Live Writer

I spent much of Thursday with the charming Andy Piper (whose blog you should all be reading). I’m very glad I did. Not only did he help me out by sitting in on a customer presentation (chipping in some useful comments and insights) he also gave me a demo of both Mugshot and Windows Live Writer.

Now, I must say I’m not entirely convinced by Live Writer yet, but I’m trying it out for this post. Surreal self-referential image coming up…

On the plus side:

  • The plugin list is pretty interesting, and suggests there is an active community developing behind the tool.
  • The HTML it generates is pretty good.
  • I like the offline editing, spellcheck and preview features.
  • Integration with WordPress (and many others) is deep. I can pick from my category list, upload an image to my blog and embed it in the psst, preview what the post will look like in my blog, and do all of that while offline (as I am now, on a train, and later on a plane).

On the downside:

  • It continues the series of meaningless “Windows Live” product names. Live Local? Live Writer? Please.
  • Although the dialogue box to add a hyperlink handily offers URL history (theoretically very nice and would save me having to copy and paste from a browser), it only works for URLs I’ve visited in IE, which I never use.
  • Autosave is not on by default. Minor niggle, but it would sort of make sense for that to be on out of the box, wouldn’t it?
  • While the image upload is nice, I’d rather not have them hanging off some /WindowsLiveWriter/LiveWriter_[foo] directory of wp-content. Perhaps that’s tweakable?

The downsides are pretty flimsy really. I shall probably end up using it, until something better comes along. It’s already more pleasing than direct online blogging. Thanks for the tip Andy.

5 replies on “Live Writer”

  1. I’m pretty impressed with it, too. To address some of the downsides (barely believing I’m an apologist for a Microsoft product!):

    I don’t think we can really expect them to integrate with e.g. Firefox bookmarks history, so the IE integration is no surprise. There is a Firefox “blog this in writer” plugin, though.

    I was pretty sure that autosave *was* on by default… at least, I don’t remember changing that option.

    The branding stuff is just blah, really – Windows Live seems to be the equivalent of Google’s permanent-beta offerings.

    The image upload thing – I doubt you can expect that to be tweakable, they seem to be going for the KISS option and limiting the configurability. It doesn’t bother me too much, but I guess it could upset some people.

    Funky image ;-)

  2. Hey Ro, I really enjoy using Live Writer too! I’m not sure what the “Live” means… and “Writer” is kinda generic. Originally, I thought they should call it “Windows Blog Processor”, haha — but then I learned their vision goes beyond just blogging. I also wish there was a tabbed view (gets too cluttered with all those windows), and that it had a more structured way of sorting and retrieving previous documents.

    It’s REALLY nice how it can copy your blog’s aesthetic via CSS — nice self-referential image, reminds me of one of those “infinity mirrors”.

    Looks like there’s some bugs with WordPress, including: if you try to set a post to publish in the future, it will never show up, and instead must be scrapped (from the WP admin interface) and posted from scratch. I’m pleased it handles multi-categories well, tho.

    I’m also looking forward to more plugins!

    CONTEXT: I previously blogged about it here @

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