- Cost: Free
- Requires: Firefox or Flock
- Synopsis: For bloggers who need something free, this makes for a very nice option. Combining it with the QuickAds feature is also something rather nice for those of us looking to monetize.
For most, blogging is a matter of seeing something cool, then writing about it. Maybe that includes a link, a quote, an image, or simple inspiration. Having a blogging application integrated directly to your browser makes this extremely easy, and if you use Firefox then your list of choices will probably include the Scribefire plugin, created by the good folks over at Performacing.
Unlike any of the client-side applications, ScribeFire does just about everything from a single (half-)window, all with the help of tabs. The interface, however, is surprisingly clean, a credit to the plugin’s designers.
Adding a post using ScribeFire is simple: click on the very tiny Add icon next to the tabs. This should be immediately recognizable by anyone accustomed to tabbed browsing, as you probably are if you’re using Firefox. Once a new blank tab is open, you can type in your post using both a WYSIWYG and code editor. The code editor turns line breaks and paragraphs into P and BR tags automatically, so you don’t have to.
Editing an existing post is just as simple: simply select the blog you’re looking into from the Blogs tab, then select the post from the Entries tab, which tracks posts, un-sent drafts (Notes), and pages.
Adding media is a snap. For pictures, you can drag-and-drop from your computer into the post. The only problem here is that while you can resize an image’s dimensions, you can’t resize its bulk, so a 5MB image will still be a 5MB image. (The only application I’ve seen do this on the fly is Ecto.) In addition, you can add photos from Flickr and videos from YouTube.
Once you’re ready to post, select where the post will be filed with the Categories tab and type in any desired tags. Using the Options tab you can also schedule the post, add Technorati tags, bookmark to Delicious using the same tags via a checkbox, enter TrackBack URLs, and ping services like Ping-O-Matic or individual services. Of course, when you post you can decide whether this post will be a new post, replace an existing post, or be sent to the server as a draft.
Before posting, you can also use the Preview functionality, which unlike in other systems (where the preview window is just a look at the post), actually does a preview using your blog’s theme, so you can see what your readers will see. This is one of the best features I’ve seen in any blogging software.
With the ScriptFire plugin, you’re not just limited to your blog, however. You’re also able to use QuickAds directly from the plugin interface, search Technorati, post the current page being browsed to Delicious, and share the current page with services like Reddit, Fark, Digg, and StumpleUpon.
In addition to the interface, ScribeFire also adds a toolbar which appears only when you’re browsing your blogs (or the blogs you’ve defined in your settings). This toolbar allows you to upload images, videos, add links, and quotes. Unfortunately, this feature didn’t work at all for me, so I wasn’t able to use it. Also, this feature can’t be turned off using the Firefox “View > Toolbars” menu, it has to be turned off using the Settings > General > Disable Quick Blogging Toolbar option.
The great thing about Firefox is that it can be extended. The downside is that if you start adding on a bunch of extensions suddenly the browser’s memory requirements puff up, meaning that even switching tabs is a task. ScribeFire is a very fully featured package which would likely serve most users’ needs. My only complaint is that since it is part of the browser, it’s very easy to get distracted, but that’s more a me issue than it is an issue with the software. Still, free or not, ScriptFire has enough tools associated with it to make the add-on worth looking at when considered as a package.
Final review, Flock.
Of course, if you just want to go ahead and skip to the conclusion, by all means do so.