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
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.
Another 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’.
Powered by Qumana
update: Aaron also has a review of Qumana 3 beta.