Palm Blogging Apps

As the interest in moblogging has continued to grow, it’s been encouraging to see several dedicated blogging clients appear for the Palm OS platform. Inspired in part by Palm Weblogging on, I thought a quick round-up of the available clients would be helpful.

Palm Blogging Apps

2005-06-09: Mike Rowehl just released Vagablog as open-source.

2004-11-25: Tim Norman of NormSoft just wrote to let me know that HBlogger was in the process of moving from Hexlet to NormSoft. (Tim was referring to my previous comments about the confusion of where to buy HBlogger.) Thanks for the feedback Tim! I’ve updated those details on HBlogger below.

2004-11-17: Welcome PalmInfocenter readers!

As the interest in moblogging has continued to grow, it’s been encouraging to see several dedicated blogging clients appear for the Palm OS platform. Inspired in part by Palm Weblogging on, I thought a quick round-up of the available clients would be helpful.

In this article I take a look at four clients: mo:Blog, HBlogger, Plogit, and Vagablog. Each of these are “over the air” clients that connect directly from network-enabled PDAs, creating and modifying weblog entries. Other options for PDAs without network connections to update a weblog are mentioned later.

Feature Comparison

The following table is a survey of features and capabilities of each client. Most of the “features” are self-explanatory but I’ve included notes for a few after the table.

Feature mo:Blog HBlogger Plogit Vagablog
Version 1.6 (2004-08-15) 2.0 (2004-08-08) 0.21 (2004-09-16) 1.9 (2004-03-12)
Web Link Tektonica NormSoft Plogit Vagablog
License Commercial Commercial Open Source GPL Commercial
Price 12.50 EUR ($15.50) $14.95 N/A $7
Trial Version? Yes – time delay dialogs Yes – reminder dialogs N/A Yes – limited postings
Help Online manual
On device help
Online manual None Online manual
Languages EN EN EN, BP, DE, ES EN
Supported Devices N/S Palm OS 3.5+ N/S N/S
App Size 347 KB 389 KB 54 KB 32 KB
Multiple Blogs Y Y Y N
Blogs/APIs Supported [1] Blogger, MetaWeblog, MovableType LiveJournal, UJournal, DeadJournal, Blurty, NeedlessPanic, Plogs, Caleida, GreatestJournal, Blogger, MovableType, TypePad, Weblogs Blogger, MetaWeblog, MovableType Blogger, MetaWeblog, MovableType,, WordPress, TypePag, B2, LiveJournal
RSD [2] N N N N
Signature All or per-blog All N N
Lookup Blogid [3] Y Y Y Y
Lookup Categories [3] Y N N N
Lookup Text Filters [3] N N N N
File Upload Settings Directory FTP Settings, Custom Img Size N N
HTTP Proxy Y N N N
HTTP Timeout Y Y N Y
Disconnect Command Y Y Y N
Other   “Default Encoding” option Blogger title hack  
Fetch / Edit Old Posts N Edit Last Entry Y N
Delete Old Posts N N Y N
Multiple Posts Y Y Y Y
Attachments Yes, any file but must be on SD card; can create entry with just a file Yes, images only, SD card or internal; can enter description, height, width N N
International Support        
Text Snippets Y N N N
Entry Fields Title, Body Body Title, Body Title, Body
HTML Tags B, I, U, BR, IMG, A B, I, IMG A, IMG B, I, U, EM, A
Publish / Draft Publish Publish Publish/Draft Publish/Draft
Post Single/Multiple Multiple Multiple Single Single

Table notes:

  1. Applications use a mixture of API types and hosting services for this option. It’s not clear whether anything special is done to handle the different services, or if there names are listed simply to help users choose.
  2. Really Simple Discovery (RSD) is a way to find the detailed weblog settings without requiring the user to enter all of them.
  3. Meaning do a live lookup of the parameter in question. This also helps ensure that the weblog settings are correct.


I experimented with each of the four clients on my Treo 600 and Tungsten C (all clients worked well on both devices). My target weblog is running MovableType 2.64. The screenshots were taken from the Tungsten C for the higher resolution. I used the trial versions for each (except for Plogit which is open-source).


mo:Blog is perhaps the most complete client of this set. Blog setup worked fine and was the only client to fetch the categories from the server. (The other three clients don’t specify a category for new posts.)

mo:Blog also has a unique feature: the software supports a “global” signature but also individual ones for each blog. This might be handy for those posting to multiple blogs from the client. Another unique feature is “text snippets” which lets you define shortcuts for chunks of text you might frequently use. The snippets support variable expansion, so you can double-click some text and insert your snippet around the text (e.g., create a snippet for <cite>….</cite> block).

