A command-line, XMLRPC based blog client

pip install blogtool==1.1.2



Blogtool is a command line blog client for Wordpress weblogs.


  1. Intro
  2. The Details
    a. Keywords
    b. Definitions
    c. Groups
    d. Configuration Files
    e. Command Line Options
    f. Miscellaneous
  3. Usage and Examples
    a. Command Line
    b. Headers
    c. Multiple Blogs
    d. Pictures



I've tried a variety of graphical blog clients. All of them had spotty behavior. As I continued blogging, I realized that the GUI based clients were overkill for what I was doing.

What was I doing? Pushing text up to my blog. Occasionally with some pictures in it. I didn't require any fancy formatting or visual gimmickery or visual control. Even for the pictures, I mainly had to orient them horizontally, vertically, center them and size them.

So all I really needed was an editor with a backend that could take the text and publish it on my blog. Actually, my blogs. I had a backup that I posted everything to as well. Remarkably, none of the clients I used really dealt well with multiple blogs.

Thus was born blogtool.

Whats it do?

In addition to writing a post to a blog via XMLRPC, it also supports post deletion and edits. Categories and tags can be specified for the post. A post can be sent to multiple blogs, with slightly different configurations (different categories or tags, for instance). Additionally, image files embedded in the post are uploaded to the blog as part of the publishing process. Post can be scheduled and can also be written as 'drafts' (not published).

Blog categories can be listed and created and any number of recent entries can be retrieved and listed. These actions are accomplished independent of posts. As a matter of fact, it's possible to do any combination of these things with an entry on the command line.

In addition to post related processing, blogtool can also be used to read comments to a post, edit comments (for moderation purposes, for example) and write comments. It even supports the ability to respond to specific comments.

Finally, but not least, it supports Markdown syntax. So the post file or comment can be formatted using Markdown syntax and the resulting file will be posted with the appropriate markup to the blog.

The Details

In order to do any of this stuff, blogtool needs some basic info about the blog. Also, as mentioned, it really only supports Wordpress blogs since that's what my blog software is and therefore what blogtool has been tested on.

The basic blog info is provided via keywords and values separated by colons. Dont' worry- there aren't a lot and they're intuitive with regards to blogging. Where repetition is concerned, only three would be used on a regular basis for multiple blogs. If posting to a single blog, only two keywords are needed with any regularity.

The keywords form the header. Once the header is completed, a blank line follows. Everything thereafter is considered post text or coment text and will be written as appropriate to a post on the blog.

Header Keywords

Following is a list of blogtool header keywords:

  • EXCERPT (as of v1.1.1)
  • BLOG
  • NAME
  • TAGS

Notice, these are listed in caps. That's because the keywords should be capitalized in the header. Each keyword should be followed by a ':' and then an appropriate value. More on those below. Each line of the header is terminated with a carriage return, so don't try to put all the header stuff on a single line. To terminate the header, simply create a blank line. Everything after that blank line is processed as post text and will be published on the blog.

Keywords may also be given a list of values by using a comma (',') to separate each value. Because of this, the comma character cannot be used as part of a keyword value, for instance in the title of a post.

For the purposes of posting, the required keywords are XMLRPC, NAME, USERNAME, PASSWORD, and BLOGTYPE. Without these, blogtool can't push anything up to a weblog.

As of V1.1.1

In V1.1.1, the EXCERPT header keyword was added. This is a summary of the blogpost and can be displayed on the blog if enabled by the theme. Some search engines will also display it if present.

In order to support the possiblity of having an excerpt span several lines in an editor, the ability to use a quoted string has been added to headers. A quoted string for a blogtool header is the equivalent of a python docstring- a string delimited by three consecutive double-quotes. For example:

"""This is a quoted string that can be used in a header.  In addition to
being able to span multiple lines, any character can appear within the
triple double-quote delimiters, including commas and colons.  This is useful
for titles as well since it is now possible to include commas in a title
where before it was not."""

A quoted string is valid for any header keyword that accepts a string as a valid value.

Keyword Definitions

    Defines the post title that will appear on the blog.

    The equivalent of a summary and will be displayed on the blog if enabled by the theme.

  • BLOG
    Serves dual purposes. With a single value it defines the name of the blog for posting to. Again, basically any character can be used, excepting a comma.

    A comma separated list of blog names can be supplied if it's desired to publish to multiple blogs.

    Alternatively, a group can be assigned. See "Groups" below.

    Specifies the blog type being posted to. For now, this is only 'wp' for Wordpress blogs.

