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ScribeFire - a better blog tool for Firefox

review from BillWebb, Jun 2007, permalink Blog Tools


From Clif:

When it comes to testing out blog tools, I know who to turn to. Bill's been blogging for a long time and he does this very well.


From Bill Webb:

I'm writing this in ScribeFire -- formerly Performancing for Firefox -- a Firefox browser add-on (extension).


Prior to this, I've been using WindowsLiveWriter, a quite capable -- if big and clutzy -- blog editor that's designed for Windows Live, but works quite well with the other major blogging sites.


WLW has a few drawbacks. For one thing, it's reallllllly slow to load. That may be due to its using Windows assets that I have disabled. I don't care enough to find out. Apart from that, being exceptionally slow over the dialup connection I occasionally have to use, and resource-intensive if you have an older machine, it's actually a quite good choice.


I was pretty satisfied with Windows Live Writer, enough that I never bothered to check out any of the myriad blog editors out there. To me, an editor is a means to an end (as are blogs), and I don't care about bells and whistles.


Convenience, however, is something else. When Clif, over at FreewareWiki, asked me to look at ScribeFire -- well, frankly, I did it as a favor to a friend. Turns out, my friend did me a favor. This add-on, like most Firefox extensions I've used, is well-thought-out, easy to use, and FAST (even over dialup).


ScribeFire integrates with the Windows shell. With a right click you can call up the program, blog a selected excerpt from a page, bookmark the selection/page in ScribeFire's own bookmark section for future reference, bring up "Page Tools," allowing you to enter Technorati tags directly, and an FTP program to upload documents to your server. From separate shortcuts on the desktop or a toolbar you can call up the program "empty," to write text as I am now. ScribeFire supports plain or Rich Text.


Entries can be saved as notes, cataloged in a tabbed sidebar on the right of the screen. The left side has selections for the editor, page tools, bookmarks and general settings. A simple, helpful wizard helps you integrate ScribeFire with your blogging accounts. It supports categories, history, pages and notes for each blog. A clean, simple toolbar allows access to basic formatting, and to the HTML code if you want to add something the program doesn't support, such as weirdo characters. WordPress users will be glad to know that it supports text size (not Header classes) and color, as well as justified text -- missing, and much missed on WP's own interface -- and of course hyperlinks and images.


These are the things I've noticed so far. Complaints? Only one worth mentioning. You have a choice of a split screen with the editor either above or below the web page you're looking at. There is no horizontal split or standalone window that I've been able to find, nor will the program open in a new tab -- which would be really convenient. While annoying, this isn't the tragedy it would be if it took a long time to load, and the edge can be dragged to about 3.7 cm (1-3/8") from the edge of the screen. I just close the program and reopen it from the context menu when I need it. Nothing's perfect.


ScribeFire was developed by Performancing LLC. "Performancing is the world's largest community for professional bloggers, focusing on providing support and blogging tools for bloggers who want to make money." Performancing has since been bought by another company, but ScribeFire is still available. Their site will redirect you to a MozDev link where it can be downloaded.


If you use Firefox, give ScribeFire a try. I think you'll like it.


Update - July 2007

Having used ScribeFire for a couple of months and literally hundreds of blog entries, along with other purposes (see below), I have to recommend it unequivocally over Micro$oft's Windows Live Writer. I've only used WLW about three or four times since installing ScribeFire, and those were mainly to convince myself that SF is really as superior as I think.


I would have to add, "for non-Micro$oft sites," as I don't use Windows Live Spaces and can't test ScribeFire there (they just added support). But for blogging on WordPress and Blogger, ScribeFire rocks, and it has native support for several other popular sites including LiveJournal and TypePad, as well as custom settings. It's small, fast, simple to use, reliable, and as a bonus it produces simple, clean HTML or CSS that's handy for transplanting to other sites. (I used to use Google Docs and Spreadsheets for that, but their code has gotten cludgy.) I keep finding things I like about it.


by Bill Webb


Bill also writes at Backwash.com as DigitalZen

Read Bill's articles at Lockergnome