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 post 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 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.
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.