This will be a quick review of Desk App – an app I wanted to like, especially after seeing it as a sponsor on Daring Fireball and reading some positive comments about it from someone on the Seanwes Community. I didn’t buy it right away, partly because while so many of the reviews seemed positive, there were just enough negative comments that mentioned basic flaws that I waited until I saw it go on sale in the Mac App Store. I’m glad I did, because I can’t use Desk App for the reason I bought it – writing and publishing blogs posts – unless a basic flaw is addressed.
I’m not going to spend time telling you what I like about the app, other than to note is is pretty, mostly gets out of the way when I like to write, and has a developer who is doing a great job at being transparent about his journey as an indie developer. I wish him luck with it, and if he can fix a few things about his app, I can see myself using it all the time. For now, I could use Desk App as a text editor, but frankly, I don’t need a Markdown-compatible text editor. I use Byword for that on both iOS and OS X, and I have both nvAlt and BBEdit around as well.
I’ve longed for a nice blog editor for the Mac for a while. I bought, upgraded, and still ocassionally use MarsEdit, and while it works fine on the blog publishing side, I kept finding inconsistiences, especially with font sizes and types when using it. I tried editing and publishing from Byword for a while, but didn’t care for its publishing workflow, so I just use it to compose a post, publish a draft to WordPress, and use the online editor to fine-tune and place pictures.
The Basic Problem
My idea workflow for writing and publishing a blog post is to treat is just like any other kind of document. Start writing, save the draft periodically, review it, then flip the post from Draft to Published. Seems simple enough – type, save, type some more, save, type, save, review, publish. I’ve worked like that in MarsEdit for years, and when I choose to only work within the online WordPress editor, I do the same thing.
Desk App doesn’t allow me to work that way, however. Every time I save, or rather send a post to WordPress as a draft, a new draft is created. Every single time. Here are some screenshots to show you what I mean.
So I typed that, then sent it to WordPress as a draft. During that process, I also selected a category for the post – Site Business.
Then I typed some more and sent the draft to WordPress. I even modified “draft 1” to say “draft 2” in the document, because I knew what was going to happen. At no time did I rename the document, nor did I change the category I had already selected. And yet this is what I ended up with in my WordPress posts list:
I now have two drafts, and that’s just for the test post I worked with for the purpose of this review. A week or so ago, I saved several versions and ended up with quite a few more drafts. In addition to that, I lost the category I’d set the first time. Each of those drafts also ends up with different permalinks as well – because as far as WordPress is concerned, they’re all different posts.
This seems like such a basic thing to get right, that I wondered if I was just doing something wrong. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as someone else reports the same issue recently on the Desk App community forum.
Setting Aside Desk App For Now
I suppose I could try to work around this issue. I’m doing it for this post right now, as a matter of fact. I’m writing it in Desk App, saving locally to my Dropbox folder. I’m going to to publish to WordPress as a draft one time when I’m done, then review the post and flip it to published using the online editor. But I’m not interested at this point in changing a workflow that has worked fine for me before just to deal with a quirk of this still new app. I hope the developer addresses this issue soon. If he does, I’ll spend more time with Desk App to more fully evaluate it as both a blog editor and text editor.