A simple InfoPath blog editor for .Text – SimpleBlogger


About
SimpleBlogger is an InfoPath based blog client utilizing the simpleblogservice API provided by .Text. Main functionalities are:
  • view current posts;
  • edit existing posts;
  • create new posts;
  • view comments.
 
Feature highlights
In fact, those mostly are benefits provided by InfoPath. SimpleBlogger does very little.
  • Standard editing features found in most Microsoft Office products, but not in most existing blog clients, such as: background speller checker, format painter, undo/redo, insert/draw table, line spacing, etc.
  • Full offline support: imagine writing your blogs on your flight!
  • XHTML compatible: the post content generated by designer are in XHTML.
 
System requirements
[Update 07/27/2004] – Office 2003 SP1 is released.
[Update 07/30/2004] – If you have problem with SP1 install and you had SP1 Preview installed previously, see whether this InfoPath team blog entry could be any help.
 
Intended users
.Text bloggers.
[Update 05/26/2005] – Community Server users, look here.
 
Note: if your blog server is a custom build of .Text, SimpleBlogger may or may not work for you, depending on whether the following assumptions are broken:
Assumption made
Result if broken
RSS feed URL = blog URL + “/rss.aspx”
unable to view/edit existing posts
SimpleBlogService URL = blog URL + “/services/simpleblogservice.asmx”
unable to update existing or publish new posts
SimpleBlogService web service is working as expected and there are no modifications to the APIs
same as above
/rss/channel/item/wfw:comment node contains the post entry id
unable to edit existing posts
/rss/channel/item/wfw:commentRss node points to the post comments RSS feed
unable to view comments
 
Screenshot
Click on the picture to view in full size.
SimpleBlogger screenshot
 
Installation
Download the SimpleBlogger.msi and run it. If you installed SimpleBlogger before, please uninstall it first.
 
Revision history
Form Version
Release Date
Backward Compatible
Changes (thanks to)
(Current)
08/09/2004
Yes
1.0.0.214
08/01/2004
No*
  • fixed some saving problems
  • minor UI cleanup
1.0.0.156
 
07/30/2004
No*
  • removal of validation on username; (G. Andrew Duthie)
  • redesign of post editing;
  • extended schema to allow “managingEditor” elements found in some .Text RSS feeds; (?? and others)
  • improved comments display
  • others…
1.0.0.1
07/20/2004
Yes
  • Added error handling code for form load, minor UI touch
1.0.0.0
07/19/2004
  • Original release
*This means existing file created with old version of SimpleBlogger may not open once the new version is installed. If you have such file with work-in-progress post entries, try to post them using the old version before installing the new version.
 
Usage
Open the InfoPath form template from your install location(default: %ProgramFiles%\InfoPath Form Templates\SimpleBlogger.xsn).
Hint: the above is only necessary if you don’t have a saved form file (.xml) for your blog. You can always save data for your blogs in a form file and open the form file directly later. This is also how you can do offline blogging.
 
Support
This is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. Use of this tool is subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.
 
Known issues/Limitations
1) General blogging related functionalities
Symptom: a) when posting a new entry, you can not specify advanced options that are available for the .Text Web Admin page; b) for existing posts, categories information is not shown, thus can’t be modified.
Cause: SimpleBlogger relies on the simpleblogservice web service API provided by .Text. It can not do anything more than what simpleblogservice web service can do.
Workaround: None
Status: None until simpleblogservice implements those functionalities or another SOAP based web service is provided.
 
2) Posts created or modified in other blog client looks weird in SimpleBlogger
Symptom: this may happen when the html source of the post contains mangled html tag like <A><B></A></B>
Cause: SimpleBlogger performs several simple steps to fix up bad HTML code to make them XHTML compatible. The emphasis here is “compatible”, not “effective”.
Workaround: None
Status: None. Converting HTML to XHTML is too complicate a job for SimpleBlogger to handle it well. As long as you stick to SimpleBlogger, which always generates XHTML compatible post content, this should not be a big concern.
 
3) Inserted pictures are not shown on the web page
Symptom: Pictures inserted using InfoPath built-in “Insert Picture” feature will show up correctly in SimpleBlogger, but not on the web page.
Cause: By design, InfoPath inserts the actual picture in the xml data by encoding it as a base64 string.
Workaround: In source edit mode, locate and modify the “img” tag created by InfoPath or simply insert the by yourself like this <img src=”http://some.website.com/somepicture.jpg” />
Status: I already tried really hard to make this easier but failed. I will try something new later. In the mean time, I would really appreciate if someone discover a way to get the insertion point of the InfoPath Rich text control or text box and share that with me.
 
4) Unable to paste into post content in design mode
Symptom: this may happen if copying from source external to InfoPath, e.g., a web page.
Cause: investigating
Workaround: Paste into Notepad first.
Status: investigating
 
5) Font size shown in the web page may not be the same as shown in the design mode of SimpleBlogger
Symptom: this most likely happens with text inside tables.
Cause: investigating
Workaround: it seems like setting the font size 1 point higher or lower than current font size resolves the problem. Hint: you can use CTRL-] or CTRL-[ shortcut key to increase or decrease font size by 1 point.
Status: investigating
 
That’s all I know of. There definitely are more. Please let me know if you find issues with SimpleBlogger, I’d be happy to investigate as long as I have time.
 
