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How I blog – software

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my process around blogging, and how I get from ideas in my head to finished posts. A reader emailed me, asking what software I use, other than WordPress. The truth is, I don’t use a single piece of software, for a number of reasons. First, different software serve different purposes. Second, not all the software I use run on all platforms (I use both Windows and Mac, as well as using my iPhone for notes. The result is a rather messy collection of software and storage formats:

  • Notepad-type software (Notes, Notepad++, Fraise)
    •  Since getting my first Mac some six years ago, I’ve used Notes. It’s perfect for quick notes and free-flowing text input, and has served me well. Its sync functionality lets me access notes on any device (Windows is covered through the iCloud web interface).One of the first types of software I’ll install on any new computer is some sort of notepad-program. On Windows I prefer Notepad++, while Fraise has become my go-to on the Mac. I use them on a daily basis, and love the completely unformatted interface, which lets me copy and paste without worrying about doing post-production in WordPress to correct the formatting.
  • Note-taking software (OneNote, EverNote, Google Keep, Bear)
    • I have used EverNote on and off for years, but never really found it to my liking. Their recent change in pricing structure led me away from them on a permanent basis. OneNote works well, but has too much formatting built in for my tastes; posts written here must be taken through Notepad++ or Fraise before pasting into WordPress – simply put; it does too much. Google Keep feels like their attempt to replace Notes, in a fashion which feels cluttered and counter intuitive. I find Bear to be very pretty, and the tagging functionality is something I’ve missed in Notes. My main concern is that it is only available on my Apple devices, but I find that it seems likely to supercede Notes.
  • Browser plugins (Zotero, Pocket, Instapaper, Stash)
    • Zotero is absolutely brilliant for reference management – which is what I use it for the most – but does work well to grab stuff for my blog. Pocket and Instapaper both work well, but because of their existence outside of other systems I use, I tend to forget about what I have there, and I am quickly moving away from using it. I am trying out Stash, which seems to be much of the same as Pocket and Instapaper, but which does seem to do it better, which I hope will mean that I use it more. What sets these apart from the others is that they are where I store my inspirations, rather than where I develop them to completed posts.
  • Word processors (Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs)
    • I do use fully fledged word processing software for blogging, too, most notably when the blog post is a re-worked version of something I’ve written in another context, where I’ll usually have made it available to someone else in .docx-format. Since it’s already in that format, continuing to edit in the processor that originated it just makes sense.

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