Attachments are supported and can be any file (not just images). In fact, an entry can consist solely of an attachment, but I did not try this. On the downside, specifying the local folder is not easy (you need to know the folder layout of expansion cards). Also, attachments can only come from the expansion card. If you have a camera-equipped device, for example, you can only attach pictures if they’ve been stored on the card rather than device memory.

mo:Blog contains the most extensive on-device help which was a nice touch and obviously well thought-out. I found the graphical icons nice looking but somewhat confusing; they look pretty clear in these screenshots, but on the Treo’s 160×160 display, their meaning was not cleart.

mo:Blog Setupmo:Blog Edit Entrymo:Blog Entry List


HBlogger is also a fairly capable client that is unique in providing some special LiveJournal features. I’m not a LiveJournal user, so I was unable to check those out.

HBlogger supports multiple accounts and adding them was quite easy. The “Account info” dialog was a nice touch that showed details of the connection once established. A long list of blogs are supported; it’s not clear whether there is unique handling for each of these or if they all use the same interface.

Editing posts was straightforward. The only attachments supported are pictures, but the application correctly uses the device APIs to fetch the available images (meaning the images can be on the device or an expansion card). Images are uploaded using FTP protocol which is handy for Blogger users, but can be difficult to set up.

HBlogger tracks separately entries that have been posted, are drafts, or are unsent. This is a nice feature but navigating amongst the lists was confusing.

HBlogger Setup HBlogger Setup HBlogger Edit Entry HBlogger Entry List


Plogit is a unique entry here being the only open-source client of the bunch. It’s also the only one that has been localized (Brazilian Portuguese, German and Spanish). Setup is straightforward and multiple blogs are supported.

A nice touch is called “Blogger title hack” which let’s you force an entry title (the original Blogger API did not support titles).

Missing are things like image/file attachments, but perhaps those will come with time.

Plogit Setup Plogit Edit Entry Plogit Entry List


Vagablog is a good client that is fairly basic in functionality. For basic posting to a weblog, this is a good choice. From the author’s weblog, it looks like he’s debating which direction to take this client now that others (like mo:Blog) have appeared.

Vagablog Setup Vagablog Setup Vagablog Edit Entry

Ideal Client

Taking a closer look at each of these applications, I’ve tallied some of the key things I would see in an “Ideal Client”. A moblogging client is probably going to be used mostly for relatively short entries with a focus on multimedia such as pictures or movies. The client should be powerful enough for a serious user, but should fit the Palm OS “easy-to-use” model as well.

Some specific ideas:

  • Support RSD for client setup; this would let you simply enter your home page location and
  • Better photo handling — use the standard interfaces to preview available photos and make it easier to reference pictures from the entry
  • Implement UI to be consistent with Palm OS application UI guidelines; none of these apps have very complicated interfaces and there’s no reason not to follow the standard conventions
  • Better integration with other device apps — for example, view your weblog with the browser or integrate with the Exchange Manager which would let other apps “Send To” the weblog client
  • Category setting — would be nice to choose different categories
  • Text filter setting — tools like MovableType let you specify a default text filter, but would be nice to have a choice in the client as well
  • Support for Atom API-enabled web hosts

This leads to a recent idea — why not split the problem into two parts: 1) entry editing and 2) posting to weblog servers. I can picture an application with fairly basic entry capabilities, but with a rock-solid interface to numerous weblog tools. Then, provide a standard interface so that other applications (calendar, e-mail, word processor, doc reader) can send data chunks to this application for transmission.

Other Solutions

Other network-connected solutions could include “mail to blog” which weblog tools are starting to support (TypePad, Blogger, MovableType, Userland Radio). There are also mail-to-blog gateways such as Mfop2.

For AvantGo users, AvantBlog may be worth checking out.

For sync solutions (where you would write on your Palm, but not post until you synchronize with your desktop), handX Weblog is one such solution, but it looks to require a fair amount of server expertise to set it up. You can always use the poor man’s method of writing entries in Memo Pad, synchronizing, then copy and paste them to the weblog directly.