  • NAME
    Specifies the actual name of the blog. If posting to an individual blog, then it is synonymous with the 'BLOG' keyword. If posting to multiple blogs, then it should be used inside a group for the 'BLOG' keyword.

    The location of the xmlrpc file for the blog.

    The category the post should be filed under on the blog. If filing under a subcategory, then it should be listed as a dotted representation of the category. Example: parentcat.subcat1.subcat2

    Can be a single value or a comma separated list.

    The ID number of a post. The presence of this in the header means that the post will be updated.

    The login name for posting to the blog. The is required to be able to post to a weblog.

    The password for the USERNAME for gaining access to the weblog.

  • TAGS
    For defining the tags for a post. Can be a single value or a comma separated list.

    Used to schedule a post. See section at the end on time strings to see how to spell this.

The following keywords are specific to editting and or writing comments:

    Valid values are approve, hold and spam and are determined by the Wordpress blog software.

    Every Wordpress comment has a unique ID, like the posts. The value for this can be obtained with the --readcomments option or by hovering on the comment link in a browser.

    The comment_id of the comment being replied to. Typically used when writing a comment using the --comment option.

    Specifies the name to be associated with a comment. When writing a comment via the --comment option, this will default to the username for the blog specified, but can be overwritten to anything.

    Specifies the URL for the comment's author's website. Can be left blank.

    Specifies an email address for the author of the comment. Can be left blank.


The header syntax also supports grouping for the BLOG keyword. Grouping provides a means to supply information for multiple blogs. Use the 'NAME' keyword within a group to specify a blog.

A group consists of a keywords enclosed within brackets. Groups can be listed using a comma.


        NAME: My Blog
        XMLRPC: http://my.server/xmlrpc.php
        USERNAME: user
        PASSWORD: secret
        NAME: My Other Blog
        USERNAME: user
        PASSWORD: secret
        CATEGORIES: Tedium

Configuration Files

To reduce the amount of header typing, it is possible to create a configuration file for blogtool to obtain parameter settings that are used all the time. The file '~/.btrc' is automatically looked for when blogtool is started. Alternatively, a configuration file can be specified on the command line using the '-c' options.

A configuration file basically consists of a header. The most useful purpose is to supply redundant configuration information like XMLRPC, BLOGTYPE, NAME, USERNAME and PASSWORD so that each post file does not require this information. Given a configuration file with these five settings, then it is possible to construct post files with only two lines in the header- namely the TITLE and CATEGORIES of the post.

Because of the way a configuration file's settings are reconciled with settings specified in a post file, it is possible to use the configuration file to define default settings for a blog, such as the CATEGORIES or TAGS. Basically, if these settings are present in a configuration file, but NOT present in the post file, then the configuration file setting will be used. Otherwise, post file settings ALWAYS override configuration file settings.

The configuration file was implemented as a courtesy to the user so as to avoid the tedium of constantly entering the same values for every post.

Command Line Options

Following are command line options that can be specified for blogtool:

  • -h, --help
    Command line help message

    Specifies a config file. This takes precedence over the default '.btrc' file if specified.

  • -b BLOGNAME, --blog=BLOGNAME
    Specifies a blog within a config file. Should match the 'NAME' keyword.

  • -a, --add-categories
    Blogtool will attempt to verify categories specified in a post file to account for typos. If the catgories aren't found, then the category will not be used. This overrides that default. Useful when adding a new category to the blog.

  • --draft
    The post will not be published when it is pushed up to the blog.

  • -s TIMESTR, --schedule=TIMESTR
    Allows for scheduling of posts. See below for how to spell TIMESTR.

  • -A, --allblogs
    If multiple blogs are specified in a config file, normally they must be specified using the 'NAME' or 'BLOG' keyword. This provides a shortcut for sending a post to all the blogs listed in the config file.

  • -d POSTID, --delete=POSTID
    Delete the post. Requires a config file to provide blog information. If multiple blogs are defined, then specify which blog to delete from with the -b option.

    Returns a list of the most recent blog posts. Requires a config file to provide blog information. If multiple blogs are defined, then a list is returned for each blog. If used with the -b option, only posts for that blog are listed.

  • -C, --catgories
    Returns a list of categories for a blog. Requires a config file to provide blog information. If multiple blogs are defined, then specify the blog using the -b option.

  • -n NEWCAT_NAME, --new-categories=NEWCAT_NAME
    Adds NEWCAT_NAME to the category list for the blog. Requires a config file to provide blog information. If multiple blogs are defined, then use the -b option to specify which one to add the category to.

