A fellow blogging friend of mine suggested that I should try an app called Desk PM as a desktop interface for my self hosted WordPress blogs. It’s on sale for $20 so I figured why not? If it lived up to the hype it would get me writing more.
It is a very focused app. It presents a minimalist interface for getting your thoughts down with a number of options to customize your typing experience, like going full screen, adjusting the transparency and typewriter mode.
For markdown enthusiasts (I still can’t break my html habit) it has full markdown support as well. Perhaps the best formatting feature, however, is auto table generation.
iCloud integration makes it easy to keep any local files in sync across multiple devices.
As for using at as an actual blogging interface, Desk is a mixed bag. It’s easy enough to connect to one or more blogs, and it supports a good list of services, ranging from WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress, as well as Blogger, Medium and Facebook (although not FB Pages as far as I can tell.) You can also pull down past posts and drafts to edit them locally. Adding an image is pretty easy, just drag and drop into your document. Alternately, you can import directly from a scanner or camera, and, particularly nice if you are doing online tutorials, you can do screen grabs and embed them directly in your post. There are also good image formatting controls for setting alignment, but oddly no way to set the size of the image.
A couple of other nice features are thinks like running word counts, a timer that tries to guess the amount of time it would take to read your post, and a WYSIWYG view of your content. The coolest blogging feature is being able to schedule your posts.
But what’s missing is support for things like categories or tags. After posting with Desk PM, I find I have to go into the web admin at some point to set the correct category and tags for SEO purposes, if nothing else.
I find I do like the mini-window Desk PM experience for typing a quick post, or maybe a first draft, but given the need to log into the web admin at some point, Desk PM seems to have very limited value. At least for me.