Open Source Forked Version of Windows Live Writer Released
With Microsoft seemingly abandoning its blogging tool, Windows Live Writer, it’s good to see renewed interest in keeping it going via the developer community.
When Microsoft launched the Windows Live wave of services many years ago, the company focused on providing an end-to-end experience for users to share and express themselves. One such component was the Windows Live Writer (WLW) blogging tool which focused on making it easy to connect to popular content management systems such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, and others. With each revision of the Windows Live Essentials suite, Windows Live Writer kept falling behind but was technically still supported. The last version released was Windows Live Writer 2012.
With services such as WordPress offering easy-to-use online editors and integration with desktop word processors such as Microsoft Word, Windows Live Writer continues to lack the development and updates that made it the go-to tool for preparing elegantly prepared blog posts featuring rich tools for adding media and layout of text. Thankfully, a group of third-party volunteers saw the benefits of Writer and decided to pick up where Microsoft left off.
Open Live Writer
Here’s how the team of Open Live Writer describe the app:
If you’re willing to put up with some bugs, then join us in this brave new world, you can download Open Live Writer from http://www.openlivewriter.org. We’re calling today’s release version 0.5.
If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of instability and feature loss, then this should be an exciting opportunity to test out this new version which starts at 0.5:
The team continues: Here’s some of the added features, the removed features, the stuff that doesn’t work, and our plans for the future:
- REMOVED: Spell Checking. The implementation was super old and used a 3rd party spell checker we didn’t have a license to include an open source release. Going forward we will add Spell Check using the built-in spell checker that was added in Windows 8. Open Live Writer on Windows 7 probably won’t have spell check.
- REMOVED: The Blog This API. It was a plugin to Internet Explorer and Firefox and was a mess of old COM stuff.
- REMOVED: The “Albums” feature. It uploaded photos to OneDrive but depended on a library that was packaged with Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger and we couldn’t easily get permission to distribute it in an open source project.
- ADDING VERY SOON: Google runs the excellent Blogger blog service. We’ve worked with the Blogger Team within Google on this project, and they’ve been kind enough to keep an older authentication endpoint running for many months while we work on Open Live Writer. Soon, Google and Blogger will finally shut down this older authentication system. Blogger will use the more modern OAuth 2 and Open Live Writer will be updated to support OAuth 2. Windows Live Writer will never support this new OAuth 2 authentication system, so if you use Blogger, you’ll need to use Open Live Writer.
- BROKEN/KNOWN ISSUES: We are actively working on supporting Plugins. We have an plan in place and we are looking for your feedback on the most popular plugins that you want brought over from the Windows Live Writer ecosystem.
Our roadmap for the future is published here on GitHub.
This is, of course, a back to square one release. I remember the days when I used the service with my personal blog on the now dead MSN Spaces, there were moments of frustration getting it to publish. It eventually got better. This project is purely voluntary work so, it will take some time to get it back on the road stability, support, and feature releases.
But with Microsoft seemingly giving up on its popular blogging tool it’s good to see the renewed interest in keeping it going.
Of course, you can always use Microsoft Word to post to your blogs, but it’s not quite the same if you’ve been using WLW for years.
If you’re a blogger and interested in checking it out, you can Download Open Live Writer here.
Awesome news to see some DEV”s picking up the torch for what used to be the best blogging tool out there. Now if only they woudl fork it for Mac also. :)
I certainly was a devout user of WLW until I started having too many issues with it.
Now, I just use Word 2016 and it works great and provides more powerful features. Plus it’s one less thing to have to install.
I will check out OLW somewhere down the line after it’s updated and more stable. Right now, though, Word works, and I don’t have time for bugs right now.
Andre Da Costa
I loved it myself, used it with MSN Spaces even after they migrated to WordPress. Setup it with my personal blog and its been working great so far, lacks some functions like spell checker which is important if you are going to use it on a professional blog.
Windows Live Writer was (is) the best enhanced and most valuable tool for WordPress. However, I still can’t not understand why it was discontinued. Security is not really the reason cause I have used WLF since it was released for the first time and have never had any issue using it. Unfortunately a couple of days ago my server provider migrated servers using cPanel 100.0 (build 11), Apache 2.4.52 and WLW stopped working. All efforts provider’s support and I did was useless.
I only wish to know why WLW was discontinued and why so far nobody is able to create a similar application and plugins. As a matter of fact the current WP editor is just crap.