I’ve been having problems doing longish postings using Moveable Type‘s standard maintenance interface. While it’s fine for simple babblings, when doing longish reviews and commentary, say, like this one, doing all the edits in a <textarea> really gets wearing. So I set out to find a tool for my Linux machine to make posting easier.
First of all, there ain’t many. I found only 2 references on the net, one via
directory on Texturizer.net, but that didn’t
seem to fit the bill. The other came through a quick search of my favorite software directory,
Freshmeat, and that led me
Due to the joy of Debian’s
apt-get tools, I was able to
install BloGTK via a simple ‘apt-get install blogtk’. This required a few dozen other packages, which
apt-get happily installed, and in a few minutes installation was complete.
But, lo, there was no binary! The debian package apparently missed making a binary link anywhere, so
I resolved that with a quicky startup script in ~/bin:
dbs@jboat:~$ cat bin/blogtk #!/bin/bash echo "Starting blogtk..." python /usr/lib/blogtk/BloGTK.py
Once that was set, I was able to start up the app. Setting up the target URL for the blog was no
problem, though I needed to do a little research to figure out where the xmlrpc.cgi script for Moveable Type
was (fyi, it’s /cgi-bin/mt-xmlrpc.cgi). A few clicks, and up it came.
It works! That should be a win for everyone. I’m able to review postings I’ve made, type up new
ones (like this one), and do basically what bloggers should do. Blog. 🙂 The interface is clean and
easy to work with, nothing was difficult to find or unintuitive. I’m able to save postings for later
re-editing, (though the ‘draft posts’ are not available from my MT installation, so if I’ve been working on
something online, I can’t switch to using BloGTK to continue editing, or vice versa).
The Preview Post option is outstanding. What a win having that just on a tab.
I have some nits. The ‘edit post’ screen, which has a large input area, automatically wraps the
text as you type. Great, works for me. If I need a hard return, I can either turn on Convert Breaks and
let it do it for me, or I can put in pagebreaks. However, the Advanced screen, where I do most of my
long posting typing, doesn’t wrap. I have to hit [enter] on every line, which means I can’t use Convert
Breaks, which means I have to use <p> page breaks to format the paragraphs. Annoying!
It’s not all that zippy. I’ve seen some fairly noticeable delays when chatting with my MT server, which
is on the local network. My machine is a PIII-700 w/384meg, and is under no heavy load, so it should have
been faster, but I can deal with that.
BloGTK spews a LOT of warnings when first starting up. Lots of GTK ‘null’ warnings and the like. Doesn’t
seem to be a problem (no crashes), but is annoying.
Multiple categories are not supported in the Moveable Type posting. I can probably change this in
the MT maintenance screens, but it would be nice to have it in the client. Oops, in fact, after I posted
this article, I realized that the Category pulldown on the edit screen isn’t working at all, and my
posting went in without a category. Had to go fix that by hand.
Keyboard shortcuts other than the normal GTK keys would be a win. Like ^S for Save, etc.
Wow the lack of a binary on the startup is annoying. That may be the Debian package maintainers, so
I can’t blame the BloGTK folks for that one. But really, other than the wrapping in the Extended Entry
screen, there’s not a lot to gripe about.