Publishing to WordPress from the Desktop, Even Offline, Using the XML-RPC Protocol

The way to avoid losing the moment of inspiration in an offline world is by installing software known as an XML-RPC client. These specially designed software applications actually reside on a user’s hard drive and place a shortcut on their desktop. They permit the writing of posts even when the computer does not have access to an internet connection, and they can store those posts and automatically submit them to the WordPress Dashboard as soon as a connection is found either in a public location or once the user has returned home from wherever they happened to be.

The great thing about these desktop clients is that they also permit robust post editing, with WYSIWYG features that promote advanced layouts, XHTML-rich headings, bulleted lists, and font weight modifications, just like the WordPress Dashboard. They’re designed to be easy to use, and they’re supported by almost every major blogging platform in the world. WordPress users who write for multiple communities on sites like TypePad, Blogger, LiveJournal, and others, will enjoy being able to leave the browser behind and work with just one application when creating new content for all of the sites they contribute to.

Chrysanth WebStory

Unfortunately, WordPress is a but more hesitant to enable this feature than most of its competitors, and the ability to post entries from a standard desktop client like Chrysanth WebStory is disabled by default. Users will need to turn that setting on in order to upload new entries form a desktop client, and they’ll need to learn how to properly set up the Chrysanth WebStory software to submit entries to the WordPress Dashboard and have them immediately published for end users. With the right settings both online and off, the ability to publish new posts from the desktop could mean the difference between appearing on Google’s first page of search results, or being relegated to page five, ten, or twenty.

Step 1: Enabling XML-RPC Protocol Desktop Clients in the WordPress

Unlike virtually every other content management platform currently available online, WordPress turns off the ability to use XML-RPC publishing clients by default. The development team behind the software contends that this is done to enhance the website’s security, and that might be true. After all, enabling this software by default does open up yet another avenue for hackers and other malicious users to modify or corrupt a website’s content remotely. That said, the security risks are truly minimal, especially in the current era of high-security software development, and the XML-RPC protocol can be activated without any worries.

To do this, the website’s root administrator should login to the WordPress Dashboard interface and find the “Settings” heading in the Dashboard sidebar. When that category is expanded, a link to “Writing” preferences will be displayed. This link should be clicked, and a preference pane will appear full of options that relate to, well, writing the entries that are published to the website. Within this section, scroll to the bottom of the page and locate a group of settings with the heading “Remote Publishing.”

Enabling XML-RPC Protocol Desktop Clients in the WordPress

The “Remote Publish” category of writing-focused settings currently contains two unchecked preferences. The first allows the root administrator to enable the Atom remote publishing protocol. This can remain unchecked for now, as the Chrysanth WebStory software does not require this particular protocol when creating new entries. Below that setting, administrator users will notice a second one that says “Enable the WordPress, MovableType, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols.” This is the option which should be checked. After placing a checkbox next to this preference, be sure to save the new settings and return to the Dashboard homepage.

This is all that needs to be done in terms of the WordPress Dashboard when enabling remote publishing via an XML-RPC desktop client. Next, the WebStory software itself will be told where to send its content.

Step 2: Downloading, Installing and Configuring Chrysanth WebStory

In order to be able to post new entries to WordPress without being online at the time, a desktop application is needed. Because the XML-RPC protocol is basically an open source remote publishing technology, there are numerous solutions which can accomplish this on Mac, Windows, and Linux desktop operating environments. In this tutorial, Chrysanth WebStory systems. It is exclusively developed for Windows computers, and that may be a concern for some.

Those who do run the world’s most popular operating system, however, should proceed to WebStory.MY/download. This link will provide a self-extracting executable which will launch the installer. This process should only take a few minutes to complete, and then the installation application will allow the user to automatically launch Chrysanth WebStory for the first time.

Upon launching the WebStory software for the first time, a dialog box will appear which asks the user to name their WebStory database and then assign a password to that database. This information does not have to match up with the WordPress database’s information; instead, the Chrysanth WebStory software keeps all of its entries stored in its own desktop database on the user’s local computer. It’s a highly efficient way to store data, and it essentially mimics the blogging platforms that WebStory interfaces with.

Enabling XML-RPC Protocol Desktop Clients in the WordPress

After this step has been completed, WebStory will create the database and ask the user if they have any TXT or RTF files that they would like to import as potential future entries. Users should choose the option which is most relevant to their unique situation and then proceed. At this point, it is necessary to either log into an existing WebStory account or create a new one. This is mandatory for all users, as it is the online WebStory account which registers with WordPress, MovableType, and other blogs in order to post entries to them.

Enabling XML-RPC Protocol Desktop Clients in the WordPress

Once the account has been created, or the user has logged into their existing WebStory account, the software will present a list of blogs which has already been setup to work with the Chrysanth WebStory desktop publishing software via the XML-RPC protocol. If the WordPress blog is already displayed, then nothing else needs to be done. Otherwise, proceed to the next step of the installation process.

Enabling XML-RPC Protocol Desktop Clients in the WordPress

To setup a new WordPress blog for use with Chrysanth WebStory, simply enter the blog’s main URL (where the root directory of the WordPress installation is also located) and provide the login information for the administrator user or the author on whose behalf all entries will be posted. The WebStory software will then automatically connect to WordPress in order to verify the user’s credentials and their ability to generate new content within the Dashboard itself. As long as the user has sufficient publishing permissions, they’ll be permitted by the software to add the new WordPress blog as a publishing option to the Chrysanth WebStory database.

Once the WordPress blog has been added to the WebStory software, and permissions have been verified with the server, the blog will appear in a list whenever the user goes to publish a new entry using the software. They’ll select which blog or magazine site they’re writing for and then they’ll simply proceed to the “New Entry” window of the software and begin writing their content. They can do this regardless of their internet connection’s status and, when they’re done, they can simply save their changes and close the application.

Enabling XML-RPC Protocol Desktop Clients in the WordPress

When the user returns to the application after an internet connection has been located, they’ll be asked if they wish to publish their entry. Selecting to publish the entry will automatically add it to the WordPress database. At that time, the entry will be made public and the site’s regular readers will be able to view it and comment on it just like they would any other entry on the website.

Step 3: Additional Considerations

While choosing to publish new entries or articles to a WordPress using the XML-RPC protocol is a great idea, especially for content creators who spend a vast amount of on time on the road where connecting to the internet can be sketchy at best, the practice does have a few drawbacks. Many WordPress users have noticed that the software seems to be unable to transmit proper XHTML code to the WordPress database, causing any code to be stripped out after an entry is published. This is largely due to the security settings put in place by some web hosts, so it’s worth checking with a host to determine whether or not they’ll allow advanced XML-RPC posts directly, or whether more advanced posts containing XHTML will have to be published solely within the WordPress Dashboard.

It’s also worth noting that XML-RPC, while intensely secure, is another way for hackers to target a website. Remember that the XML-RPC technology can always be turned off within the WordPress Dashboard if no one intends to use the desktop publishing software for a long period of time. Leaving it turned on perpetually might be fine, but there’s no reason to maximize a site’s exposure to security threats needlessly.

Other than that, publishing new entries with the Chrysanth WebStory desktop client is easy, straightforward, convenient, and highly recommended to Windows users who need an on-the-go solution for generating fresh, Google-friendly content.

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Or, you could browse our extensive WordPress archives.

via Speckyboy Design Magazine


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