Performancing released a new Firefox extension today that lets the user blog directly from Firefox using their simple to use editor. I gave it a try and it is excellent. The extension supports Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, Live Journal, and Movable Type. It also appears that you can get it working for other services too. When enabling the extension, an editor will show up at the bottom splitting the browser in half. This is great because you can view websites, use tabs, and maintain your usual Firefox functionality all while the editor is open below. To get an idea of what is possible, take a look at the screenshot below (click to enlarge).
Getting started is simple. Install the extension, restart Firefox, open the extension and select the “Launch Account Wizard” button on the right under the “Blogs” tab. Select your blogging service and go through the steps. Once your blog has been successfully added, the blog will show up under the Blogs tab. You will also see that you categories and past blog posts are listed under the “Categs.” and “History” tabs. You will also see one last tab on the right called, Notes. You can use the notes area to obviously save notes, but also to save drafts of a post that you are working on.
On the left side is the editor itself. You can write in either a normal WYSIWYG editor or HTML format by selecting the “A” or “<A>” tabs at the top. When you finish writing, they also give a simple preview view that shows your posts title and content (No formatting, just default News Time Roman size 12). All of the normal WordPress functionality when writing remains. Buttons for bold, italic, underline, quote, link, image, etc.. When you finish writing, just click on the publish button and that’s it. Nice and simple, just how I like it. Another thing that I liked was that when you view the history of posts, selecting one will bring it up in the editor and then add a button, “Publish as Edit” next to the publish button that will allow you to edit the post instead of posting it as a new post.
Another feature that I just noticed is that you are not restricted to having the editor show up split screened on Firefox on the bottom. You can have it show on the top instead by going in the Settings area. Also, you can open up the editor in a new tab or window making it a full screen editor by right clicking on the icon for the extension and selecting the method.
I did have one small problem with the extension and a few minor suggestions as well. First, the editing of posts didn’t seem to work all that great for me. Content would edit perfectly fine, but in my test post I had an image left aligned and set it to a random category. When I edited the post, I aligned the image center, added the text, “Testing edit,” and selected a different category for the post. I clicked on the “Publish as Edit” button and it saved the post. When I went to check it, the image was not aligned center but the “Testing edit” text was there. I also noticed that the categories did not change. I went back to the post in the extension and the HTML and CSS for the centering of the image was gone, text was there, and the categories weren’t set. So, I guess there is still some issues with the editing of posts. Now for some of my personal suggestions/opinions. the phrase, “Publish as Edit” is a little confusing and I feel “Edit Post” makes more sense and follows the terminology of WordPress as well. Also, I would like to have the HTML view show in a smaller type and maybe in a font like Courier New. Maybe allow us to set a font? Another text related suggestion is that when previewing a post, links get some formatting, like an underline. Right now, linked text is the same font with no underline, so it is hard to see where the links are. No biggy, but I personally like to see where the links are. Lastly, I was working on a post and then wanted to check back on a note that I saved. Not thinking, I just clicked on the note to view the contents and then realized that I just overwrote my post I was working on. I would it that if you start writing, you can’t view a note or a post in the history without either saving what you are working on as a note or publish it. This way, nothing will be lost accidently. That about sums it up. Everything else worked great and Performancing for Firefox is definitely a very useful tool for blogging.
Update: Looks like the editing problems I am experiencing are restrictions by WordPress itself, but the categories still didn’t seem to edit. Performancing has more on Editing with WordPress.