No Love for Live Writer
Microsoft released Windows Live Writer back in 2008 and to say it wasn’t a hit off the bat would be overselling things a little. They acquired Onfolio Writer and made a few changes to their product and released it as Live Writer. It is a stable platform with which to compose blogs on, it is free which is a massive selling point and it was with MOST blogs, certainly the more popular ones like WordPress, Blogger and others if they support a specific RSD.
Microsoft have another great blogging tool, which I am unsure how many people know that Microsoft Word would connect and publish to blogging sites. The problem with Word is, it isn’t just for blogging, it is a fully featured word processing application that can do so much more than any blog can support and specifically when you select New Blog Post the ribbon changes to provide only a subset of what the full Word supports and is missing some very minor things, I am sure that this is the direction Microsoft is trying to go, get people to BUY Word so they can continue using a rich editor to use.
There are a couple of things that Word as a blogging software doesn’t support that Live Writer does, a publish date, but I am sketchy as to what of these features is supported by the blogs, perhaps in their GUI but from Live Writer am unsure. But Plugins is another big item.
Word has VBA (fully feature to almost all degrees Visual Basic behind) but to what extent does this enable extension, the document with the code will need to be the template that is used for each blog post and dependant on the PC, VBA code might be disabled due to security reasons (SOEs in corporate networks). But Live Writer provided the Live.Writer.Api assemblies and enabled a way to create Plug-ins.
I have started writing some plug-ins for Live Writer.
Audio Plug-in (for WordPress, it might work for others but I have not tested it on other blogs). Which provides a link to add MP3s or other support types as a player into the post. Handy for podcasts.
Date Plug-in, which is as simple as that, it is like the Microsoft Word Insert Date function, which inserts the date as text in the format selected.
In development I have the Reference Plugin which enables searching for words and their various definitions. Can take a selected word on the page or type a word in. This is still in development at this stage and when I get the time I will expand on it.
There is also a Table of Contents plug-in that someone has asked me to write, but it is taking me a LOT longer than I thought as it is a two stage plug-in. Where you add your headings as your contents (so far only one level) and then another plug-in will take that data and insert a header that will include the links to the bookmarks in the page. I have done a successful post with one problem, the link that I am using, which is a simple #Bookmark type designator for the anchor tag. Which caused it to do funny things upon resolution when being posted.
I do not have a screenshot of it at this stage.
So, what is Microsoft going to do with Live Writer. We have seen the Messenger functionality go to Skype. There are a few more items that do not have a viable alternative at this stage in other product made by Microsoft but Live Writer has Microsoft Word, will they phase this great editor out to make way for a push for us lovers of the product to use Word.
There is a blog from a fellow fan of Live Writer LEHSYS Side Notes. Check it out useful information. So I will also put out a call to other Live Writer fans out there. If there is a plug-in that you think might be useful that may help extend the functionality of the application which will make your life and the lives of other user better while using the application, then please let me know and I will see fi I can work on it. I am working on the Reference and Table of Contents plug-in with an idea for a publishing one (need to know a little more about running the processes in the background and what further extensibility I can do to the application).
I hope we can make this application better even though MS might not be giving it any love, perhaps we can show them that the community still loves it, certainly enough for it to be maintained.
NOTE: Microsoft released an update to Live Writer not that long ago, May 14, 2013. Check out the MS13-045, which has information on this. What it shows is it is still on their support list, even through it isn’t getting functionality updates.