Freeware Review: Quoth the Raven, Blog It More!

I’ll admit that, as much as I love blogging, part of me hated writing blog posts. It was filled with annoyances. First I had to go into WordPress’ admin panel. For some reason, I’d always wind up logged out, so I’d have to load up PasswordSafe to retrieve my password and log in. Once in, I’d have to navigate to the New Post page. When I was there, I’d need to type in my post, remembering to hit Save every so often lest my browser crash and I lose it all. (Somehow, auto-save never works when you need it to.) When I wanted to put images in my post, I had to upload them then add them to my blog using a variety of tactics.

All of these little annoyances meant that it was hard to write a blog post. At least harder than it should have been. All I wanted was a local version of WordPress’ admin panel (so I wouldn’t need to log in) with more of an application’s feel to it. After some Google searching, I found Zoundry Raven. Zoundry Raven gives you a local copy of your blog to work on. It uploads changes (posts, photos, etc) via XML-RPC. What this means is that you load up Raven, select a blog post (or create a new one), add images via dragging and dropping and then hit Publish to send it all to your blog. No messing around with a separate FTP tool. No stopping writing to upload some files.

Raven is suprisingly versitle. You can have photos upload to your blog, to Flickr or another storage medium. You can select your categories, tell the post to stay in draft mode and even schedule when it should be posted. You can even install Zoundry Raven in “portable” mode, stick it on a USB flash drive and blog from any computer with an Internet connection. Heck, you could even write out your blog posts without an Internet connection and simply publish them when you get online.

There are slight annoyances. While trying to convert B to Raven, I found that her blog freezes up Raven as it tries to download the new posts. I suspect that this is because Raven is trying to download 5,000 posts at a time instead of simply finding which ones were updated and downloading those. Luckily, you can click a “drop down” arrow instead of the button and choose to download just the last post, 1,000 posts, or anywhere in between. It would be nice if you could change the button’s default though Also, I can assign categories, but I can’t make them. If I wanted to create a new “WordPress” category while writing this blog post, I would need to go back to WordPress’ admin panel, add it, then re-sync Zoundry Raven.

Overall, though, those are minor annoyances. Plus, Zoundry Raven is free and open source. This is definitely now my blog editor of choice and is directly responsible for me blogging more often.