Friday, February 25, 2011

And now over to our mobile correspondant

Dear Diary,
Here I am writing my first ever entry from a mobile device.  I'm typing this using the 'Blogger' application on my Viewsonic 'g' tablet running Android 2.2.  Yes, I said "typing" - I am using the docking stand and a USB keyboard.  Cheating?  Meh.
This particular Android application is pretty limited, only allowing me to add new entries or view previous entries made on this device.  If I want to see any other post or view the whole blog, it re-directs me to a web browser.  Picture insertion is limited to locally available files or the front-facing camera.  Guess if I want some clipart off the web I have to go download it and come back.
Also, I keep accidentally hitting the [End] key which blanks my screen... until I hit [PgUp] which restores it.  I guess [End] takes me to the end of Android?  Who knows.
I'm going to post this now and see if I can edit.  :)
Well I can edit from Blogger but again only those posts I actually wrote on this device.  To be honest, I think I would be better off using a web browser to access the site.  Too bad.
Okay, this is REALLY annoying me!
I switched over to 'Blogger-droid' to try it out and I am much more impressed with the features available: I can view and edit any existing post within the application including a draft I had written previously from my PC. There are a lot more editing options, including showing tags in the edit window and pulling in photos from Picasa and possibly other sites, which brings me to my main complaint... The only option I have in this edit window is to [Update Blog Post], there is no [Save] draft. If I back out of this dialog, as I have done twice now - once deliberately and once accidentally - all of my work is lost. That simply will not do. A save draft function is an absolute must when adding or updating posts and should be a default action when backing out of the add/save dialog. Excuse me a minute while I publish this update before continuing, I do NOT want to lose it again.
Okay, back again. As you may have guessed, the last edit is not properly formatted. In my edit window it is three paragraphs but when I viewed the post just now - without having to go to a web browser, yay! - it was all lumped into a single paragraph. That is because I did not manually insert the paragraph tags and Blogger-droid does not do it for me automagically as Blogger does. Not a big deal for me - I'm a codemonkey - but it might bug some folks
It seems I can insert photos stored locally as well as ones stored on Picasa and embed links to YouTube videos, assuming I have accounts with the latter. I can also 'share' a blog post as a simple URL with several applications installed on this device, including Twitter and Gmail - it basically starts an add / new dialog and inserts the URL. Interesting. And finally, I can post comments on blog posts which I could not do from Blogger.
In summary, 'Blogger-droid' is much closer to being usable than 'Blogger' but neither one is quite there yet. Blogger-droid has GOT to fix that lack of [save draft] option. I can handle inserting HTML tags manually but losing ten minutes work to a mis-key or being forced to publish something that is not ready is a deal killer. :(
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

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