Blogging tools

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I use Markdown for blogging. I love Markdown. It’s awesome. If I had my way, I’d use it for all my writing.

After spending years making web pages, I can’t be bothered writing HTML anymore. I hate WYSIWYG editors–they’re way too fiddly and distracting and it’s all too easy to end up with inconsistencies.

The way it works is I type up my blog entry into WordPress in Markdown and it saves it in Markdown, exactly as I typed it. It only converts it to HTML when it’s displaying it. This is sane and reasonable and obviously the way it should be.

I’ve been trying to find some sort of offline blogging tool. Web apps are great and everything, but I don’t trust them. I’ve lost too much work to closed tabs and browser windows.

I’ve always really liked Semagic for Livejournal…

Uh, hold on, there goes the point of this post. Apparently (as I’m reading that link, having just retrieved it), Semagic supports the MetaWeblog API now. So I can use that. Or at least I’ll have to try it when I’m on Windows at work tomorrow.


Anyway, this was going to be a rant about how while there are many, many offline blogging tools on Windows, including and especially Windows Live Writer, and most of them have an HTML code editing mode, they all very irritatingly strip the whitespace before saving.

Strip the whitespace! That’s outrageous! While HTML parsers have no need for whitespace, people coding HTML absolutely do. And it’s part of the syntax in Markdown.

Semagic doesn’t strip whitespace, though. So I’ll have to give that a try.

Well, that turned out better than I thought it would.

At-Work Productivity: IM

I’ve been reading Lifehacker for a while now, and, up till now, have been bombarded with productivity tips and tricks that have been more or less useless since I haven’t been working on anything I’ve been the slightest bit interested in.

That’s changed, though. I’m now working on stuff I’ve been itching to work on for about two years. So all the stuff I’ve been digesting about how to be an awesome software developer starts to have relevance. But it also means I have an awful lot of bad habits to break.

The first bad habit is probably instant messenger. Lifehacker has some IM tips that I’m going to try to follow.

I hope people don’t take it personally if I ignore them on IM. I’m going to start making use of status messages and invisibility. My default mode is still going to be online, but if I’m working on stuff, my status will say that. I turn notifications off and I’m going to ignore whatever comes in until the next break time.

I like IM a lot. We use it as a communication tool in the office. You can get quick feedback from people without having to compose emails, but it’s still relatively asynchronous–you don’t have to connect and stay connected with people like on the phone.

IM is good. I don’t want to get rid of it. But it can be a real distraction. Not that I can’t use a distraction sometimes, but I do kinda need to get work done. So I’ve got to be a bit smarter about how I use it.