Windows Live Writer Wrocks

Sunday, 7 October 2007, 9:56 pm
Tags: , ,

Made with MarsEdit I usually use Daniel Jalkut’s MarsEdit on the Mac to edit my posts here. It’s a sweet little program that works with Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, and most other blogging platforms. It allows offline editing, and greatly simplifies posting images from Flickr and so forth. I used Ecto for this for years – it’s still around and works on Windows and Mac – but MarsEdit 2 is my tool of choice on the Mac.

A number of friends have been raving to me about the free Windows Live Writer (WLW), though, so I decided to try it this evening. Wow!

For all the things Microsoft has done wrong (cough Vista cough), Windows Live Writer really is done right. It’s designed for Microsoft’s own blogging platforms, of course, but it also supports WordPress, Blogger, and the usual suspects.

Sample Map

WLW gives you a live preview based on the actual blog style sheets – impressive – supports embedding of pictures, video, maps, and more, and best of all supports plug-ins so other blogger/programmers can extend it (with Flickr support, for example).

The picture embedding interface is an example of how rich this program is. It doesn’t just upload an image and insert the relevant HTML, it has built-in picture editing tools, too. You can add a drop shadow or photo frame, resize, rotate, and adjust contrast. Or add special effects like sepia toning, watermarks, and more. All without leaving WLW.

There are some negatives. WLW embeds a lot of HTML into posts, which means they’re harder to read if you edit them with WordPress’s own editor. And some of the layout defaults aren’t great (notice the left justified “Sample Map” above). But considering this is only beta 3 there aren’t many rough edges.

I’ve always been really impressed by the Windows Live tools – these guys may be doing the best programming at Microsoft. At least there’s some consolation for those of you stuck working in Windows, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Daniel doesn’t add some of these features to Mars Edit, too, which will make Mac folks a little less envious.

Comments

Loading Facebook Comments ...

40 Responses to “Windows Live Writer Wrocks”

  1. Neer on October 7th, 2007 10:13 pm

    “At least there’s some consolation for those of you stuck working in Windows, ”

    98% of us out there are on Windows and aren’t stuck in it. This kind of condescension is what sometimes makes me cringe. I’m your biggest fan, just lighten up on Microsoft. They’re a corporation just like your beloved Apple….

  2. microsoft » Windows Live Writer Wrocks on October 7th, 2007 10:22 pm

    […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt [ Made with MarsEdit] I usually use Daniel Jalkut’s MarsEdit on the Mac to edit my posts here … Microsoft has done wrong (cough Vista cough), Windows Live Writer really is done right. It’s designed for Microsoft’s own blogging platforms, of course, but it also supports WordPress, Blogger […]

  3. Daniel Jalkut on October 7th, 2007 10:30 pm

    Windows Live Writer is awesome. It’s great that Microsoft is pushing the blog client market so strongly. Imagine if they were working/investing so diligently in the podcast arena?

    What’s especially great about WLW is Joe Cheng, the main developer I know of who works on it, is a really nice guy and a pleasure to work with as part of the larger community of desktop client developers.

    Needless to say there are things MarsEdit can learn from other apps, and WLW is definitely one of the most interesting client apps being developed on Windows. Who knows for sure how everything will evolve over the coming years, but I think Microsoft’s commitment helps validate desktop blogging as an important technology for all platforms.

    Daniel

  4. Leo on October 7th, 2007 10:33 pm

    Well don’t worry, Daniel – Mac+MarsEdit is still a heckuva a lot better than Windows+WLW. And that’s not condescension, that’s a fact!

  5. Daniel Jalkut on October 7th, 2007 10:50 pm

    Aw shucks, thanks Leo :)

  6. John on October 8th, 2007 12:53 am

    Im not stuck on Vista, I have a Macbook and use Vista way more. Apple Prices cough (ripoff), sometimes your balance and views are blinded by a fanboy attachment to mac. Great machines, but there is a reason 98% prefer windows

  7. Jason Cartwright on October 8th, 2007 1:05 am

    I’ve been using WLW for ages now, this latest version is even better, but if you, like me have a number of blogs, then this handles multiple accounts really well.

  8. Amit Agarwal on October 8th, 2007 1:14 am

    Leo – the most interesting part of Windows Live Writer is support for external plugins – you can include Flickr photos, website screen captures, videos and more without leaving the editor.

