I figure that if I’m going to start using my blog to help anchor me when I’m feeling creatively adrift, I need to figure out how to blog when I don’t have internet access since that’s my situation most of the time. Fortunately, WordPress.com has a support article for offline editing options, so that gave me a good start to work with.
As much as I appreciate that WordPress.com’s mobile apps have this feature built in by default, I tend to be a bit verbose in my writing and I have difficulty writing anything substantial on my phone. I do have an iPad that I use sometimes but I prefer to write on my Macbook, so let’s check out the recommended 3rd party editor for Mac, MarsEdit.
MarsEdit Offline Blogging
Downloading MarsEdit was a breeze, even using the hotspot we borrowed from the library while simultaneously watching Sykkuno’s Jackbox livesteam. It was honestly done before I even finished writing that previous sentence.
Once the program finished downloading, I unzipped the file, moved the application into my Applications folder, and opened the program.
The first thing that MarsEdit has me do is connect to an existing blog. I already have a blog (this blog), so that’s the option that I selected.
I entered my blog information and then MarsEdit prompted me for my username and password.
When I added my WordPress credentials, MarsEdit asked me for an “application-specific password” since I have two-step authentication enabled.
Fortunately, the WordPress support article that I linked above made this a fairly painless process by letting me go to my WordPress.com security settings and generate an Application Specific Password for MarsEdit at the bottom of the two-step settings.
After I entered the password that WordPress.com generated, MarsEdit started to download all of my existing posts.
To make this really meta, I’m going to switch from editing this draft directly in WordPress.com so that we can really get the full experience.
When pulling up this post, the first thing that MarsEdit asked me is if I want to edit in Plain Text or Rich Text.
As a former web designer/developer, I find this super cool. I’m going to choose Rich Text as I want to test the editorial limits of this program but I might go back to plain text editing if I ever start getting super picky about my HTML formatting.
I have to admit, I was a little worried about how well MarsEdit would be able to emulate the WordPress interface that I’m used to. However, the interface looks really clean at first glance with everything I care about right up front.
To screenshots like that last one, I generally use Mac screenshot shortcuts to copy a portion of the screen to my clipboard and copy them directly into the editing interface of WordPress.com. I wanted to see what that process would look like in MarsEdit, so I tried the same shortcuts and received the image upload screen.
I love the options that this dialog gives me. Not only are the image properties super transparent, I get to decide whether I want to upload images immediately or when I upload the post. This should mean that I can build a whole post offline and then publish everything at once when I have the best internet access. This is exactly what I needed.
Now that we’ve got the foundations for creating blog posts offline, let’s switch gears and talk about getting media from my phone to my computer to be able to add images and videos to my blog posts.
Side note before I move on: When I instinctively tried to use the / shortcut to create a Heading for the next section, I realized that MarsEdit doesn’t respond to the / shortcut that WordPress.com does. I also realized that there’s no easy button for Headings, so I’ll have to figure out how to add Headings properly later. For now, I’ll just copy and edit the previous header and hope the formatting sticks.
Side note part 2: I was going to caption the above image with something pithy about “where’s my headings” but I couldn’t figure out how to add a caption. However, when I right-clicked the image to see if I could edit the images options, I saw that you can highlight text and make it a header.
Offline Media Management
One of the biggest challenges that I have when writing blog posts offline is that I would love to include photos and videos that I have taken with my phone but I don’t currently have a method of transferring media to my phone without the internet. Currently, I primarily rely on my phone automatically backing up photos and videos which I then download.
Ideally, I’d like to be able to transfer files directly to my computer through USB but as my computer is a Mac and my phone is an Android device, I’m not entirely sure what my options are. Off to Google!
Looks like my best option is to download and install Android File Transfer on my Mac. This was also a very quick download and install. The interface is pretty straight-forward too, emulating a find window that I can use to drag files back and forth.
Easy Peasy! That should be all I need for now to start blogging more regularly while offline.