Windows Live Writer – Powerful Desktop Based Weblog Client

Tools, Windows

The WYSIWYG editor in worpdress is one of feature that is used most by any user using wordpress to host the website. However this builtin editor is pretty slow and to write/publish every post, you need to login to the administration console.

Desktop based weblog clients are a good alternative and these clients help you in quickly posting content and also modifying the content.

I transitioned through these applications:

1. Initially I used the builtin editor of WordPress. I found it very slow and it was painful especially when I had to make some corrections (Spelling mistakes etc). If you use the rich editor in wordpress, it does take a lot of time to display the content (One reason is also because it generates a preview while opening the post)

2. When I attended the BarCamp Bangalore, I found out from Chris that there is a browser being developed called Flock. This was a nice little browser built on Firefox and it had inbuilt support for Blogging. It also had integration with Digg and Flickr. The browser was still in beta and there were few problems in the WYSIWYG editor. Also I was not ready to use multiple browsers and I wanted to stick with Firefox 🙂

3. Later while loafing around in Technorati, I found Qumana. It was a easy to use desktop based blog editor and its features included easy text formatting, image insertion, technorati tagging, and advertising insertion with Q-Ads. I used this tool for quite some time, but image insertion and aligning of images was a pain in Qumana.

4. Few months later, Microsoft released the beta version of Office 2007. Word 2007 had an inbuilt feature for blogging. I stuck to using this as my primary tool to create posts. It had all the nice features of Word like As you type Spell checking, easier text formatting etc. On the downside, inserting images from web was not supported. However you could insert images and ask word to upload it to a specific path.

Few days back, beta version of Windows Live Writer was released. Unlike Windows Live Mail I am very impressed by this application. (In fact I am writing this post using this application)

Features

Other than Windows Live Spaces, the Writer integrates with other weblogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress (and many others). Unlike in Word 2007, you don’t need to enter the XML RPC settings manually, the application automatically detects all the setting when you enter the blog URL.

There are other standard features related to Text Editing. (Format Text/Align Text/Insert Links/Spell Check etc)

You can preview the post in 4 modes

  • Normal
  • Web Layout
  • Web Preview
  • HTML Code

I liked the Web Layout/Web Preview feature very much, it shows how the post will look with your current blog design/template. If you change the template, you can ask Writer to update the Weblog Style via View -> Update WebLog Style

Inserting Images into the post is a treat with Writer. You can insert images from a file on your local drive or insert the image from Web (i.e. Flickr/Photo Bucket etc). Once the image is inserted, you can control the Image properties from the Sidebar.

You can control the following aspects of the image

  • Layout – Text Wrapping, Border and Margins of the Image (For e.g. I could control the left margin of the image below easily through the custom margins option)

  • Image – Image Size, Linking the image to a bigger image (Will work like a charm with Lightbox-JS 🙂 )

  • Image Effects – Watermark,Black and White etc.

There are host of other features such as Multiple Blog Management, Post Management (Drafts etc), Font Management, Publishing options (Publish as Draft) etc.You can also insert maps using Windows Live Local. The Writer also has an SDK using which developers can develop plugins which add more functionality to the application.

Flickr4Writer is a one such plugin for Windows Live Writer that enables a user to browse a Flickr user repository and insert an image from Flickr into a Writer post.

All in all, a pretty powerful desktop based weblog client and even though its in Beta, it has all the necessary features to ease the life of a frequent blogger 🙂

Download Windows Live Writer (Size: 4.74MB)

P.S. Don’t forget to check the Preference page, you can configure few options such as Ping Servers and Proxies.

7 comments… add one

  • Jon Husband Aug 18, 2006

    You may be happy to know (tho’ it sounds like you’ll stick with LW) that the image handling and manipulation in Qumana is now vastly improved. We are releasing a new version today or tomorrow with a wide range of bug fixes, usability and enhancements and some important new features.

    just FYI ….

  • venukb Aug 18, 2006

    Hi Jon,
    Qumana was the only other editor that I liked very much. Other than the image handling, the UI was sluggish (probably because of Java, I’m not sure) and many a times it used to go to a hang state and I had to use Task manager to kill the process. (Again this didn’t happen very often). I would definitely checkout the new version 🙂

  • me Aug 20, 2006

    cool

  • PreobrajenskySuk3a3 May 26, 2007

    Hallo, but colleague, you are sure?
    prof.Preobrajensky.
    lonely

    Good luck!

  • Sherm Cohen Apr 20, 2008

    I’m loving this program, and it has made blog posting about a million times more enjoyable. I don’t know why more people don’t know about this. It also makes it so easy to add alt descriptions to images…Blogger’s editor doesn’t even let you do it. I use it to post to Blogger and to my Wordpress blog…it switches in a snap. If you’re struggling with uploading or formatting or tagging, you gotta try this.

  • Interesting. This sort of software would be useful for a facilities management consultancy.

  • Deborah Oct 1, 2010

    Loved your article and found it very helpful and informative. I looked into adding the Windows Live Writer to help me with my blogging, but decided it wasn’t for me. I use Windows XP and at $300 to upgrade to Windows 7 (for 1 computer, no less. I’d have to pay another $200+ for a license to use on both my desktop & laptop), I’m not about to ‘upgrade’ anytime soon. The problem with the WLW for XP weren’t that major, but were dealbreakers for me. First, it doesn’t have the Video capabilities (only Vista/7) and in order to download it, I have to download the entire ‘Windows Live Essentials’ package, which I do not want! Included were bing (which I absolutely HATE with every fiber of my being), and other programs I will never use. Second, and perhaps most important to me personally, in order to download the ‘essentials’, I first have to agree that I will allow Microsoft update to install some updates automatically (without being given the option to not install them) and that I REFUSE to do under any circumstance. I go through every update thoroughly before I ever install anything, including Windows/Microsoft updates, to decide whether or not I want to install them. Anytime I am not given that option, I have to wonder why.

    Just my 2 cents worth. By the way, I decided to go with thingamablog instead, since it has most of the same features, but I’m able to use the video function on it and it works perfectly with my trusty Windows XP.

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