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Qumana – First Impression Review

Well rather than procrastinating I thought I’d download Qumana straight away and am writing this post from it as a first impression review.

Downloading was simple (is it ever not on a Mac?) with the file only 8.7MB. Installation was a breeze as was configuring Qumana to blog to ProBlogger. It, like other desktop editors, has an auto set up where it will search for your blog and settings once you type in it’s URL. I was ready to post within 30 seconds.

My first impression of the layout of the tool is that it looks pretty professional and at a glance seems to have all the features I’m used to using my normal desktop editor ecto. There are also a few extra buttons and features that I’m not used to including the ‘insert Ad’ button which is the interface that Qumana has with Adgenta ads (an ad network run by the same people). Following is a screen shot of the post window that I’m currently looking at

Qumana

Inserting an image like that is a drag and drop deal and resizing the image can be done either by right clicking it and entering the ‘image properties’ option or by clicking on the image and resizing it by dragging it in a similar way to the way you’d do it in a Word Document.

I’m unsure if this image will appear as a thumbnail in my actual post (I use thumbnails a lot via ecto) and cannot see a ‘preview’ option which is something else I’m used to. update: as it turned out there were problems uploading the pictures so I’ve uploaded the image using another method and have made it a thumbnail. I’m not sure what the problem with the images was – it could have been at my end or theirs.

I’m sure there are many of Qumana’s features that I’m yet to discover but my initial impression is that it’s a good, simple and easy to use layout with all the basic features that I think most bloggers would want.

The WYSIWYG editing mode works well as does adding tags and trackbacks. Also being able to insert Adgenta ads into a post and customize their look on the run is handy if you want to go with them (although I still have a few reservations about using Adgenta personally and use other ads instead).

Source View (ie where you view the HTML) also seems to work well – the coding all looks clean enough and swapping back and forwards between the two modes works well enough.

Drop-PadAnother feature I’m notused to but which could be handy is ‘drop pad’ which is a button (it’s own little window) where you can drag and drop images, text and links to and then make a post out of them. I’m not sure I’d use it as I prefer to drag and drop directly into the editing window (which is possible) and see what I’m doing.

One word of warning. This is a beta and it has some bugs. Trying to move images around your editing window by dragging them will freeze Qumana and you’ll loose your post when you have to restart it (I just found that out and lost 10+ paragraphs – doh!). Might be worth using the ‘save’ function as you write til they come out of beta.

I’ve also noticed that starting up and opening a new editing window is quite slow for some reason. Perhaps it’s just my computer (although it’s got 2.5GB RAM and is running pretty fast for everything else).

A few things that are either missing from Qumana in this version (remembering it’s in beta) that I use in ecto (or that I just can’t see yet) include:

  • Interface with Amazon Associate program (I love the ability to search for and insert affiliate links to Amazon within ecto).
  • Extended Entry field – again this is something I use quite a bit of. I guess I could manually include the ‘more’ tag into the source view but having it automated would be nice. For this post I’ll just post it and then go into WP and edit it manually.
  • Post as Draft – I quite like to be able to upload a post into WordPress for future editing there.
  • Post Preview – As I said above – this is a handy feature, especially to check how images will look.
  • Interface with iTunes and iPhoto – I don’t use these much but know some bloggers who do.
  • Advance Posting – This may be possible but I can’t find it. This is essential for my style of blogging.

Another small problem I’m noticing is that at times when I scroll up and down while editing (or even type lines of text) I notice that lines seemingly disappear from my window. They are still there when I scroll up and down again. This is probably just a small bug – but can make editing quite tricky as it looks like I’ve deleted parts of my post.

My last pet peeve is the ‘powered by Qumana’ links that are set into posts by default (see below). I’m sure they can be deleted but I think I’d find it annoying to have to do it each post. Perhaps some would argue that it’s the least someone could do to leave the link as the tool is free, but I’m not a fan of it personally and think a blog with 15 or so posts on the front page each with that link looks a little odd and could also impact the SEO of that page as ‘powered by Qumana’ become keywords that are most dense on the page. update: Aaron points out in comments below this can be turned off in preferences. Missed this on my first run through preferences – thanks mate.

Overall I’m impressed with what the Qumana team have done in producing a Mac version of their desktop editor. There is obviously some areas to work on as it comes out of beta, but for a first go it’s got real promise. It’s a very useable and clean interface and I am looking forward to seeing how they take it forward in future releases.

Now – let’s test how this things uploads!

Update: Ok – not quite as smooth an upload as I’d hoped. The two images in the post didn’t seem to upload and I got an ‘Error publishing post’ message (even though the post went up onto the blog). The error was an ‘error decoding XML-RPC response’.

