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By - Darren Straight

Windows Live Writer Beta is Live!

Following the recent speculation of Windows Live Writer from Gary at menori and then his later post about Windows Live Writer really exsisting because he had confirmation from his source Beau from Inside-Live who also told Logix from MSGworld some information

I can now confirm that Windows Live Writer really does exsist and that I had been testing Windows Live Writer before it’s release today thanks to kris Hoet from Microsoft who contacted me earlier last week.

But what is Windows live Wrtiter I here you say, well let me explain with some help from the Windows Live Writer Team Blog:

Windows Live Writer is a desktop application that makes it easier to compose compelling blog posts using Windows Live Spaces or your current blog service.

Blogging has turned the web into a two-way communications medium. The Windows Live Writer Teams goal in creating Writer is to help make blogging more powerful, intuitive, and fun for everyone.

And because the Windows Live Writer Team are so excited about getting feedback from people on how to make it better they would love for you to download it and let them know what you think about it.

Windows Live Writer has lots of features which they hope make for a better blogging experience. Some of the ones they are most excited about include:

WYSIWYG Authoring
The first thing to notice about Writer is that it enables true WYSIWYG blog authoring. You can now author your post and know exactly what it will look like before you publish it. Writer knows the styles of your blog such as headings, fonts, colors, background images, paragraph spacing, margins and block quotes and enables you to edit your post using these styles.

Writer also includes other views including HTML source-code editing and web preview mode.

Now you don’t have to waste time going through the process of publishing, refreshing, previewing, and tweaking your post to get it looking the way you want. It’s all right there in Writer as you create your post.

Photo Publishing
Writer makes inserting, customizing, and uploading photos to your blog a snap. You can insert a photo into your post by browsing image thumbnails through the Insert Picture dialog or by copying and pasting from a web page.

Once you’ve inserted the picture, Writer provides contextual editing tools to modify size, text wrapping, borders, and apply graphic effects. Writer also allows you specify a smaller thumbnail to that will link to a larger image for detailed viewing.

Photos can be either uploaded directly to your weblog provider (if they support the newMediaObject API) or to an FTP server.

Map Publishing
Whether you are blogging about a vacation or a political conflict, maps are a great help in engaging the imagination of you readers. You can do this using Writer’s ability to insert a Windows Live Local map directly into a post.

Even better is that the map can be customized directly within Writer – including changing the view to show road, aerial or bird’s eye detail and by adding pushpins (including custom links and/or photos for each pushpin).

When readers click on the map they get a larger view on the Windows Live Local site.

Writer SDK
Already thinking of other cool stuff you want to insert into your blog? Good!

The Windows Live Writer SDK enables developers to extend the capabilities of Writer to publish additional content types. Examples of content types that can be added include:

  1. Images from online photo publishing sites
  2. Embedded video or audio players
  3. Product thumbnails and/or links from e-commerce sites
  4. Tags from tagging services

Writer is a great client for Windows Live Spaces but also works with other weblogs including Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress (and many others).

Writer supports RSD (Really Simple Discoverability), the Metaweblog API, and the Movable Type API.

But don’t be disapointed if it dosent work on your blog service quite yet because the Windows Live Writer Team would love to have it working well with every blogging service out there. So if you can’t get Writer to work with your blog, let them know.

So there you have it, now why don’t you go ahead and download if you havent already.

Here’s some of my Suggestions for improvment to Windows Live Writer:

  • When starting a New Post by going to “File > New Post” or pressing “Ctrl + N” it should open up a new post in the same window as a Tab and not as a new window.
  • You should be able to highlight text or select and image and right click and select “Make Link” as it would sometimes be faster than clicking the “Insert Link” button on the toolbar.
  • You can copy/cut Blog Title text by right clicking and saying “Copy/Cut” or by pressing “Ctrl + C / X” so you should also be able to paste text into the Blog Titles of your post by either right clicking and saying “Paste” or by pressing “Ctrl + V” as right now you can’t!
  • When inserting a Watermark overlay under the effects section you have various ways of positioning the watermark (i.e. Bottom Left, Bottom Right, Centered, Top Left, Top Right) but why not a Centered Diagonally option or better yet more customsation over it though the Centered Diagonally option would do just fine as a lot of people have their watermarks diagonally placed.
  • Also I have found that if you use wordpress and you save a draft copy of you blog post online, you can’t open it from Windows Live Writer because it’s date/time is still 0, however if you save a draft copy from Windows Live Writer instead of online you can open it because the date/time stamp is added thus allowing Windows Live Writer to detect it when scanning for posts that you can open up.

And hey dont Liveside has an exclusive interview with J.J. Allaire, the founder of Onfolio and Architect of the Writer team.

6 thoughts on “Windows Live Writer Beta is Live!

Eric Cheung August 14, 2006 at 1:28 am

Windows Live Writer is actually quite a nice piece of software. The UI really user-friendly… It actually reminds me OnFolio user-interface. I hope in future release has some sort of integration between Windows Live Toolbar, then that will be great 😀

Beau August 14, 2006 at 3:43 am

Hey Eric, there’s a ‘Blog It’ button on my Live Toolbar…..

Write Windows Live at samguzman[dot]com August 14, 2006 at 7:06 am

[…] Windows Live Writer is here. It is Windows latest desktop application that aims at better blogging. It integrates with Windows Live Spaces and apparently has a clean and user friendly interface. I am not going to write an in depth review because (shhh) I haven’t downloaded it. I don’t intend to either since I don’t use Windows Live Spaces for blogging. I assume that it is similar to performancing for firefox or the blogging tool integrated with flock. If you want a more in depth look than jut my ramblings, you can read this, or get info from the source here. Filed under: Uncategorized      […]

Darren Straight August 14, 2006 at 9:35 am

Yes Beau but that’s only for using MSN/Windows Live Spaces! 😉

Kris Hoet August 14, 2006 at 11:35 am

Hey Darren and Eric, by installing Windows Live Writer it will indeed add a new ‘blog it’ button to your Windows Live Toolbar that is linked to Writer. It will open up Writer and get titel for your post together with the link of course.

Darren Straight August 14, 2006 at 11:50 am

Thanks Kris, it’s weird how I never saw that before until now, I’m sure it wasent there before, very weird!

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