Back to Ecto

Dammit, I’m just going to capitalize Ecto from now on. Why live like an animal?

So clearly I’ve made my choice. Although “choice” isn’t the right word. Just as I sifted through a half-dozen blog services and CMS’s and then said “Right, I’ll go with WordPress and see if that works out” I’m going with Ecto and seeing if I prefer an offline editor to WordPress’ standard visual thing.

I mean, WP’s editor works just fine. In fact, it’s probably about 80% as good as Ecto or any other desktop app. I see a lot of similarities between the layout of the editing tools.

But that extra 20% might be a big deal. I’ve rarely included images in my blog posts because they’re just too much trouble. In Ecto…well, they’re still too much trouble. At least it’s an improvement. The point is that when the limits of your tools causes you to place limits on your creativity…that’s no good.

Oh, and I have a theory about Ecto’s bulleted-list tool. Let’s do an experiment:

[Experimental stuff deleted.]

Nope. Dammit. I thought maybe you’re supposed to type out the whole list, select it, and then click on the List tool. I’m now prepared to call this a defect.

I should mention that Ecto also has a pretty ambitious Scripts tool, supporting all of the usual suspects. Given that I’ve written loads of BBEdit scripts for automatically creating, formatting, and inserting content…well, that could be a Very Big Deal for me.

Methinks I’ll fire off a little email to the good folks at Ecto to get their comments. I wonder if I can nudge them into improving the Media tool. At the very least they can tell my how the holy **** to get the list tool to work…!

Methinks I’ll also have to do something to fix those two test posts. See, this is why I want a decent image tool: as-is, both Ecto and MarsEdit did something so weird that my WordPress theme doesn’t know how the hell to make these images fit inside the template.

4 thoughts on “Back to Ecto

  1. Tom Reeves

    ecto failed the required ‘carriage return’ test for me. So I still use MarsEdit, pining for the amazon and itunes tools in ecto.

    My main recommendation to use Preview to resize your images before upload. My column width on my blog is 380 px, so I use 200 px images right-justified. I just save my chosen image to my desktop, resize in Preview (where I can crop and instant alpha, too if I want), then use MarsEdit’s functional media button. It’s a nice button.

    You probably already know all of this and wrote a book or something about it. Still, I thought I’d offer one person’s work habit. I did try hard with the theme on your blog. My blog,, is built on the free neoclassical theme. That was much easier to edit using CSSEdit.

  2. Ihnatko Post author

    @Tom – Actually, I edited that original Ecto post after playing with the app some more. It does allow you to resize images — it even lets you upload arbitrary images — but those tools are nowhere near where I would have expected them to be.

    And now it appears that the folks behind Ecto also make a neat Flickr tool which does a number of cool things…including allowing you to embed Flickr content into an Ecto post. I’m likin’ this app a lot. I just hope it doesn’t break my poor little marzipan heart some day…

  3. Ben

    Andy- Are you using Ecto 2 or the still-in-beta Ecto 3? I’ve found that Ecto 3 has made of lot of the more “hidden” features more transparent although still not as dead-on simple as they could be. I’ve never tried MarsEdit but since I’ve already plunked down the $20 for Ecto, that’s what I’m sticking with. (And it’s ok, I capitalize it too.)

  4. Ihnatko Post author

    I’m using the beta. It really ought to be just a two-step process, shouldn’t it?

    1) Pick a photo. I should be able to pick one from my photo libraries, the standard file browser, or my Flickr stream.

    2) One panel of options that determine how the image appears. Size, thumbnail, padding, ALT, etc.

    Click “Upload” and youre golden. But otherwise, I’m likin’ Ecto 3.

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