ecto for MacOSX 2.3 available for download

In an earlier entry, I wrote about upcoming changes in ecto. These changes have been finalized in ecto 2.3, which is available for download via this blog's sidebar (it is a free upgrade). Visually, you will notice that the two main drawers have disappeared. Take a look at the refurbished entries window and the draft window (click to see the normal sized image):

entries window Draft window

It is obvious that I was inspired by the new in MacOS 10.4. There are some subtle differences, but the main features of these optional views are:

  1. Users can choose which side to position the blogs list. This can be done by control-clicking in the resizer button, which reveals a popup menu from which the desired position can be chosen.
  2. Just like drawers, the blogs list can be resized or hidden as well.
  3. Users can change the default color of the optional areas. Control-click in a part of the blogs list view to reveal a popup menu. From that menu, choose the command that changes the color.

Naturally, the same applies to the draft window's options area.

You will notice that ecto has new toolbar icons! These icons were created by Neil Dixon. Neil is a highly experienced designer with a very rich portfolio. Designing MacOSX icons was a first for Neil and I am very impressed. It's a classic style with a clear depiction of the icon's underlying function. See, for example, the trackback icon. As a plus, the orange tint is a nice nod to my origin (I'm Dutch...).

The other new main feature is the explicit support for Technorati Tags. Previously, you could add tags in your draft manually or using scripts. That had the disadvantage that it was hard to keep track of what tags you have used before. It was also cumbersome to edit previously posted entries to change tags.

Not anymore! The next ecto keeps track of, not only your Technorati tags, but also the ones from and Flickr. Here's the low-down on ecto's Technorati tag support:

  • To see your tags:
    1. open a new draft
    2. choose Create Link → URL Assistant from the Edit menu
    3. enter an URL in the Link field and then choose “Submit Hyperlink” from the popup.
    4. in the sheet that appears, click on “Import…”. If ecto asks for authentication, enter the username/password of your account.
    5. the imported tags should now appear in your draft window and any other draft window you open from then on.
  • To see your Flickr tags you currently need to use 1001. ecto gets the tags you have used in the 1001 uploader.
  • Technorati tags in entries you wrote with an older ecto or with the browser are automatically extracted when you open those entries.
  • The tags list in the draft window also indicates where you have used the tags by displaying corresponding icons from Technorati, Flickr, and
  • To add a new tag to the list, you can click in the button marked with a plus symbol, but you can also add new tags using the keyboard. ecto uses the tag selection/creation method from 1001, described in more detail on this page. The advantage of this method becomes obvious when your tags list grows to a large size. Instead of scrolling to find a tag, just type the first few letters. If you want to create a new tag, just keep typing the desired name and ecto will automatically create it for you.
  • Pressing the right arrow key will take you to the corresponding Technorati page for the selected tag.
  • Any selected tag will be inserted in your draft before you post it. The format of the HTML containing the inserted tags is as follows:
    1. the HTML area containing the technorati tags is marked with HTML comments so that ecto knows where they are the next time you need to edit the posted draft. These HTML comments are fixed and not visible on your webpage.
    2. The actual look of the visible Technorati tags list is completely user-definable via the Weblog → Edit Templates… dialog, shown in the image below.
    3. If your blog system supports MovableType API, you can also specify where ecto puts the tags. Some of you may prefer the Keywords field, for example.
  • When you open a draft containing Technorati tags, ecto parses out all the tags and the markers. The tags appear in the tags list as checked items.

Tag template

The other new features are as follows:

  • The trial period has been extended from 14 to 21 days.
  • When you refresh the list of recent entries and drafts, ecto now checks if you have locally modified entries. If it finds one, it will ask you whether or not to overwrite it.
  • Status messages now appear in the footer of the entries window. The activity window itself is now optional.
  • The custom HTML tag editor now sports a preview pane, so you can see what the tag looks like when it's rendered.
  • A while ago, I implemented a trackback extraction script, which was called after you use the bookmarklet. I did, however, not realize that I was using a Perl module that was not part of a standard OSX installation. The script is fixed now.

One more note: Because of the GUI changes, I have decided to fully drop support for the metal interface. It has become unmanageable to deal with the quirks between aqua and metal layout.

Technorati Tags: blogging, ecto, macosx, tags

Posted by Adriaan on April 25, 2005