Blogging from TextMate

The wordpress.com web dashboard is great, but I’m looking into desktop-based alternatives. I spend most of my waking hours in TextMate, the definitive text editor for the Mac; it turns out that the default installation comes with a blogging “bundle,” courtesy of Brad Choate. So, I thought I’d give it a try.

You start by telling the bundle where your blog is located. Technically, you must specify the so-called “endpoint URL.” Here I encountered a slight hurdle: my own stupidity. The howtos and instructions I found on the Web seemed to be geared towards blogs hosted on your own server (or a server you rent, or something like that). The example URLs were all of the form http://yoursite.com/xmlrpc.php, but I was under the impression that blogs hosted on wordpress.com were special somehow. Well, they are not: the correct endpoint URL for is just http://yourblog.wordpress.com/xmlrpc.php. Simple, no?

To write your post, you can use HTML or Markdown, among other options; I am now using Markdown, partly as a way to pay homage to John Gruber, the patron saint of Mac bloggers.

Needless to say, TextMate is awesome for blogging purposes. You get a real text editor, with all the attendant niceties; for instance, you can control the window and font size (with wordpress.com, as far as I can tell, you can go full-screen, but cannot adjust the font size). Also, the keyboard shortcuts are Mac-specific (Cmd-C, Cmd-V for copy and paste, for instance); WordPress uses Windows-specific shortcuts, which are OK on my iMac’s full keyboard, but not so great on my MacBook Pro’s smaller keyboard (the Ctrl key is tiny). Indeed, some WordPress shortcuts are a bit uncomfortable, due to the fact that they cannot interfere with the regular system shortcuts: e.g. shift-alt-A to add a link.

Apparently, the blogging bundle also makes it easy to upload images; I’ll test that shortly.

Bottom line: once again, if you’re on a Mac, TextMate is your friend. Well worth the registration price.

Update: here are a few hurdles.

  1. If you are using Markdown, you must convert it to HTML before posting. This is actually done by the Markdown bundle, which does not know about blogging and happily converts the header. You must manually erase this, unless there’s a better way.
  2. You must provide your complete UTC date, including the time zone at the end (e.g. -0600 in my case); otherwise, WordPress assumes that you are on GMT.
  3. You can (and probably should) set the “draft” or “publish” status
  4. To enter “tags,” you must use the “Keywords” header…
  5. Not sure if there’s a way to update the post, rather than post anew.

Update 2: it turns out that wordpress.com only supports HTML. The WordPress software itself does support a Markdown plugin, but sadly this is not an option on wordpress.com. That’s OK—it only means I must edit in TextMate, convert, and only post when I’m really done—or else edit in HTML, which is what I’m doing now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s