Just saw that ecto3 is available as an alpha (aka a “use at your own risk”) version. I’m giving it a shot. I no longer spend enough time in Parallels to get much use out of Windows Live Writer.

One thing that I love about ecto over other blog editing tools is something simple…when you copy a URL to the clipboard, and then hit the “link” button, ecto auto-fills the URL so you don’t have to paste. It saves one simple movement, but it’s a nice touch.

Like Erik, I’m not thrilled with a lack of a proper “preview” function. Yes, there’s the viewer or rich text view which is fine for posts like this. But I would love if my editor could pick up the style sheet of my blog and use that to preview the entry.

Update: One line of text formatted funky when published, so I pulled up the entry to fix. Found that switching to HTML and Rich Text and back throws up validation errors (warning: nested emphasis <span>). Click “Fix Automatically” and then go back and forth from HTML to Rich Text again, changing nothing, and the errors return. Looking at the HTML, ecto3 keeps throwing <span>s all over the place for no apparent reason. I keep removing the <span>s completely, and I’m still getting those “nested emphasis” warning errors. And why style a URL with an underline rather than just leave the <a></a> alone from the original style sheet? Oh well. Such is an alpha.

Another bug: it tries to “smarten” the quotes in HTML view (even though I have “smarten quotes” turned off) so when moving between HTML and Rich Text you get encoding in the HTML translated to plain text. So “it’s” appears as “it8217s”. Probably a preference somewhere to toggle, but this is the behavior that happens out of the box.

It also threw up an extended entry separator for no apparent reason. So, it’s a nice little preview. But try it just to try it…it’s an alpha. Wait for a more developed version to really start using it.


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