Windows Live Writer from Microsoft

    August 16, 2006

Another new entrant into the blog editing software market comes from Microsoft with their beta launch of Windows Live Writer.

I’m trying it out in writing this post and so far so good. A very polished program for a first beta [but see my post-publish edit note at the end].

Although this free editor for Windows is clearly aimed at enabling you to write and post entries to a Windows Live Spaces blog, Microsoft says it will work with any blogging platform that supports the Movable Type API and the Metaweblog API.

What that means is that it should work with all the usual suspects – WordPress, Movable Type, TypePad, Blogger, etc – who support either or both of those APIs.

It certainly works with WordPress as I set it up very easily. Or, rather, the program did that with little intervention from me.

Unlike every other blog editor I’ve used, this one automatically configured itself for my platform after I’d entered just the address of this blog. It figured out the correct API and everything else it needs to know in order to connect to the blog. It didn’t ask me to check or confirm anything remotely tech; it just got the settings, retrieved the categories I use and so let me get started blogging.


One other thing that really does impress me is that the program configured itself to reflect the appearance of my published posts. So I’m writing this in web layout view (there are different views to choose from including HTML code view) and seeing the exact same typefaces and sizes that I see on the published blog. I didn’t have to do anything with figuring out a style sheet or diving into some incomprehensible HTML codes.

How does it compare to ecto for Windows, my current offline editor, or others such as BlogJet and Qumana?

As an editing tool, it’s very good with none of the functionality glitches that continue to plague ecto. It also gives you a list of all your published posts as ecto and the others do. So if you want to edit an already-published post, you can do that with Windows Live Writer.

One feature I don’t see is the ability to write and publish extended posts, ie, a post that has a “continue reading” link so that you get a brief part of your post on the home page with a link to the rest of it. Maybe that will come in further betas. If not, then this might not be for you if you write lengthy posts and don’t like having the complete content on the home page. (This post is long so I’ll edit it directly in my blog after publishing it in order to split it.)

Still, it appears to be a well-rounded blog editor and manager, which certainly places it as a serious competitor in the offline blog editor market.

I’m impressed with Windows Live Writer beta after a first look and a first write. If this post publishes correctly, then this is definitely worth continuing to try.

Nice one, Microsoft.

Related posts:

New ecto for Windows released

Word 2007 supports blogging

Blog editors: An opportunity awaits

[Post-publish edit] It published fine. But, with a major problem – the date and time were wrong. Not just wrong, wildly wrong, as in November 30, 1999 at 2:00am. This is the exact same issue I noticed with the blogging tool in Word 2007 beta. Plus, it didn’t carry-through trackback URLs.

What a pity. This is a show-stopper until it’s fixed.

[Update @ 14:25] This date/time issue seems to be specific to WordPress – I was able to successfully publish a post to my Live Spaces blog with the correct date/time setting.

[Update @ 17:20] Successful post to my blog. So it seems to be something with the date/time settings here in this blog. Help request filed at WordPress Support.

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Neville Hobson is the author of the popular blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

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