    And like the WordPress bookmarklets, there are extensions of IE / Firefox to blog quickly.

  9. Sascha on October 8th, 2007 2:25 am

    Leo, I told you that you’d like it :)

    Anywho, I was speaking to one of the developers of Microsoft Skydrive at the FOWA expo and he said that they will be upping the storage. He asked me how much I would personally prefer and I said “probably about 5 or 10gb” and he said they’ll be doing quite a bit more than that very soon, so that may be something to take a look at.

    I use WLW on my blog, and you can tell the newer posts (the ones up from the Lucozade and Beechams packets) look much better :)

  10. drew on October 8th, 2007 3:58 am

    I completely agree, I started using it after you mentioned it on a podcast a few weeks ago. I actually downloaded all three, the new messenger, writer and live mail. The first three products from Microsoft I’m actually enjoying in quite some time.

  11. techdribble on October 8th, 2007 5:02 am

    “At least there’s some consolation for those of you stuck working in Windows”
    “Well don’t worry, Daniel – Mac+MarsEdit is still a heckuva a lot better than Windows+WLW. And that’s not condescension, that’s a fact!”

    Its this sort of crap from Apple fanboys that reinforces my view that Apple fanboys are the most arrogant, blinkered people in the world.

    I use Vista now on both my laptop and PC(self built ) without any issues. I am not stuck on windows I use it because its my choice and I am not stuck using one manufacturers hardware and I have a wider choice of possible specs and manufacturers to choose from. I have had a Mac Mini for over 12 months and nothing I found on OSX made me want to switch in fact I haven’t switched with thing on for a while now.

  12. Maurice on October 8th, 2007 5:35 am

    forst your layout looks like it got munged on ie6

    WLW is great i did a couple of of line posts on the train and got asked if i was a journalist by the guy sitting next to me on the train.

  13. Ikon on October 8th, 2007 5:50 am

    Maybe it’s coincidence, but this is the first time I’ve read one your posts, Leo, that didn’t format properly.

    I don’t know if it’s possible to paste an image into a comment here, so I won’t try, but everything on the page is shifted to the right. I would say about 40% is still on the right edge of the white ‘page’. The rest is on top of a gray background.

    There’s nothing malformed about the content itself. Everything’s in its place, even the pictures. It just looks as though all the content was created on a sheet of clear plastic and that sheet has been placed down on a white layout board, but shifted to the right.

    Ironicly, I’m using IE7. I don’t have any other browsers installed so I can’t check it against them.

  14. Ikon on October 8th, 2007 6:03 am

    OK, a quick followup. I opened another IE7 window to see if it would also be misaligned — it is.

    However, I noticed something else: I can alter the placement of the content by resizing the IE7 window.

    I have two 19″ monitors. I found, if I stretch the IE window across both screens, I can get all the content onto the gray background. Conversly, as I make the window narrower, more and more of the content moves onto the white ‘page’.

    It’s almost as if the whole of the content (not individual paragraphs) is somehow right justified. That’s the best I can describe it.

    Cheers.

  15. WirelessGuru on October 8th, 2007 7:45 am

    Leo, I’m also experiencing the right-justified problem with your blog – but just with IE7. With Firefox it’s left-justified. From what I recall your blog used to be center-justified, completely on a white middle with grey sides. It’s not so bad if I proportion my window to a 4:3 ratio – but since I’m using a widescreen monitor, 16:9 leaves a majority of the text on the right-sided grey area of the page.

    I think I hold off trying WLW until you get this figured out. Thanks for being a beta tester :D

  16. Tom Reeves on October 8th, 2007 8:21 am

    I’m just trying to set up my blog (first one). I’m on a Mac. I installed MAMP locally just a couple of days again, and then put WordPress into that environment. I have MarsEdit post to my local blog. I can work on the fomatting, and the posting, and the look and feel all locally. Then I just upload it to my real blog out in the wild, wild, world. This set up is so awesome. Now if I only knew what I was doing.

    Is it ok if I drop some mention of my blog later on once I get it started?

  17. Leo on October 8th, 2007 9:14 am

    Sure, Tom.

    RE: IE – drat. I had it working earlier Sunday. There was a minor rendering issue with font sizes that I fixed. Then I made a really tiny modification to the background and KABLAM. I know what’s wrong and I’ll fix it in a minute.

