I have been looking for a good blog-posting tool for a while and thought that I would try out Qumana LE which is produced by a friend Jon Husband and his company. This version of the software just started shipping. It is a blog-editing and posting application. Here are my initial thoughts on the bugs and features:
 
LIKES:
  • FOCUS. These guys have gone for simple, clean, light, focused. I like that a lot. It doesn’t try to come out of the gate and be “the monster blog editing super duper blender dessert topping and floor wax application from hell.” Good job on keeping the scope to a reasonable size. It’s always hard to stay focused on app development so kudos to the team.
BUGS:: (Umm, don’t take this too hard you guys. I found a lot of things and thought that I’d mention them all – you might want to leave some alone, fix others, and rethink some others.) And Boris, I don’t want to hear any smarty-pants comments on my penchant for picking apart technologies.
 
Setup:

  • At first, I couldn’t connect to server and got the confusing “type/host/endpoint” dialog the first time; worked the second time
  • when it connected and brought back the blog name it was “Troy Angrignon – Adventure Cap” suspiciously around 30 characters. I had to type the rest in.

Using the Text Editor:

  • I can summarize all of the following points like this: Make it work just like Microsoft Word. Most of the planet uses that form of text editing now anyway so don’t make us all learn arbitrarily different and confusing text-editing rules. It is the de facto standard. We’re creating simpler text here, so we just need the bullets, indents, outdents, and whatever else.
  • OR…. Just let me USE WORD. Be the bridge between Word and all of the blogs.
  • Here are some examples of weirdness. I pasted in all of these bullet points from another program. Then I highlighted them and hit the bullet point button. They all became one very long bullet point with soft returns in it. However, pasting them into Word and then highlighting them and hitting the bullet point button in Word did exactly what I would expect – put a bullet at each paragraph beginning. So I then copied/pasted the word/bullet list into this editor window and it was fine.
  • Pasting those bullet points in from Word into here caused them to come in as Times New Roman 12. Highlighting some Verdana 10 lines and then the Times New Roman 12 lines and then some more Verdana 10 lines should have caused the Fontname to go blank and the fontsize to go blank. It stayed at Verdana 10 however. In order for me to change ALL of the text to Verdana 10, I had to change it to a different font and then back again.
  • doing indented bullets should be as simple as tabbing at the front of the line to move it in (like Word) and shift-tabbing to move it back.
  • create bullet points; type two or three lines of bullet points each with text; then type a last bullet point with no text beside it; hit the backspace key. The editor deletes the bullet, resets the tabbing (correctly) and then moves down one line (is this a feature or a bug?)
  • SIDE NOTE: To steal bluntly from Dennis Miller, “I don’t want to go off on a rant here….” but I have been using a lot of different text-editing tools lately for a variety of reasons, mostly related to wikis and blogs. And the overall general quality of the experience has been horrifically random and reminiscent of word-processing about 20 years ago. It’s pathetic. Ecto had this problem. Blogware has this problem. Jotspot has this problem. I haven’t used Bryght/Drupal for this yet, but I’ll assume it has this problem until proven incorrect. Everybody feels this burning need to invent a new way to do something that we already know how to do. It’s a waste of a huge amount of effort to make people learn a new way to word-process when there is no real added benefit to be had from it. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? Is it laziness? Is it “I want to create a new experience” programming? Is it just a complete lack of basic computer history? Is it a combination of all of these things and more? This is not about PDAs and teaching people Graffiti. That had to happen because the processing power didn’t exist to make good handwriting recognition with the chips of the day. So millions of users learned a new language that was only needed for a couple of years until the algorithms got better and the PDAs got faster. Now we’re back to writing English letters. But let’s not do this in the blog/wiki space. It’s an annoying and unnecessary diversion from the real work that needs to be done on interface, principles, approaches, and community frameworks.
  • write three short bullet point lines:
    • aaaaa
    • bbbbb
    • ccccc
    • (now backup with your backspace key until all three lines have been deleted. The cursor jumps up/down as in point 5 above as you hit the start of each line and wipe out the bullet. It just doesn’t look right.)
  • type a long bulleted item
    • askdfgjlajf blkajf lskdjf slkfj lskjf lskjflskdjf lsdkjf slkdfj lsdkfj lsd (return)
    • (cursor is now here. Hit the UP key. Cursor jumps to the END of line 1 instead of the beginning of line 1)

  • Line spacing wackiness: pasting blocks of text in and/or dragging them around causes extra non-editable lines to appear. This list now has one and I can’t get rid of it!

General U.I.

  • Pop-up menus are not designed for multiple check box selection. Could you move the category chooser to an optional side pane that does top to bottom so that for longs lists of categories, we can see all of the items or as many as our screen will allow.
  • If you DO keep it as a pop-up, can you please make it longer? I have to “page down” the list 10 times to see my entire category list. Inefficient. Besides, see point above, pop-up menus should not be used for checkbox selection – it’s bad UI form. Also, when you click in the spaces close to the top and bottom (to page up/down), it scrolls in REVERSE!!!!!)
  • I appreciate that you want to make use of viral marketing by having the “Powered by Qumana”. But could you append it to the post somewhere other than in the editor window itself? When I click to the end of the page to write at the bottom, the cursor jumps over to the right hand corner where the “power by” text is. And if I delete it, I’m left in italic mode in the right hand side of my page. 
  • Drop pad is WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY too big. I only need a small target to hit. Right now, I’m offended by the size of the logo and the size of the pad which I’m always moving around my screen. I would prefer something more unobtrusive that is visible but that doesn’t take up that much of my screen.  I tried moving it nearly off the screen but it seems to jump back into the screen of its own accord.
SUMMARY:
  • It is light, fast, and free.
  • It allows me to see a whole screen full of text while I edit rather than work in the tiny little Blogware editing window.
  • I’ve posted a couple of things so far and it seems okay.
  • It’s worth downloading and testing.
  • It’s better than anything else I have tried.