As promised, here is a more in-depth review of BloghuB for Windows Phone 7. This is a tool similar in functionality to Windows Live Writer on your Windows PC. The application design in clean, clear and easy to use. It respects the design guidelines set forth by the Metro UI as established by Microsoft. It is reasonably priced ($3.99) and it’s well worth its price, considering that it is the best blogging app in the marketplace today.
The after setting up your first blog, you can start using it immediately (or you can setup several more blogs). The app has a main hub divided into Blogs and Local Drafts. Blogs contains all the blogs you setup so you can select where to post. Local drafts allows you to create an article/post off line and then publish/post it to the blog. The main hub also has a settings button that has several types of settings.
The pages under settings are Services (blogs) where you add new blogs where you will be posting, Media in case you upload your images to an image service such as Picasa, but this is mostly redundant when you have a WordPress blog since you can embed the article images into the blog post. For blog types supported other than WordPress (Drupal, Blogger, dasBlog and TypePad through the following protocols: Blogger v1, Blogger v2 and Metaweblog) you may need to use an external media store such as Picasa in order to post images. General for defining your general blog post preferences like sync the last few (configurable number) of posts, signature, publish on upload, image default upload size, etc.From here there is a nice credits and help pages that come handy if you want a quick hand on how to do some of the tasks.
Back into the main hub and in the blogs or the drafts pages you have a list of blog articles. It contains the title, a quick 1 line worth of text from the article, and a list of categories and tags that fit in the next line. Right next to these 3 lines of text you can see the date in which it was posted. Selecting any of the articles in the list enters edit mode. In the menu there are several items to be selected, add, comments and a selector to delete them. Add will take you to the editor, comments takes you to a page where you can approve, disapprove and sync comments to that particular article, finally the selector allows you to remove an article from the blog.
The editor page looks very similar to the page where you compose an email with a few minor differences. On the top you have the blog name and type of blog service used. The following line shows your article’s title with an icon at the end that allows you to select categories and tags (more on this in a few lines). The main editing area allows you to enter the main content of your article. The menu for this particular page is great and simple. You have the option here to post/publish, add a picture, add a link to a URL or format. Expanding your menu will show additional items for source view (edit HTML source), undo and redo your last changes.
The only thing in my opinion that sticks out as a design issue is the button for accessing the categories and tags (that little blue circle with an “i” in it). It almost looks like an afterthought and not really included in the overall design of the app. For this to be 100% Metro UI, I would personally enter it as a menu item in the menu in the editor (either an icon/button or a menu option after expanding the menu). Additionally, the tags page does not download a list of tags from your blog, so you are starting from scratch even though your blog may already have hundreds if not thousands of tags already entered. The author reported to me that he will take my suggestions into account and will incorporate the appropriate fixes when the time comes… he was very responsive when I posted a few suggestions on his website. This is very encouraging.
Add picture shows the picture chooser that also has the option to take a picture on the spot with your Windows Phone’s camera.The picture chooser has the usual sort options to facilitate picking the right image. Here you get all, by date and favorites. The add link button in the menu takes you to the link option page where you enter the text, URL and whether you want the target of the link (such as _blank, _parent, etc). Selecting a block of text and then the formatting menu option takes you to the text format page where the basic formatting options are displayed. These are basic formatting only, don’t expect to have the equivalent of Word here; remember that this is a blog article editor and your article is still going to be formatted with your blog’s website theme so that all your articles look consistent with each other. In any case this is plenty flexible for the task at hand. Finally source view shows the same editor screen but shows all the HTML tags that will be sent along with the blog for formatting.
Overall this app is great and extremely useful. People that don’t blog for a living and just do it for fun or passion for a particular subject (almost all of us). will see the utility in this app because it will allow them to write their articles under any circumstance anywhere they are. Now if only Microsoft would update their bluetooth stack to include bluetooth keyboards!
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