E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Getting Ready to Flock – Part Deux

Last week, if you would remember, I created a number of different weblog posts to touch base on a number of different weblogging tools available that I have been trying out lately apart from my two favourite ones so far, Qumana and w.bloggar. It all started with the new FireFox extension called Performancing for FireFox and then it went to discuss a bit more regarding the weblogging component from Flock.

Now that I have managed to have a working build for the weblogging component of Flock, I thought it would be a good time to share with you folks what I think are some of my top 5 favourite features at the same time that I will share what I think needs still some more improvement. Pretty much like what I did with Performancing for FireFox. Thus here we go with that short review from the things I like about Flock’s weblogging capabilities:

  • Spell check: Yes, indeed, this was one of the very first things that I was very glad to see. Not only from the perspective of having the option to proof read the contents from my own weblog posts but also from the perspective that as a non-native English speaker I now got a chance to ensure that words are spelled correctly without having those doubts if the words are correctly spelled or not.

  • Drag Stuff to Blog it!: This is also another of my favourite features that I have tried so far. It pretty much reminds me of Qumana’s DropPad and it basically allows you to drag stuff directly into the square box on the top right that you can then use to continue shaping up the body of your weblog posts. Really handy, specially if you just want to read a bunch of stuff and weblog about it at the same time. Pretty impressive.

  • Integration with Flickr: Oh, and what about this other capability ? You have seen how I have been weblogging on a regular basis about some of the pictures that I have been taking while I have been over here so now with this particular component from Flock things will be a lot easier, because to start things off, you can just simply drag and drop the pictures from the top box taken from Flickr and you can weblog away ! I love this one capability for sure as it is making it very easy to share pictures with least effort involved.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Oh, yes ! Another one of my favourite capabilities from any weblogging tool. In the past I have mentioned how both w.bloggar, Qumana have got plenty of these, and also how thanks to Jed‘s comments I discovered about some of them as well for Performancing for FireFox. Well, it looks like Flock’s weblogging component has got quite a few as well. Something that will certainly help me stick with this tool whenever I would need to create weblog posts on the fly.

  • Tagging: This is also another of my favourite features but not only from this particular component, also from another of the different social networking tools out there. Certainly tagging is very much related to Web 2.0 and the fact that Flock is incorporating it is a great advantage to us all because it would certainly help make things a lot easier, pretty much like what Qumana does.

And now after mentioned the features I enjoy the most here you have got some further comments on those capabilities where I feel that Flock could improve a bit:

  • No Pingbacks / Trackbacks: Indeed, I talked about this one already for Performancing for FireFox. If this particular weblogging tool does not provide both at some point I doubt that it would help it sink into the different options available that webloggers can take advantage of because, as I have already mentioned elsewhere, weblogging, whether we like it or not is all about having conversations with others with similar interests to our own, and if we cannot establish those conversations through the usage of Pingbacks and Trackbacks we will go nowhere. So this is one of those items that I will be looking forward closely to see if it would happen in the end or not.

  • Unable to Select Categories to post to: I am not sure about this one, folks, but when trying to post this particular weblog post from Flock’s weblogging tool I am not able to select any categories where this post should go. I can see a second tab called Categories but it looks like everything in there is greyed out and I cannot select anything at all. I am wondering if I have got some setting wrong, but so far I haven’t figured out what is wrong. Simply that categories does not seem to be working all right. So another item I will be looking forward to seeing some improvements.

  • Limited Rich Text Features and some quirks: Although I have been posting this from the Flock’s weblogging tool I am finding out how some of the WYSIWYG options are rather limiting like the fact that I cannot get quotes, unless I know the HTML tags, nor to mark text in whatever the colour, pretty much like all of the other tools are already providing at the moment. Also I have noticed how when highlighting a text to create a hyperlink with it everything that gets written afterwards will also be part of the hyperlinked text when it should not be the case. And a similar thing happens when working with bullets. It looks like when hitting Enter on a bullet it will create another one but it would not allow lots of spacing in between and when trying to add some spacing hitting Enter again just creates a bit more spacing than what I would need. I am sure that I would get better with this one till I figure out how it actually works out, but not a major issue. Something more along the lines of learning how to work with them.
  • Quick access to Default Weblog Settings: This is one of those features that I am finding out very handy to have for all of the different weblogging tools that I use more than anything else because while I am starting to have more than a single weblog it should be increasingly easier as well to have the capability of checking default settings and options from each weblog engine in the shortest time possible. So I am thinking that the whole empty space next to the weblog posts on the top left could be used to include some of the basic setup options for each weblog in order to provide some more of those advanced features that advanced webloggers would be looking forward to.
  • And last, but not least, ease of use and setup improvements: Yes, yes, yes! I am not sure about this one and how things could be improved, but the thing is that setting up my weblogging accounts for each of the different weblogging engines that I use, WordPress and Roller, has not been very friendly lately. It looks like I am still having difficulties for the component to automatically detect the different settings since on the WordPress weblog it still keeps on coming with Movable Type and unless I select the manual option to set it up, it will not work. Again, and like I have mentioned previously, this is one of the things that Qumana is really great at and maybe something other weblogging tools could leverage some of that work. I do hope so, because so far it is a rather painful process. Let’s see how it will all work out in the end.

So there you go. Those are the different features I really like about Flock’s weblogging component and also some of the things that I shall be looking forward to in future releases of this web browser. I know that there may be some other features that you would enjoy yourselves (And you are most than welcome to comment about them below) but I think that with those, for the time being, I think I am going to start making use of each of the different weblogging tools I have mentioned so far and after a while I will decide which one would be the one I would like to take advantage the most. So far it all got started with w.bloggar and Qumana, but it looks like both Performancing for FireFox and Flock‘s weblogging tool are coming through pretty close. What do you think ?

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