Critical OSX Tools for Bloggers

Its time to dedicate a post to what keeps our blog running, our favorite blogging tools. Since we’re Mac users, obviously this post will only contain the OS X stuff we use for blogging. If you’re still a windows user, you can close your browser now and go do something useful – This post isn’t for you. (wonder how many comments this post will receive, seeing most of the lost souls here are Windows users.)

We’re going with a top five list since they seem to be all the rage and we might even get dugg. Most of the crap articles on there are either Apple related or they’re top x* (*x equals any amount of entries you see fit for a popular list).

And here are the most popular Mac OS X apps we use are, in no particular order (and without any affiliate links!):

Mac OS X – Leopard.

So it’s not an app but a whole OS. We just didn’t have the heart not to mention this beautiful piece of software. Besides all the obvious eye-candy, Leopard has so much more to offer which makes our blogging experience so much more pleasant. One of the coolest things Leopard has on board must be Spotlight – we’d be lost without it since we’re not that great in keeping clean and organized archives of all our files on the Mac… or anywhere else really, our girlfriend will gladly testify to that 😈 Spotlight is amazingly fast in sifting through our garbage and it’ll find whatever we’re looking for in seconds. Most of the time we’ll use it to locate images we saved from the net to dress up our blog posts.

2) Coda – All in one tool.

This gem is not really a blog tool as far as content creation, but it sure helps to tweak and modify your blog’s theme. Before we bought Coda, we were always messing around with a couple of applications to modify and test our theme. We had do use Cyberduck (love those mac app names!) to download the specific PHP file we wanted to edit. Editing was done with Smultron (oooh more silly mac app names!), a great text editor that we still use for stuff we do off-line, and once that was done, we’d have to open a browser to see if the modified page was anything like we wanted it to look like. If that was all done, we’d use Cyberduck again to upload the file to the webserver and that was that. Now with Coda it’s a whole different story – one app to do them all! Seriously, the improvement of work flow has multiplied by a factor of 10 at least. Once we fire up Code, we are logged into the remote server, the local folder with files and we can drag, drop, edit and preview everything in one go. Besides the incredible speed and easy of use, it comes with all sort of handy little features like auto-filling/closing all HTML tags, a shell to connect via SSH (might want to restart your Apache or MySQL server at times), A fully fledged CSS editor and some fantastic eye-candy. We love it!

Ecto – Offline composing.

This great little app has been extremely useful at times where we didn’t have an Internet connection. Its made for one thing and one thing only – write and compose your blog posts offline. Everything you need to write your posts is available with the click of a button. It even has a nifty word count button, saves the hassle of manually having to count all the words! One of the coolest features Ecto has in our opinion, is the fact that it can connect to the backend of your WordPress blog and retrieve all the posts you’ve ever written. Not just handy for local editing, it’s also an additional backup you can make of your blog posts. And we all know how important it is to backup your blog! Mind you, it’ll only retrieve the text and hot-linked images, so don’t rely solely on this for backup purposes. Ecto is available for download from infinite-sushi for just $17.95 and they have a Windows version too. 21 days free to try.

4) Vienna – RSS Newsreader.

To keep informed of what our neighbors in the blogosphere are rambling about, we’ve given Vienna a spot on our secondary screen. This handy little app constantly keeps an eye out on what others are blogging about so we won’t miss out if there’s a scoop somewhere. Besides being free, Vienna is really all we need. We can add an infinite number of blogs to the list and have them polled every few minutes. As soon as something new is retrieved, Vienna integrates nicely with Growl to notify us of any fresh retrieved messages. (Growl also works wonders with Coda btw). Vienna is quite popular, as the searchterm ‘Vienna’ in Google shows these guys in the second spot, just after a Wikipedia entry about Vienna, capitol of Austria!

5) Photoshop CS3 – Image Editing.

Perhaps not a Mac specific tool, but since Coda has integrated five other tools, we just had to include it to make the list come to five! Nearly every blogger has to use an image editor one way or the other, Photoshop CS3 just is our favorite. We’re nowhere as skilled as we’d like to be, but as long as we can crop, resize and add drop shadows to our pictures, we’re happy. If we’re working on a different machine that doesn’t have PS installed, we like to use an online tool – Resizr. No drop shadows, but at least it resizes anything we want for free and quick too. Perhaps utilizing PS for the little and simple modifications we do is a bit much, but since we have it, why settle for anything less?