- Cost: US$39.95 boxed; US$34.95 download
- Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5
- Synopsis: MacJournal is a journaling application that just happens to be able to blog. It’s definitely meant for writers, though not necessarily bloggers. Still, it does the most important thing a writing application should: get out of your way.
It wasn’t until I searched for blogging applications that I even heard about MacJournal. This application is meant to be used as a personal journaling system, although it also includes the ability to upload journal entries to blogs and store and display research material such as videos and PDFs. As such, the feel of it is more of a writing application than a blogging application, by which I mean it is considerably easier to put entries and research together in Journals than it is to actualy upload something to a blog.
Once opened, the interface is fairly standard. Along the top are the toolbar icons, on the right side is a list of all your journals, as well as a calendar which tells you when you last posted to the currently selected journal. (Selecting a date from the calendar will either open a new entry titled with that date and time, or open the last entry to occur on that date.) This calendar feature can be toggled on and off. To the left is the writing interface.
Of course, that’s just the default setup. Going to View > Customize Bar will reveal a large number of options you can add to the toolbar, including text editing features, and of course, the Taco, which spouts out random, funny quotes. (“The Taco Says… ‘Ahhh, sleep. That’s where I’m a viking’ Ralph Wiggum”) As you can probably guess, the application will start with a very minimal interface, then allow the user to make additions and changes as desired.
While the writing interface is WYSIWYG, there are no icons along the top of the screen. To add bullet lists, bold text,or change the text alignment you have to use the Tools menu. Shortcuts like Command+B are also available, so this really isn’t much of a bother, unless you’re constantly structuring text. Of course, if you feel like doing away with all distractions, going to FullScreen mode will black out the screen and present nothing but the text, much like WriteRoomd does.
Unlike other blogging tools, this one doesn’t upload to a blog automatically. Instead, it saves everything to the journal automatically. (Various journals, and journals within journals, can be set up, and a new journal exists for every blog to which you publish.) From there you can upload to your blog of choice using either the sprocket “Shortcuts to Commonly Used Actions” menu at the botton of the screen or the Upload button, which can be added to the toolbar.
Speaking of uploading, the featureset here is fairly limited as well. Using the Inspector feature, you can schedule a post, which is good. While it seems you can also add tags, I had a little problem with these. They showed up on WordPress.com just fine, but didn’t show up in the self-hosted WordPress blog, so your mileage here may vary.
One feature I found almost interesting was the video and audio recording. You can create a video or audio recording along with a journal entry, or keep a video/audio journal. Very cool. Unfortunately–and this is why I say “almost interesting”–it doesn’t seem that the video or audio uploads along with the entry to your blog, so using this as a blogging/podcasting tool seems to be out of the question. (I’ll admit, though I’ve been using the application for a few days this is a newly discovered feature and so I might be wrong here. Also, I don’t know where these media entries are saved, or in what format.)
Because of its plethora of functionalities and features, MacJournal is an application you’ll definitely want to read the (rather well written) manual for. Unfortunately, it’s great feature set, while phenomenal for those wishing to journal, send journals via email, and blog their journalings, is geared more to personal blogging than professional. It can be made to come close by editing the toolbar to have most of what you need. (This includes a tagging feature that lists all of the tags in use for the current blog. I’ve only seen this in Ecto.) And while it also features iWeb/MobileMe integration, which is great in and of itself, the application still feels a bit clunky in the blogging department. Nevertheless, if someone looking to keep a few personal blogs and do some private writing were to ask me what I would recommend, I’d say MacJournal in a heartbeat. Definitely worth the US$40. (The download version is US$35, but then they try to sell you a backup CD for US$10.)
Next review, ScribeFire.
Of course, if you just want to go ahead and skip to the conclusion, by all means do so.