    RE: Fanboydom. Seems to me a fanboy is someone who gets their knickers in a knot if someone says something even slightly negative about “their” operating system.

    I was known as a Mac basher until OS X came out because OS 9 was an antiquated, barely usable operating system. Apple had the good sense to abandon it completely.

    At this point Windows is really suffering from Microsoft’s unwillingness to leave behind its legacy users. It’s just no longer a world class operating system, no matter what “98%” of users think. (You do know that at least half of those 98% have no choice because that’s what work provides them with, right?)

    In fact, the point of this post was that Microsoft is doing some really really good stuff. It’s just not Windows.

  18. Ikon on October 8th, 2007 9:26 am

    Well, the whole background is now white, but it’s still ‘right justified’. On a single 19″ monitor the shadow from the right edge of the page runs down vertically through the comments.

    ps. I only mention it ’cause I thought you’d want to know.

  19. Kevin Krewell on October 8th, 2007 9:53 am

    Hey Leo,

    I was checking out the comments section on “New Tech Guy Stations” and all the text in the center column (main text and comments) are shifted to the left and clipped. I’m running IE6 at work. Thought I’d post it here as the discussion has drifted to formating of LoL.

    BTW, I’ll try out Live Writer for my Blogger account. Thanks for the tip.

  20. Leo on October 8th, 2007 9:58 am

    Yeah I was fussing with the CSS to get the background to float with the content – it works for me now in Firefox and IE7. What’s it look like in IE6?

    Here’s the CSS I’m using (based on the original Cutline template – I just added the background image stuff):

    body {
    background: #ccc;
    text-align: center;
    background-color: #BEC8CC;
    color: black;
    font: 62.5% Georgia, “Times New Roman”, Times, serif;
    background: #BEC8CC url(images/lolbg.jpg) repeat-y center 0;
    }

  21. Sascha on October 8th, 2007 10:33 am

    Hmmm, I couldn’t say up to date, but about 3 hours ago in college it still looked very strange in IE6 (on the college machines they use IE6)… keep trying, unless someone else has something else to add?

    I don’t have any IE6 systems around anymore so I couldn’t say sorry, I’ll check again for you tomorrow.

  22. Sascha on October 8th, 2007 10:34 am

    Looks just fine in IE7 btw

  23. Ikon on October 8th, 2007 11:47 am

    Ditto, good for me in IE7.

  24. Kevin Krewell on October 8th, 2007 1:21 pm

    Look s OK now for me on IE6.

  25. Tim on October 8th, 2007 2:50 pm

    Definitely my favorite Microsoft app at the moment.

    I like the fact that the Windows Live Installer puts it on your system along with Live Mail and Live Messenger. It finally feels like there is some cohesion across the Windows Live desktop applications.

  26. Leo on October 8th, 2007 3:37 pm

    Phew. Sorry about the big type. For some reason IE renders type larger than Firefox. It was trying to fix that that caused all the other problems! CSS is fun!

  27. Wardy on October 8th, 2007 4:46 pm

    Leo – Is there a free tool that does this?

  28. Techdribble on October 8th, 2007 5:11 pm

    “At this point Windows is really suffering from Microsoft’s unwillingness to leave behind its legacy users.”

    That is certainly true however Microsoft has to deal with a few more users that Apple has to so removing backward compatibility would be major issue for them. They should however start providing a means for users who wish drop the backward compatibility and maybe Vista 64 bit is that way.

    I would love to see Apple open up OSX to run on any intel/amd PC but I dont think they will as because I suspect they make more money from the hardware side of the business. Also if the opened OSX up they would have to deal with the issues Microsoft has to deal with ie a large varieties of different hardware.

    Anyway enough of that yes Live Writer does rock(to come back on topic for a second). Microsoft do a lot of good stuff that tends to get buried while they promote some of the crap they produce. They could certainly learn from Apple as far as marketing goes.

    Interesting comments on Paul Thurrott’s Internet Nexus blog regarding what was a well done Apple article.

  29. James Mowery on October 8th, 2007 8:14 pm

    Hell yeah Leo, Windows Live Writer is great. I actually wrote a review of it for Tech In Demand.

    It is pretty good, and I use it for all my articles as well.

