MY EYES MY EYES - help me avoid the WordPress interface and still post to my blog.
June 18, 2008 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I don't like the WordPress 2.5 look and feel. I am not interested in switching CMSes. What are my options for basic postings to my blog with minimal interaction with the WordPress interface?

The suboptimal things include having to scroll to choose categories and add tags, the "3D" look to the buttons, all the extra headings and colors, the small "publish" button and all the nagging (I know 2.5.1 is available, I'd like to dismiss that message). I'd like to not have to scroll to write and publish a short post with tags and categories. I think this must be possible.

I am fairly tech-savvy. I want to post a blog entry with maybe a category and some tags, nothing else fancy (this is for my "work" blog, not my personal blog). I can write my own HTML, don't need WYSIWIG. I'm okay using the admin interface for more complicated things or for editing. I like what WP does, just not how it looks.

I had a nice custom admin section before I upgraded; my fallback plan is just to hack away at the CSS like I did last time. I have tried a few things that have not worked so well.

- ScribeFire and Deepest Sender addons for Firefox both kick back errors that I don't quite understand. (I get through installing/configuring them and see my categories but can't post. DS returns "TypeError: node is null" SF returns "The server returned a malformed response. Please check that your blog and API URLs are correct." If this is a chmod problem, I can chmod). If I could get either of those to work my problem would be solved. I have command line access to my account and a medium level of comfort with command line Unixy stuff.
- I have installed a few plugins that claim to make WP easier on the eyes including Retro-Dashboard Admin Theme, Admin Menus, Dashboard Lite and a few more that I may have already deleted. They are fine but don't solve these specific problems.
- I do not want to install an older version of WP just to fix this.
- I have searched the WP plugins admin section and Google for something that seems to do this and tried many things and didn't find anything that looked good.

I'd be happy to hear if you've found something that works but please don't direct me to the WP site (unless there's really something you think I've missed) or to a Google search. Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks!
posted by jessamyn to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: One option would be to do your posting from a standalone blog-editing app. On the Mac side, I've been using Ecto since it was knee-high to an ant, and like it. There's also MarsEdit, which I have not used. I know there are Windows counterparts, but I don't know what they are.

There's (at least) one plugin that re-skins the WP admin view, Fluency. I haven't used the latest version, and the previous version had a slightly hinky interaction with another plugin.
posted by adamrice at 1:58 PM on June 18, 2008

Could you not use a stand-alone app such as MarsEdit?
posted by sveskemus at 1:58 PM on June 18, 2008

Best answer: While configuring ScribeFire/Deepest Sender you're pointing to http://yourdomain/xmlrpc.php, right?

There are some hosts that block access to that file, so try asking for that too.
posted by Memo at 1:59 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks. I'm hosting with and I dropped them a note to see if there's anything weird on their end and I'm downloading Ecto and MarsEdit. I haven't used a standalone offline editor since BBEdit when it was basically ftp-ing the files up and down. I'm totally okay with buying software if it solves this problem....

update: looks like I'm getting the same error from Ecto -- "Unexpected data from server. Is the access point correct?" -- so maybe my host can help me with this.

update: my host says "Actually, we are blocking it across the board and users have to basically "opt in" to use it. It's not the best policy, but if you know to ask and you know what it's for, we are probably safe to open it up for you."

He will enable it once he's done eating dinner, he says. Wow, ibiblio.
posted by jessamyn at 2:17 PM on June 18, 2008

I never liked to Wordpress backoffice, eventhough I've been using it as a CMS since version 0.8.

As long as you can indeed use the XMLRPC port to post, there are several good standalone tools for publishing posts.

My all time favourite is wBloggar, because it enables me to customize hotkeys for the code I frequently need in my post.

Windows Live Writer gets better and better, and might one day even replace wBloggar for me. Even Microsoft Office now lets you post to weblogs, through XMLRPC, which might come in handy if you lean heavily on spell and grammar checks.

Apart from those, I've enabled some bookmarklets for the quick posting of snippets and texts.
posted by ijsbrand at 3:29 PM on June 18, 2008

I know 2.5.1 is available, I'd like to dismiss that message

Not to be a nag, but those upgrades are pretty important, as they often contain security fixes. WP blogs that haven't updated often get hijacked by spammers and other scum.

How about something like Flock? As I understand it, it will let you post using the same backend mechanisms as something like w.bloggar. Switching to another browser might be more than what you're looking to do, though.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:54 PM on June 18, 2008

If you don't already have it, slightly off topic, but there is a plugin called "Wordpress Automatic Update" which takes 99.67% of the pain out of upgrades.
posted by maxwelton at 8:06 PM on June 18, 2008

You might try BlogMailr -- you sign up (free), and when you want to post, you simply type an e-mail. I've used it on a few of my blogs, no hassle at all. Only problem is that it sometimes can take up to 15 minutes +/- for an entry to appear. You can send e-mail from your home, your work account, even your cell phone.

It really is that simple: send an e-mail, BlogMailr turns it into a blog entry.
posted by davidmsc at 8:57 PM on June 18, 2008

I'm a big fan of marsedit, and the developer who recently took it over is wonderful.
posted by justgary at 11:20 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the additional comments. I'm going back and forth with the ibiblio guy [he installed ScribeFire and it works, my install doesn't for some reason] to fix the xmlrpc issue. In the meantime I've installed Fluency and it makes the interface a little less painful to be sure. Ecto and marsedit fail with the same error and it looks to be something to do with how ibiblio's server is spitting out XML.

WordPress automatic update is a nice idea, but it doesn't work with my host/server [maybe that will be the second task I ask the ibiblio guy about] and fails with a lot of php errors. I'm aware of the importance of doing upgrades but the switching colors for the upgrade nags, the plug-in update nags, the "you have a comment to approve" messages and everything else adds up to me just not doing it. I'm looking into a different way to do upgrades and, at the same time, I'm also looking into things that will encourage me to floss.
posted by jessamyn at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2008

Response by poster: After approximately 20 back and forth emails with ibiblio, we have managed to get my xmlrpc issue fixed by just replacing it with the one the guy from ibiblio uses. Ken Chestnutt is a prince among men. Now I use ScribeFire, along with the Fluency plug-in and am able to get on with my life. Thank you everyone.
posted by jessamyn at 12:23 PM on June 19, 2008

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