Mobile Blogging: Diarist v2.1

I am testing an application for blogging from my Windows Phone. A reader (ProfJulie from PocketPrimer.com, Thanks BTW!) recommended to me after posting my "Do almost everything with your smartphone…" series (click here). It’s called Diarist v2.1. It was developed by Kevin Daly from New Zealand. You can download it here.

I know that not all our readers have their own blogs, but this little (FREE) tool is great and I would like to share it with you. Diarist is not new, it was released in 2008, but it’s the most complete solution for posting from my phone… I have been using it for a few weeks now; mostly experimenting on test blogs with different blog servers and it’s the most flexible tool you will find. I find it very useful.

Setting up Diarist is very straightforward. You select your server type from a list Diarist2-0and indicate the address of your blogging server, your username and password and you are pretty much set to go. In general terms, you use it as if it were a word processor only instead of saving to your device, you post to the blog server. If you wanted you can also keep draft copies on your device.

Here you can see a screenshot of the general looks Diarist has. This is the main form where you type the title, the content of your article, etc. Additionally, this form has a dropdown where you can also select the blog to which you can post the article. I find this particular feature very convenient as I write my articles and post them on several blogs. Sometimes, the content is exactly the same, but other times I make several changes based on the target audience of the blog. For example, my audience in DevTools is more technical, so I may add certain comments that may be of interest to developers. This article in particular will be left exactly the same on both blogs. The “Update” button will post the article to the selected blog.

Please be aware that every time you change from one blog to another using the dropdown; all categories are retrieved from the server and depending on your connection bandwidth and how many categories, it may take a few more seconds than usual.

File Menu

The menu option expands into several items: “File” lets you create new articles, save your current article to the device. It also allows you to retrieve or delete articles saved in your dev. Two interesting features not found on the other tools for blogging from your smartphone are categories and tags.You can access these features from this menu from the category and “entry properties” menu items. The categories are pulled from the existing categories your blog already has on the server. The properties form allows you to overwrite the server post time and provide the date you want the article to display. It also lets you enter any tags you may want your articles to be cataloged with. You can also ping services such as Technorati, Yahoo, Weblogs.com or Feedster.

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Edit Menu

Your blog already has a specific “look and feel” that meets a specific template with matching colors, backgrounds, etc. The “Edit” menu item allows you not only to cut, copy, paste, select all text in the article, or bold, italics or underline your selected text without breaking the template you chose on your blog. This way, every article remains consistent with the design interface. Additionally you can also set separate paragraphs, so that they have the appropriate indentation and separation. A set of features that the other blog editors for Windows Phone don’t even come close to having are listed there to insert a link (create a hyper link to another web site), create a link to an image either uploaded by you or simply hosted somewhere else. It also lets you upload and link to an image provided the image is already on your phone. While posting the article, Diarist will also upload the image you selected and link into it automatically.

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Weblog Menu

This menu allows you to add, edit or remove accounts into your blogs (or blog servers). Additionally you can also trigger your browser with the selected address for your blog already typed in, although this option always triggers your Pocket Internet Explorer instead of pulling your default browser (which could be any other browser) and I find it a bit annoying that my version of Opera is not triggered or that I cannot select what browser to open up by selecting this option.

Adding new weblogs means entering the address where the API is located, your login and password plus your blog’s address. The API is the file that tells Diarist how to contact the blog server for posting your content. Different blog servers have different format files. For example:

  • CommunityServer: http://YourBlogAddress.com/blogs/metablog.ashx
  • WordPress: http://yourblogaddress.wordpress.com/xmlrpc.php

If you have no idea how or what to enter under API, simply do Menu::Find API after having entered the 3 other fields. Diarist will attempt to find the right type of file under the appropriate folder on the server. This will also be based on the type of blog server you selected to create this weblog initially. The information that goes into the fields under the “Extra” tab will be pulled from the server by default, but you can override them if you want. The Blog Title field will be used as the text that will show in the dropdown that allows you to choose where to post each article.

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About and Confirm Publish Menu

About displays the version information and the developer name and address allowing you to go back when you hit OK.

Confirm Publish is a menu item that can be checked or unchecked when you select it. This means that when you hit “Publish” it will pop a message box for you to confirm whether you want to post the article or not giving you a last-option-out if you hit Publish by mistake.

Exit

Lets you close the application.

About Diego Samuilov

Editor in Chief/Founder Diego Samuilov is an executive, consultant, IT strategist and book, e-book and web published author. Diego has worked in Microsoft’s environments since 1990. Since then, he has successfully filled many positions related to the Software Development lifecycle. Having worked as a developer, analyst, technical lead, project lead, auditor and, since 1996 a project manager, manager, director and VP in the Software Development, Server, Desktop and Mobile environments. Diego is very passionate about the software development process, which has played a great part in his skills development. Since the introduction of the first ever PDA (the Apple Newton MessagePad) in 1994 and Windows CE in 1998 he has pioneered and pushed the envelope in the field of mobile software development. He has developed many solutions used in mobile markets, desktop and server environments. He participates in public and private developer community events. He actively collaborates with the community at support forums and blogs. Diego is the author of "Windows Phone for Everyone" available [HERE].