Update: If you are interested in this post, you may also like to read a later one I wrote that uses the wp plugin “Everpress”.
I’ve been, and always am, looking for ways to streamline the process of getting the things I see online or come across on my computer out into the Intertubes – usually through one of my blogs. You know, reduce the amount of steps involved between getting something from my head as idea to a digital object.
The problem is there’s a myriad of things I might want to capture as a blog post, from a myriad of sources and a further myriad of apps.
This is where Evernote excels, at capturing ‘bits’ on the fly from anywhere on your computer.
What I really wanted was something that worked like Evernote but could publish to a blog. I even put that very thought out across Twitter, not really thinking about what I was saying.
Of course, I couldn’t just leave it alone there for some Evernote fairy to come along and create what I wanted, and I got thinking about a way to munge a solution.
The answer came to me in the middle of the following night and was actually simpler than I thought as I’d alread had the majority of the puzzle solved in the process I’ve been using to get my thoughts about things I discover out onto my Lifekludger blog.
The process on Lifekludger is I collect things I see in a delicious account. I save the url to delicious and add as much complete thoughts about what I’m saving as posible in the notes field of delicious. I even try include urls to images and other links I’d want to use in my final blog post. I then make sure it’s tagged with a unique tag I use that flags it as a future blogpost. Then I’m done and move along to whatever I was doing.
Meanwhile, I have on my blog a plugin call wp-o-matic [http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-o-matic/].
This is a plugin that takes any rss feed and turns each item into an individual blog post. Now, delicious is clever and can spit out a rss feed of just about anything – including a particular tag. So I setup wp-o-matic to grab the rss feed of the special tag in my delicious account and it automagically creates plog posts in the backend of my blog. I set it so the posts are drafts, then go into my blog backend when I have time and clean up the drafts, format a little, and then publish. Sometimes if there’s a few drafts, I’ll schedule them to release in some time in the future.
So, back to Evernote. You can possibly see where this is leading. The thought I had that night was “oh, I wonder if the publicly publishable part of evernote has rss on it? If so why not feed the rss of that into wp-o-matic“.
Fortunately, the ppl at Evernote did build in the ability to get a rss feed from any notebook you publicly publish. So, I had my rss feed.
I setup a few captures in Evernote and used a unique tag to mark future items I wanted to become blog posts, setup a search on the tag and set them up as a public notebook.
Then I got the rss feed from the published notebook and plugged it into wp-o-matic on myblog.
And, it didn’t work.
I went away and slept on it again, perplexed, as there was no valid reason for it not working. Then I got the idea to toss the public Evernote generated rss feed into feedburner to clean it up, then plug the feedburner feed into wp-o-matic. And voila! Next I looked there they were, 3 Draft posts of the individualy clipped terms in my blog back end from my Evernote notebook.
So now I have the ability to quickly capture anything I want in Evernote and publish it out to my blog. A little like an offline tumblr.
For more blog editor type function, some things could be better, like link embedding. And images don’t always go through as intended, especially if there’s multiples – I’ll likely keep using Jing for that when there’s more than a simple one image clip. That way I also know the image gets saved on my server.
I’m still to try it out in angst, but the process is sorted.
Originally I wrote this in Evernote. Capturing screenshots into Evernote and dropping them into this note along with dropping in links too. However apart from the images issue, there was a bigger problem – only a portion of the note written in Evernote was imported by wp-o-matic to my blog post. It was cut at about 400 words. Where that issue stems from I’m not sure at the time of writing. It could be the rss feed, some limit of evernote or some limit in wp-o-matic. I’ll need to test that out more. [Later: I just discovered the problem is Evernote not putting out a complete rss feed]
Anyway, to me the limitations don’t negate the usefulness of this method of using Evernote as a desktop quick blogging tool and I look forward to using my maze of small pieces, loosely joined I now call my new blogging flow tool.