  • -g GET_POSTID, --getpost=GET_POSTID
    Retrieves a post from a blog. Requires a config file to provide blog information. If multiple blogs are defined, then use the -b option to specify which blog to retrieve from.

    The returned post is printed out to STDOUT along with a header and an attempt is made to format it using Markdown syntax. If the output is captured, it should be possible to use blogtool to repost the captured output.

  • -u UPLOAD_FILE, --uploadmedia=UPLOAD_FILE
    Uploads a file to a blog. Requires a config file to provide blog information. If multiple blogs are defined, then use the -b option to specify which blog to retrieve from.

  • --comment==POSTID COMMENTID Post text from a file as a comment to post POSTID.

  • --charset=CHARSET
    Set the CHARSET to use to decode text prior to running it through markdown.

  • --posttype=POSTTYPE
    By default, post file content is published as a post to a blog so this option is not normally needed (in other words, --posttype=post is redundant) Wordpress blogs also support a page type as well, in which case the content is published as a page to the blog, rather than as a post entry on the main page. Note this also will support other page types, but they must be registered with the blog software.

  • -D COMMENTID, --deletecomment=COMMENTID
    Delete COMMENTID from a blog.

  • -r POSTID, --readcomments=POSTID
    Retrieves all comments for a post and displays them on the console. Comment text is converted to markdown syntax to ease reading.

  • --editcomment=COMMENTID
    Edit comment COMMENTID already on the blog. The comment will be downloaded and an editor will be launched with the comment text formatted into Markdown syntax. A header is also generated with the metadata from the blog in it so it can also be edited, for instance to approce a comment held in moderation.


Time Strings

The following strings may be used when scheduling a post for publication:

  • YYYYMMDDThh:mm
  • YYYYMMDDThh:mm:ss
  • YYYYMMDDThh:mm:ssAM/PM
  • Month DD, YYYY hh:mm
  • Month DD, YYYY hh:mmAM/PM
  • MM/DD/YYYY hh:mm
  • MM/DD/YYYY hh:mmAM/PM
  • hh:mm MM/DD/YYYY
  • hh:mmAM/PM MM/DD/YYYY


  • YYYY = 4 digit year
  • MM = 2 digit month (padded with leading 0's if necessary)
  • DD = 2 digit day of month (padded with leading 0's if necessary)
  • hh = 2 digit hour
  • mm = 2 digit minute (padded with leading 0's if necessary)
  • AM/PM = specifies either 'AM' or 'PM' for time
  • Month = abbreviated month name
  • T = a literal 'T' character
  • / = a literal '/' character
  • : = a literal ':' character

Extended Entry and Custom 'more' Text

It is possible to create posts which are split up to conserve space on the main blog page. These sorts of posts typically have a MORE link when viewed on the main page. Clicking that link will bring up the entire post for reading.

To create a post like this using blogtool, insert a line with a minimum of 3 '+' characters at the start of the line. The line should be preceded and followed by blank lines. The pluses can be space separated or not. Here's an example:

This text would be seen on the main blog page.

+ + +

This text will not be seen on the main page.  It will be visible after
clicking the `MORE` link.

It is also possible to supply custom text for the MORE link by simply adding the custom text after the sequence of pluses. It is optional to add trailing pluses to the text, they will be stripped out and not included in the custom MORE text. For example:

This text would be seen on the main blog page.

+ + + + + + + + + Click Here For the Exciting Conclusion + + + + + + + + + 

This text is seen after clicking on the `MORE` link, which will contain the
above text.  The trailing pluses are not included in the custom text.

Notice in the above example that there are more than 3 pluses to start. These extra pluses are ignored- only the text following the final plus character is used. The above extended entry marker line could also have been written as:

+ + + + + + + + + Click Here For the Exciting Conclusion

The trailing pluses are optional and purely for the aesthetics of the text version of the post file.

Usage and Examples

Basic usage:

bt [options] [filelist]

If no options nor files are specified, then blogtool will attempt to launch an editor as specified by the $EDITOR environment variable. Data will be written to a tmp file. If an empty file name is supplied on the command line, blogtool will attempt to launch $EDITOR using the supplied file name. The file name STDIN should be considered reserved and if used will cause blogtool to accept data from the standard input.