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Powered by Qumana

update: Aaron also has a review of Qumana 3 beta.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Darren–

    In the windows version, you can go into preferences and have the Powered by tagline not included by default.

  2. Tris says:

    Darren, Thanks for the review mate. On the XML-RPC error, just double-check two things. One, that you’re using WP 2.01 (that makes a difference with the uploads) and the you’re using the b2 beta (which I think you are). Then try removing problogger and re-adding it. If this doesn’t help … ping me.

    Your suggestions are also spot on. I’ve asked Ianiv to put auto-save in as well (I’ve lost my fair share of posts too).

    Keep the suggestions coming!

  3. Darren Rowse says:

    Tris – I’m definately using the b2 version but am using WP 1.5.1.3 still so that could be the issue.

  4. Rich Ottum says:

    Darren:

    I used the earlier version of Qumana and found it too clunky–especially with images. I switched to a trial of BlogJet for awhile. At present, however, I am using Post2Blog with both a TypePad and WordPress.com blog. My Post2Blog experience is far superior to either Qumana or BlogJet. My blogs are The eStrategyOne Buzz and Business Blog Consulting.

    Rich Ottum
    eStrategyOne

  5. Tris says:

    Yeah Darren, that might be it. If you’re still having a problem … ping Ianiv and we’ll give you a hand.

  6. John Hamman says:

    A couple of other nice features to have would be a Flickr interface, excerpt and category selecting. Also, even though my blog software works fine with this (communityserver.org – uses metablog api), it would be nice to see it under the list of supported.
    Another feature would be to have scheduled post.
    John

  7. Robb D says:

    I too had a problem uploading pictures. It would be nice if you just had the option to ftp images to whatever location you like kind of like you can with w.bloggar.

  8. Jon Heizer says:

    Looks like a useful program. I have been looking for an app to run under Windows, but I keep getting incorrect user/pass when I go to log in.

  9. Unless you use WP2.0.1 you will get and error when uploading pictures. However when uploading pics in 2.0.1 it is smooth as silk. Unfortunately I have both versions running, because I really like the convenience and feel of Quamana.

  10. Kashif Aziz says:

    I have one reservation against these editors, they generate html (that is if I preview the post from my WP editor, it will show the html markup) which is rather fuzzy to edit from the WP editor.

  11. Tris says:

    Kashif,

    Your comment is valid … which is why in v3 our output is XHTML compliant. Looks great in WP and old platforms.

  12. Kashif says:

    Thanks for the update Tris. I will give it a try and do a review in my blog about it.

  13. Khong Co Ai says:

    Hi Darren,

    After reading your post about, i decided to give a shot and try this freeware.

    During my trial, every time i post to my blogger account, one message said that my post was saved because of the spam firewall of Blogger… So every time i needed to go to Blogger dashnoard in order to publish the draft post.

    Today i had a great surprise on my dashboard:

    “Blogger’s spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. [...] You won’t be able to publish posts to your blog until one of our humans reviews it and verifies that it is not a spam blog. [...] If we don’t hear from you, though, we will remove your blog from Blog*Spot within 10 days.”

    I don t know if Qumana have any part of responsability in this, but i really consider to not use it until I have some feedback from some others users… May Blogger don’t remove my blog.
    :(

  14. Khong Co Ai says:

    Sorry for my english!

  15. Darren Rowse says:

    Khong Co Ai – I would email Qumana ASAP and get them to look into this.

    I’d also respond to Blogger and assure them that your blog is being updated by you personally and not automatically as a splog.

    I do notice that you have some largish quotes on your blog – perhaps this is one of the reasons? I’d ask Blogger for more information but definately let Qumana know.

  16. Khong Co Ai says:

    Darren, I just post my comment a 8:21, and you answered at 8:26…Jeezzz!!!!
    With regards to your busy days I was not expected any answer from you…
    Many thanks for your quick reaction, and also for your help!!!

  17. Tris says:

    Khong Co Ai,

    Thank you for alerting us to this potential problem. This is the first time we’ve heard of this kind of thing happening and we will be looking into it ASAP.

  18. Khong Co Ai says:

    Tris, Darren,

    Thanks for help, my blog has been reviewed, verified, and whitelisted!!! Everything is normal.

    Tris: I will post again with Qumana again and see what happens.

  19. Tris says:

    That’s great. I do have an e-mail in with Google to see what happened.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] LifeHacker ran a reader poll last week on what desktop blog editors bloggers are using. The results showed that just over 60% don’t use any. It was a close race after that with Performancing’s Firefox extension winning out with 11.7% and w.bloggar coming in second at 10.2%. Ecto, Qumana (I reviewed an early version of Qumana here) and Zoundry were the others but got only between 8.4% and 3.2%. [...]