Ecto has recently come out with a new version that peeked my interest. You may remember in post – WordPress Desktop Client Search I gave Ecto a because I needed to install .Net 2.0 to run it. I still take the stance that I do not like to have to install software to install software. Good software should install on my system the way it is or update my system automatically for me.
This time around Ecto advertised that it would do the .Net 2.0 install for me so I said what the heck, let’s try it.
.Net 2.0 and Ecto 2 – .Net installer crashed but Ecto installed anyway. After the install was complete I double clicked the Ecto icon and an error message came up. I figured this was due to the bad .Net install so I searched for the .Net 2.0 install and downloaded and installed it manually. Once that was complete I double clicked again and after the trial message the setup wizard loaded.
In the wizard you are prompted to enter your Blog address and any http authentication or proxy info. I entered my info and went to the next screen. A “Contacting Server” message and progress bar came up while it acquired information from my site.
After a confirmation that my site had been found it correctly selected WordPress for the “System” but then wanted to know the API. Unfortunately the only selections in the drop down were MovableType, MetaWeblog, Atom, and Blogger. Not knowing the “API” for WordPress I blindly selected Atom (couldn’t they have know that automatically? I mean they figured out that I was using WordPress). It automatically filled in my “Access Point” with my xmlrpc.php path.
I have to take a sidebar here and say that off the bat you can tell that this software is totally designed by an engineer. From the hoops that you have to jump through to get it installed, to the terminology that is used in the setup wizard, this only makes sense to an engineer and not to an average Joe. I mean if you are trying to get bloggers to use your software you need to speak their language. I am pretty technically inclined but I almost gave up with the install because of all the trouble.
After filling in my user name and password for my blog I got another error message that made no sense. I hit OK and attempted to use the program. The screen came up but I could not download my posts. I had to close the program and open it again.
This time the screen did not load all the way and the program seemed that it was frozen. After about 30 seconds the screen filled in and had a list of my recent posts. I clicked on new and a new window opened so that I could start posting.
Install time – 20 minutes.
At first glance the editor looked pretty straight forward. One thing that caught my eye was a check box labeled “Send Notification E-mail”. I quick lookup in the help section revealed that you can have a database of users that will be e-mailed when you post.
While this may sound cool, it is extremely manual compared to other similar methods out there. Think about it – how do people get on your list? You have to manually enter them. But how do you get them in the first place? There are much more simple, automated solutions out there. See my post FeedBuner Feeds on idano.net to see how I do this. This is just another example of something designed by an engineer and not a user.
I tested bullets out with it and tab works for sub-bullets . I think this is the first Desktop Client that I have used that got that right. Unfortunately Shift & Tab does not bring the bullet back out but hitting enter 2 times does. Hitting enter 3 times gets you all the way out the the list.
IMO this is where the engineering was right on. Their are only 2 things that I would do different though. The first would be to add CSS styling ability to the images as opposed to or in addition to standard HTML. The second would be to make a “Simple” mode that would not have so many choices. You might scare the newbies with so many options. It is nice though for those of us that know what they are doing to have those choices available.
With Ecto you get to post as a draft or publish if you want. The only thing is that it does not appear that Ecto saves a local copy to you computer when you hit the save button. When I clicked the save button I was prompted with a confirmation window asking if I wanted to post to idano. The problem with this is what if you do not have internet access available? The whole idea of Desktop Blog Clients is that you save locally and then post to your blog when you want. Also, even if I am connect to the internet I am in the habit of saving after every major addition or change to a post so i do not loose my work. I do not want to post to my blog each time I save something.
Putting everything else aside I would not be able to use this product for that one reason. I often am on my laptop without internet access using Zoundry to write up a post that I plan on publishing once I get home or to the office.
So to sum it all up, if you do not mind paying $17.95, the lengthy and complicated install, and the fact that you must be connected to the internet to use the product, then Ecto might work for you. IMO there are a few other Desktop Blogging Clients that may work better for you if these things are issues.