

    On the other hand, there are some nice features. The rich text editor is much improved, and it seems to handle media much better. (But not perfectly; see my post.)

    I think it’ll be a very good upgrade in time, but it’s not really ready for prime time yet.

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