  30. Mitchel Tyrell on October 8th, 2007 11:05 pm

    If you are interested in testing out your site with IE6, Microsoft offers a free virtual machine image with XPSP2 and IE6.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2007/08/20/ie6-and-ie7-vpc-refresh-available.aspx

    Btw, I’m not sure problems you are having with Vista. Mine has been working fine, have you already detailed issues you have personally encountered?

  31. John B on October 8th, 2007 11:39 pm

    “At this point Windows is really suffering from Microsoft’s unwillingness to leave behind its legacy users. It’s just no longer a world class operating system, no matter what “98%” of users think. (You do know that at least half of those 98% have no choice because that’s what work provides them with, right?)

    In fact, the point of this post was that Microsoft is doing some really really good stuff. It’s just not Windows.”

    I really believe your bias towards Macs shows time after time. Vista works just fine, and 100% of home users really have a choice, and the high 90s still pick windows. Macs are great for certain things like sound, but no matter what you think ,it is the world class system, despite the cries of a few hardcore fans. It reminds me of the smallest group of people making the biggest stink just because they are loud. It still means nothing when it comes down to user facts. I live in Canada, we sometimes watch the show, but found again it lacks in fair comparision due to the bias towards Apple Products. I use a Mac at work, good machine, but my lack of bias makes me see the good side of both, not the blanket statement that one is no good, which is of course false. Your overwhelming bias towards Mac and you have a fair right, hurts your show as despite your claims, over 90% over user still use Windows, by choice.

    I have Vista at home, not a single problem with it. Its quite stable and I leave it running for days. Much like the Macbook at work, both have their good points, something you fail to mention.

  32. Marc N. on October 9th, 2007 2:18 pm

    Where have you been Leo?
    This has been out for 4 months that I remember (it was beta then). I like it, but I still end up posting from the wordpress admin panel.

  33. Marc N. on October 9th, 2007 3:15 pm

    Oh, and to both the Mac and Apple fanboys, chill.
    Both operating systems have good and bad points. But now is both not the time and the place to argue.

    @Tim: I actually don’t like that feature. All I wanted was the program and ended up waiting forever for it to “detect” whether I had messenger or not (which I do). Plus I don’t use Hotmail so the mail application was pointless.

  34. John B on October 9th, 2007 9:55 pm

    True enough Marc, its probably not the right place to debate, I just dont agree with blanket statements like Windows is not good. Both companies have their good points when it comes to hardware and software. My Mac at work is just as annoying as any Windows system at times. I think a tech expert should really give a fair opinion of each product, and as much as I enjoy Leo, I find sometimes the Mac spiel gets to be too much. Vista has been problem free since the start for me, and most of my friends who have the proper systems to run it, have no problems with it. We have a choice at work, and the huge majority still pick Windows like they choose at home. That being said, Leo is right about Windows Live writer, excellent product

  35. Michael Ryan on October 9th, 2007 11:18 pm

    Leo, Leo, Leo, I personally like this program its very useful and the picture editing is a great feature. You know how you can tell this is a great program because cause you Leo complimented something made by Microsoft

  36. Departures » Blog Archive » Blog Editing Software on October 10th, 2007 9:46 pm

    […] I was reading Leo Laporte’s blog post about blog desktop editing software, and he raves about how good Windows Live Writer is, and […]

  37. GV on October 13th, 2007 12:34 pm

    I might have to give this a try…..I’ve been wanting to go to WordPress for a while……….maybe this will be my bridge app….

  38. I Am Trying the Windows Live Writer | The MurDog Blog on October 15th, 2007 12:37 pm

    […] netcast on the TWIT netcast network.  I forgot about it but was reminded when I was reading Leo LaPorte’s blog post about it.  He seems to like it, and it made me […]

  39. Tom Boucher on October 16th, 2007 11:42 pm

    was looking forward to checking it out, unfortunately it requires some kind of update that my corporation hasn’t approved yet, might be IE 7.0, who knows. But unfortunately I can’t install it and check it out.

    MarsEdit is my favorite of what I’ve tried on Win or Mac.

  40. Grazing Press= » Blog Archive » The Advice of Leo! on October 25th, 2007 5:36 pm

    […] his new blog, Leo Laporte, recommends Windows Live Writer for blogging. I just downloaded and installed […]

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!