Command Line

Assume the following ~/.btrc file exists for the following examples:

        NAME: My Blog
        XMLRPC: http://my.server/xmlrpc.php
        USERNAME: user
        PASSWORD: secret

To post a file to the blog:

> bt mypostfile

To post a file and make sure that all categories are added to the blog:

> bt -a mypostfile

To manually add a new category to a blog:

> bt -n cat.subcat1.subcat2

Catgories can be supplied as a hierarchy by using a dotted notation as above. All necessary categories will be added to the blog to fulfill the command. So if all 3 categories are new, 3 new categories will be added. If only the final subcat2 is new, that is the only new one created with it's parent being subcat1. This same syntax is used when specifying categories in the header of a post file.

To retrieve the 5 latest blog titles:

> bt -t 5

To retrieve a blogpost for editting:

> bt -g 12345 > postfile

This assumes the POSTID of the post to edit is 12345. The retrieve option will list blog post titles along with the ID to use for this command. The resulting postfile will contain an appropriately filled out header and the post text in markdown syntax.

To upload a picture:

> bt -u file_to_upload

To see the comments for a post:

> bt -r 12345

To write a comment:

> bt --comment 12345 0

The 0 means the comment is a standalone comment. If replying to a comment, note the commentid from the readcomment option and then enter:

> bt --comment 12345 54321

This usage will result in the use of the PARENTID in the header of the ensuing comment file, like so:

POSTID: 12345

As of version 1.1.0, blogtool accepts input from the standard input using the following incantation:

> bt STDIN

The filename STDIN is processed like any other file, so any option appropriate for use with a post file will work here as well. Note that the following piece of silliness will also work:

> cat - | bt STDIN

Header entries for TITLE and CATEGORIES must be manually entered in this way, but it will work. Perhaps such a method is useful for a quicky post where the need for full-blown editting capabilities is unnecessary. Perhaps if nothing else, users will be excited to know that esoteric command line usage is possible.


Given the following ~/.btrc file:

NAME: My Blog
XMLRPC: http://my.server/xmlrpc.php
PASSWORD: secret

When simply launching blogtool with an empty command line like:

> bt

The editor will launch with the following header:


These are the minimal header entries that must be completed for blogtool to be able to process the file. Make sure there is a blank line following the final header line or blogtool will not be able to parse the file properly.

Multiple Blogs

It is possible to specify multiple blogs in a single ~/.btrc file:

       NAME: First Blog
       XMLRPC: http://firstblog.server/xmlrpc.php
       USERNAME: user
       PASSWORD: secret
       NAME: Other Blog
       XMLRPC: http://otherblog.server/xmlrpc.php
       USERNAME: user
       PASSWORD: secret2

If you wish to compose a new blog post that will go to both blogs:

> bt -A

The resulting header that appears in the editor will be as so:

BLOG: First Blog, Other Blog

Now you'll know which blogs the post will be posted to. If you don't want it to go to both blogs, simply remove the blog name from the BLOG header line.

If you only want a post to go to a specific blog:

> bt -b 'Other Blog'

Similarly, the -b option can be used in conjunction with other options like retrieving titles, categories or posts.


It is possible with blogtool to add pictures to your post as provided by Markdown syntax. In particular, the following syntax should be utilized:

![](*path/to/picture.jpg* )

When such a syntax is encountered by blogtool while processing a post file, it will attempt to locate the JPG file and upload it to the blog. If successful, it will then modify the link information so that the image will be linked on the blog and the picture will appear in the post without further direction from you. Note that the space character preceding the closing paren is needed. Also, if a URL is supplied instead of a path, then blogtool does nothing extra and simply posts the link as supplied.

Because blogtool utilizes python-markdown, it takes advantage of the attribute feature provided. This is useful for resizing and locating a picture for display in a blogpost

For example, let's say mypic.jpg is a 1024x768 sized image. The following can be used to display it:

![{@width=614}{@height=531}](path/to/mypic.jpg )

This will set the width and height attributes in the subsequent markup for the picture. It will also place the picture in a p tag with its class attribute set to aligncenter so the picture will appear centered in the post. This takes advantage of the builtin alignment classes for a Wordpress blog.

Another possibility:

![{@width=614}{@height=531}](path/to/mypic.jpg )
![{@width=614}{@height=531}](path/to/mypic.jpg )

This would center 2 pictures, potentially both on the same line if width allows for it, within the same p tag. Other alignment possibilities are alignright and alignleft or whatever other values are supported by your blog theme. Thus, while not exactly a tool for a photo blog, blogtool affords the user quite a bit of control over pictures.