Zoundry

Following all the recent discussion about offline blog editors, I thought I would give Zoundry a pop, following a recommendation that appeared in my comments from Dan Masters. It’s another free one, and I’m using version 1.0.18 to write this post.

I may as well get it out of the way now: I don’t like it. I genuinely believe that one’s initial reaction to a piece of software is the most important, and from the off I just didn’t get Zoundry. Part of the problem is the cluttered interface:

zoundry.png

And the image handling is a bit of a nightmare too. I selected the option to use my blog’s file upload feature rather than Zoundry’s own FTP system, and to be honest, writing this now, I haven’t a clue what it is going to do. The screenshot file I inserted above was automatically reduced down to a thumbnail, but I don’t think it is linked to the original, so I am guessing I will have to sort that out manually later. Update: to be fair to Zoundry, it inserted thumbnails and added links to the full size originals. Using the WordPress filesystem is also an improvement on what BlogJet does – as it keeps all uploads in the same place. Shame the UI doesn’t make it clear just how good a feature this is!

Another user interface problem is in the link box. I select the word I want to link from, hit the (tiny) link button, type in the URL, and the link title, and hit return. Nothing happens. I sigh, and move the mouse to click on ok.

The joy of BlogJet, my #1 offline editor, is it’s simplicity. It has some pretty good features, but the interface is clear and clean and much more pleasant to use:

blogjet.png

But Zoundry does have some nice features: being able to tag posts with a number of services, rather than just the standard Technorati, Qumana-style automatic insertion of links from the clipboard, downloading your blog’s entire history to a local backup (it would be interesting to know if this could be used to run two blogs, say one at your normal location, and a ‘backup’ blog at a hosted service, like WordPress.com, say).

But it is the interface that does it for me. Too cluttered, too ugly and the text formatting buttons are way too small. So for me, BlogJet is still my favourite, with Qumana a useful backup option.

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6 thoughts on “Zoundry”

  1. Thanks for the link back to my post.

    Overall I agree with you on your review.

    My initial impression wasn’t the best in using Zoundry either but I was able to side step some of the landmines that Zoundry laid due to the fact that I had used other Desktop Clients and stepped on them there.

    I would also have to agree with you that BlogJet is great. It is simple and to the point. It’s only drawback is that it is $50.

    At this point of my Blogging Career 🙂 $50 is a little much to spend on a hobby. That is why Zoundry is the best free Desktop Client in my opinion.

  2. $50 – yes, it is annoying having to shell out for one service when others are available for free. This is why Qumana is such a good option, IMO. Also, the guys at Qumana are really keeping their ears to the blogosphere and listenting to suggestions and comments – they really want their system to be the best. So if we keep nagging, Qumana could end up being the best out there!

  3. It is true, Qumana is the most active company IMO that is looking for user feedback outside of their own web site.

    Unfortunately though, their product is not in a usable state for the type of blogging that I do (Although I do not think that I am that different from the average Blogger that would use a Desktop Client).

    This brings me to my next point – What type of person uses a Desktop Client to blog anyway (I feel a post coming on)?

    It is usually the more advanced Blogger that finds the standard back end to be to limited.

    With this in mind I feel that if you are going to make a software to replace the back end, it should not be as good, but better, then the back end it is replacing.

  4. Dan – I wrote about this a bit here. An offline blog editor is useful for longer posts, possily written over a few days, where taking one’s time and cogitating over what one is writing has a positive effect.

    Other posts are quick, speedy affairs where you have to capture the moment. For these, a browser plug-in like Performancing for Firefox, or the built in blog editor comes into play.

  5. It’s true. For me using a Desktop Client helps me to better organized (my posts never seem to be short).

    I guess the point I was trying to make is that when you are a novice the default built-in tools are fine. But when you need more then Desktop Clients should be the answer (ie. provide MORE functionality).

    On a few of my blogs I still need to post as a draft and publish from the back end because I have plug-ins that won’t activate from a Desktop Client.

  6. Dave,
    Thanks for trying it out. The Zoundry user interface can be minimized to simply show only the editor. For example, closing the sidebar (‘x’ or via file-view menu) and hiding the trackback/date controls will end up with only the editor and the toolbar. The sidebar is convienient for people to create links to previous posts. The tools can also be accessed via shortcuts (e.g. ctrl+L for linking) and the right-click context menu. I agree larger 20×20 (or 24×24) buttons are more usable, but in our case, it will take up most of the editor area. Frequently used buttons are shown in the toolbar (16×16, similar to Word, Outlook, etc) and all others functions/features (nearly all of the requested/suggested by the users) via the right click context menu.

    Zoundry’s image handling is one of the better ones. Simply drag and drop. No need to upload each image first. Access to resizing, image properties, alignment etc. easily provided via right click context menu. Most people are used where they had to link/upload each image via additional dialogs when inserted into the post – hence are normally suprised when only a thumbnail is shown in Zoundry (and do not have to do anything else).

    ps: We are collecting all feedback – mostly via our forums and emails – so, a version 2.0 will address any UI and other quirks (across platforms) 🙂

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