eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

Review: VisualBlogger 2004 - Beta 3

June 28, 2004 17:02 by matthaw

So as I stated previously, I said I'd give VisualBlogger 2004, Beta 3 a better run for its money...I'm not so sure how long that will last. It still seems to be missing that ease of use that I love so much in BlogJet, however this post is written entirely within VisualBlogger 2004.

The good...

  • The UI is a lot better, getting around the program is a bit easier now that we have an actual menu bar.
  • I do like the office feel.
  • I do like the code snippit functionality, however whenever you insert the code, the dialog should dissapear.

Now, for the bad --

  • I'm still not keen on the sideways submit button.
  • The configure blogs UI is horrible, no, horrendous. I got in there and (without reading the documentation) was completely at a loss for what I needed to do. Ohh - okay, so this tree menu on the right, those are my blog providers, okay, how do I add my blog to it? Ohh, right click...gotcha. Not intuitive at all, sure it looks a little better, but it still works like crap.
  • Now, how to exit the configure blogs dialog, right - red "X".
  • File -> Exit ... I can't exit? Are you serious? You mean I have to just keep this open 24-7 until I shut down my laptop? No, wait, there is another red "X" at the top right hand corner, phew.
  • Seems like a lot of the menu bar isn't wired up yet...thats okay, its a beta...though how come I can't format my font? I guess I'll just use the toolbars, err.
  • So you want a picture? Okay, click the button - ohh, shoot, you gotta write the url first, then highlight the url, then click the image button. Good thing I finally opened the user guide.
  • Ditch the "Flat" style of controls, they look terrible - go for the "themed" look of XP.
  • Again, I just state that the "Property Grid" for advanced options looks terrible, I know you've already stated its just a test, but err, it looks terrible.

So, you wanted my comments, and you got them...I realize my comment's aren't necessarily pro for VisualBlogger, but I think its a tool that is far from being a competitor with w.bloggar and BlogJet. Just wondering, have you used either of those to see what they got right, and how they do things rather than trying to reinvent the wheel? The way I look at it, is "could my mom setup and use this program?" Right now, no - not in a heartbeat, she'd delete just about as fast as I'm going to. Just a thought...

All things set aside, I give this:

Update: The post was originally written in VisualBlogger, but for some reason the stupid tool craps out on me and I can't: 1) submit my post, 2) exit VisualBlogger, 3) Close my post. It gives error messages each time, something about updating my entry...okay, so as you probably figured, I've now opened BlogJet and going to post via that. Time to Ctrl-Alt-Delete and close, then delete VisualBlogger 2004.


June 28. 2004 18:57

I agree about the config screens ... Robert McLaws is a good Coder, but like most good coders, he can't interface for toffee Laughing


June 28. 2004 19:00

I mention about the XP Theme before , and in .Net there can be problems with treemenus and Application.EnableVisualStyles();

Just use Application.DoEvents(); afterwards and it resolved all of my ills with XP Themes


June 28. 2004 23:12

- The sideways submit button will go away when I have a suitable icon. Really, I know you don't like it.

- Configuring BlogProviders - RTFM. The User's Guide even had a walkthrough with screenshots.

- I'll fix the exiting bugs

- The only toolbar items that aren't wired up are the font and size ones. Everything else is. That's far from "a lot".

- New image functionality will be available in the next beta.

- I can't use EnableVisualStyles because of the TabControl. I've discussed this numerous times. It renders tabs wrong when they are on the bottom of the tabpage.

- The property grid is staying. You can close it if you want and you'll never see it again.

OK, so Matt, you deleted it off your computer. You're supposed to be a BETA TESTER. How can I troubleshoot your problems with you if you don't submit error reports and leave it on your computer long enough for me to check out?

Robert W. McLaws

June 28. 2004 23:28


I find it very hard to beta test something that, I would consider, not even a beta. These "drops" as you may call them are on the scale of the CTP drops for Whidbey...a lot of things broke, but definately not a "Beta".

Great, a walkthrough in the user guide, what if I was my mother who didn't realize there was a user guide? Maybe you should provide inner help with it? Honestly, how often do you read the "user's manual" for a new piece of software, hardware, or piece of furniture? I sure as hell don't have an extra 30 min to read through something like that, and I can probably say a lot of people will be with me on that.

So I imbellished a bit with my "a lot", sue me.

Okay, so you can't use Visual Styles, thats fine...the flat style still looks like crap though.

PropertyGrid != user friendly, you seem to keep positioning yourself further and further away from the non-developers that I would hope your targeting this app for. You give them something they don't understand, or something that just isn't user friendly, they ARENT going to use your tool.

Yes, I deleted it from my computer...I wouldn't consider myself a BETA tester, more of a "lets see if this is something I like" tester...if I cared more about the app (like I did BlogJet), I would consider myself a "BETA" tester and fight off bugs and report new ones.

Now, I'm not normally this blatant about things, but seriously, VisualBlogger just isn't that good, and I'm just the one voicing my opinion. Again, I regress to my statement of "have you checked out BlogJet or w.bloggar to see what they did right?" If you've not, you really should. They have user friendliness in mind, whereas VisualBlogger is far from that.

Obviously, I'm in the BlogJet camp, and its going to take a gun to my head to get me to change.

Matt Hawley

June 29. 2004 13:03

Did you check out the "Help" menu? There are buttons for an online help, which means it's coming.

Future versions will have a "New User Wizard" which will guide new users through the configuration process.

I'm sorry if you don't feel that these drops are the same quality as Whidbey. There is good reason. I'm one dev. Whidbey has thousands. It works when it's on my machine. I put out drops so that I can troubleshoot what happens when it's not on my machine.

In regards to the property grid, it's not necessary to change options to post an entry. Most won't even see it. And I doubt it's as unstraightforward as you say.

Anyways, see my blog for details on a new drop.

I'm still not in user friendliness mode. I'm in "proof-of-concept" mode. The concepts that it's trying to prove are not visible to you. And that's fine.

But we still have a few pretty big guns left. Stuff that I guarantee BlogJet doesn't do. And won't do any time soon.

Robert W. McLaws

June 29. 2004 20:50

> But we still have a few pretty big guns left. Stuff

> that I guarantee BlogJet doesn't do. And won't do

> any time soon.

Aha! Wink


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