[If you’re reading this in via email or RSS, you’ll have to click through to watch the video.]
I’m going to say it up front: this is a long screencast, even for me. It weighs in at about 14.5 minutes. The star of this show is TextExpander, but Textmate also wins the prize for best supporting application.
TextExpander is a system-wide application (Mac-only) that takes a few keystrokes and converts them into longer strings. For instance, you could type em1 and it would expand that to your email address or ws1 and have it convert that to your primary website.
That’s cool enough, but in this video, we’re going to take it a bit further. I’m going to show you how TextExpander can help you write blog posts by taking a lot of the hard work out of formatting your posts. Using these techniques is some of what allows me to publish posts as frequently as I do, and they come in even handier when you want to give somebody a guest post because you can give them some lean HTML to cut and copy rather than having to make them do the work to format it themselves.
I could have made three smaller videos but I’m hoping that seeing this in context will be better than having to watch three videos.
You might wonder why I don’t write in a blog editor or directly into the WordPress window. I’ve got two quick reasons that address those wonderings: 1) I’ve tested writing in a blog editor vs. writing in Textmate, and Textmate won (effectiveness-wise) and 2) I’ve lost enough posts and words through browser craziness to not trust the process.
I wanted to post this yesterday but the techno-gremlins were conspiring against me, so you might get two posts today.
Lisa Wood says
Thanks for putting this together, Charlie. I haven’t tried either one but am off to check them out. I have to do more digging to better understand how the two programs work together. Do you know if TextExpander works with Espresso?
I’m glad you liked it, Lisa – thanks for wading through it.
The short answer to your question: if you can do it on a Mac, Textexpander works with it. So, yes, it’ll work in Espresso
The longer answer: you can download a snippet file especially for CSS, much like Espresso already has. The advantage would be that your TextExpander snippets are global – so you could be working in someone’s WordPress design panel and use them, rather than FTP’ing the file. Nifty, no?
Lisa Wood says
Ah, yes. Ok – off to dig some more on this. Thanks 🙂
Brett Kelly says
Have you considered using a tool like MarsEdit for composing your posts? It syncs up with your blog and allows you to create (and publish) posts from your desktop. Bonus feature: you can do the actual typing in your favorite text editor (vim for life!), including TextMate. It’s a fantastic piece of software, you should definitely take it for a test drive.
Thanks, Brett. I actually have used it; that’s what I was referencing at the end of the post. I’ve also used ecto, MacJournal, and a few others.
Where I fall down is when it comes time for metadata – tags, categories, and keywords. I always ended up having to get back to the wordpress panel anyway, so the process of going from TextMate to [App] to WordPress actually introduced a step that didn’t increase my effectiveness.
I recognize that they really do work well for some people, but I prefer to learn how to rock a few core utilities/applications and Textmate kept winning on that front. (What ’til I show you the Textmate screencast. ;p)
Mike Korner says
Great information Charlie. Thank you!
FYI, for those of us still chained to Windows, ActiveWords is a good TextExpander-type application. It has literally saved me over a million keystrokes over the past three years (it has a report that shows the productivity savings). Even if you ignore the tons of time saved, think of the savings in wear and tear on your hands.
looks like a nice application but i dont have mac 🙁
J.D. Meier says
I’m a fan of lean HTML and I like the insight.
Trevor Claiborne says
I’ll second the recommendation for ActiveWords for Windows users. Beyond just expanding text it has plugins for fixing common misspellings. You can also set it up to automatically launch applications, complete repetitive tasks, and then some.
Scott Webb says
do you know how to use textexpander for your email signature?
I was trying to put in some clickable icons within my signature, but I couldn’t seem to create clickable links via snippit. Do you have to use 2 snippits to do something like this? Or maybe I’m just not in the right mode in my mac email.
Did you change the snippet formatting to “Formatted Text?” It’s in Text Expander’s SysPrefs where you type in the snippet.
Windows users might also want to check out Breevy, an app that I actually wrote.
v2.40 was released yesterday, and now Breevy can import your TextExpander (Mac) snippets, too.
wow! nice post, good job.
wow very good post, keep it up!