Finally, as always, enjoy blogging!
 
 
 
 
Comments (92)

  1. Adam Hill says:

    AWESOME!!!! Now MS get InfoPath running on the PocketPC 🙂

  2. Girish says:

    I have not able to use this tool. I installed SP1 Preview and installed "simpleblogger". When I attempt to open it in InfoPath, it just chocks and dies. I think some dependency is not satisfied. I dont know what though. 🙁

    Oh, well.

  3. Awesome! I was working on something like this also, but got distracted by my real work…

  4. guowu says:

    Girish,

    Please see the new notes added to the system requirements section. Is that your case?

    Sean,

    🙂 This form is just a prove of concept: I want to show how cool an application InfoPath is. There still is a lot of room available for development so don’t throw yours effort away…

    For example, I targeted only .Text because I don’t have the time to go through those documentations for MetaWebLog, Blogger’s API, XML-RPC, etc.

  5. Girish says:

    Yeah. that is the problem. I have both Visual Studio 2005 and 2003 installed. 🙁 Oh well, i will wait for the SP1 Release I guess.

  6. Unfortunately, SimpleBlogger doesn’t work for me. It won’t validate with spaces in the username, which is perfectly valid for .TEXT. Since my username has spaces in it, SimpleBlogger won’t do it for me. Looks nice, though.

    One other suggestion…the tool should expose the .TEXT APIs that allow you to determine whether a given post is syndicated to the main RSS feed, and whether it is displayed in the aggregated web page listing the MSFT or non-MSFT blogs. Too few people even realize this functionality exists, which leads to a lot of off-topic (i.e. – non-technical) posts, which reduces the utility of the main feeds for readers.

  7. rido says:

    Could you share the source code??

  8. InfoPath ? Blog ???????(InfoPath SP1)

  9. re: Office 2003 SP1 Infopath Upgrade!

  10. Guoqiang Wu says:

    rido, I will consider release the source once the tool is in full shape.

  11. Bob Baker says:

    How can I save my blog URL as the default with the form instead of waiting for it to timeout on the default? Couldn’t you have a config file to read where the desired URL is stored? I tried to design and publish to another XSN file, but it opens with an ’empty form’ error.

    Otherwise a pretty kewl tool. Thanks.

  12. Guoqiang Wu says:

    Bob, there is no need to use a config file for this purpose. You can just change the default blog URL to your blog URL, then save the form file. Next time open the form file(.xml) instead of the form template (.xsn), it is going to load your blog URL automatically.

  13. I can get the categories from my .Text (non customized build of v.95) blog, but it can’t ever connect to my RSS feed nor can it post. My blog is in a subdir ‘/blog/’ and I put that in the URL, but it can’t load or post. Ideas anyone? Made sure I have Office SP1 & InfoPath SP1.

  14. Guoqiang Wu says:

    Andrew, I put http://andrewconnell.com/blog/ in the Blog URL and it loads perfectly fine. Maybe you have a temporary network glitch?

  15. Guoqiang- Wierd… I’ve tried again and again and same deal. I’m wondering if it’s a problem with SP1 install order of opperations. I had Office2003 & SP1.. THEN I installed InfoPath and did an Office UPdate, but it didn’t find anything missing… and looking at the help shows InfoPath is at SP1. I’ll keep tinkering and trying.

  16. Looks like there may be a problem with SP1 or the order of installation. I had Office 2003, then installed SP1, THEN installed InfoPath on one machine that didn’t already have it… InfoPath shows it’s SP1. Then I installed your SimpleBlogger but it won’t work. However on another machine that already had InfoPath BEFORE I instaled the Office 2003 SP1, it works just fine. Wierd.

  17. SimpleBlogger ??? OK (InfoPath ? Blog ??????)

  18. mike lorengo says:

    Hardware Development Environment Stage 0

  19. alanpa says:

    Looks very promising, but won’t work for me. I’m not sure if I have unique problems, or if my rss feed is incompatible. The update/start new post button times out, and the "Load" button hits an exception when it finds the ‘isPermaLink’ attribute isn’t in the element ‘guid’. I know weblogs.asp.net went through some changes recently – maybe they broke something?

  20. Rido says:

    Do you knoe the configuration needed by Community Server?

  21. guowu says:

    Rido, I have an InfoPath editor for Community Server, which is now called "CSBlogger". You can find information about it on this blog.

  22. JosephCooney says:

    The link to download simpleblogger is broken. I’ve seen CSBlogger but have been put off ugrading form .Text to CS. Is SimpleBlogger still available?

  23. guowu says:

    Download link is now updated.

  24. Mark Dormer says:

    I am using CSBlogger and need to adjust the timezone values accordingly.
    &#160;
    CSBlogger allows psoting to…

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