There’s been an an abundance of talk about Desk, a multi-blog publishing tool that looks very pretty. The talk, unsurprisingly was drummed up because the creators chose to buy a spot on Daring Fireball to advertise the product. I held off because Ulysses, but at some point I have to try things like this to see if there is something here.
What I’ve found is something very different. What I found was something that comes so close, but ultimately misses. There’s four really odd features, and I want to talk about those first before I dive into what this app get’s right.
- Transparency makes the window basically invisible — what’s the point of using it?
- The cursor is almost the entire line height, instead of just the character height, and I don’t know what the deal with that is. But it bugs me in a very subtle way that slowly drives me insane.
- The app supports Markdown, but has no option to allow you to publish _in_ Markdown. Meaning that your post is converted to HTML. This makes sense if your target market is that of Desk, but it annoys nerds like me who prefer all their posts _stay_ in Markdown.
- No support for custom fields, custom excerpts, or post types (WordPress things, both of them). Which just sucks.
These might seem like persnickety things to pick on, but what you have to realize is that there are other tools that get these right, and or tools that combined do a better job handling all this. And the least difficult part of blogging for me is publishing, so writing joy is paramount and those three things suck away a lot of joy.
But not all things are bad with Desk. It does offer a very simple, fairly pretty, way to interact with WordPress that is likely far more familiar to non-web-publishers types (like my wife) than many other tools.
I wouldn’t even bother publishing this if there wasn’t redeeming features of Desk, it’s just that well it’s not a tool for me. After posting about how great WordPress is a while back, it makes sense for me to check out Desk to see if this is a good tool to use with WordPress.
And I think Desk is the right choice for people wanting to do basic blogging.
People who primarily just want an easy and lovely way to get words from their laptop to WordPress (or the many other CMSs supported). The reason I say this: writing in a web interface is asking for disaster. Adding images in a browser can be hard. Desk makes those things, and more, easy. It makes things straightforward in a way that they needed to be. Whether adding links or images. Desk is simple publishing.
That’s why I think it’s a decent app, and I look forward to future feature additions. If Desk ticks off a few of the items on my complaint list above I might even switch to it. For now, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to people who need just the more basic features.
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