Sometimes you just get to a point that it’s time for something new. In this case, I’ve found that it’s time for a new blog editor.

For most of my posts so far on GridShore, I’ve been using Zoundry Raven. In case you don’t know it, it’s a WYSIWYG editor used to create blog entries. It includes the standard WYSIWYG mode, the source mode and the preview mode. I’ve created all but five of my entries in that editor and I’ve decided I don’t like it. It’s just not finished. My main aggravation is that you really cannot use the WYSIWYG feature, you really have to switch to source and edit HTML by hand. The thing has features to put in all your formatting using buttons and drag and drop, but if you switch to source or preview it forgets all your formatting. Mostly because internally it tries to do everything with basic HTML paragraphs and stylesheeting that cannot then be published on the actual blog. Bad.


So, what am I going to use instead? Well, I’m going to start out with BlogDesk for a while, just to see if I like it. It makes a good first impression; it seems simple enough, stable enough, responsive enough and with just enough features to write a nice post. Plus, I’m quite enamored of how it handles images in the offline mode — now all I still have to see is if it uploads them to gridshore properly and with the correct source reference in one go (which would also be a great improvement over Raven).

In case it turns out that I don’t like Raven though, I would appreciate hearing from readers what they use. It might make the search that little bit easier. So thanks in advance for any advice. :-)

File format libraries

As a completely irrelevant aside, I’ve been looking at file format libraries for Java over the past week (don’t ask me why). Here are some of the more useful ones for common file formats that I’ve come across (although most readers will probably know most of them already). Fee free to respond with some more (in particular if you know of a good PostScript library). ;-)

file format common extension library
Microsoft Excel .xls Java Excel API
Microsoft Word .doc Apache POI HWPF
Microsoft Powerpoint .ppt Apache POI HSLF
Microsoft Outlook Message .msg Apache POI HSMF
Adobe Acrobat .pdf iText Open Document file .odf ODFDOM
Bzip2 compression .bz2 Apache Ant BZIP2 lib



Other random thoughts

It’s amazing where your mind drifts while you’re on vacation. I’ve been playing around with all sorts of different stuff (Apache ActiveMQ is really quite cool) for the first time in a long time. For instance, I’ve been browsing through the Apache incubator and I came across what might be a nice new web application framework called Click. It seems to offer real promise, especially for people like me who really don’t like the front-end. I’m only just looking at it, but I’ll blog about it more if I decide I really like it.

I’ve also come across another thing I don’t like while starting to work with the Tomcat maven plugin from Codehaus (also something that might be worth a blog later): bad dependency management. The plugin itself seems pretty nice and to-the-point, allowing you to deploy, redeploy, undeploy, stop, start and otherwise manage your war in a Tomcat server. But really, why does a plugin like that need jars from the Eclipse JDT core, the Tomcat server core, the expression language and JSP interpreter modules and half the kitchen sink?


Vacation on the brain


As you can probably tell, I’m currently on vacation and this post does not really have a point to it other than for me to offload some of the random musings from my brain (and play with BlogDesk a little). Which, by the way, I find a useful exercise from time to time since it clears the way for more useful things. In any case, I apologize if I’ve wasted your time with this post. But who knows, maybe that short list of libraries will come in useful someday. :-)

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