Windows Live Writer


The Windows Live team released a new tool for editing and creating blogs yesterday called Windows Live Writer (WLW).  I am using it right now to post this entry, and I am impressed.  It supports WYSIWYG editing, saving drafts of my posts, inline photos, and — can you believe it? —  support for multiple blogging engines: Live Spaces (of course), Blogger, and many others.  Any blog site that supports the Really Simple Discoverability (RSD), Metaweblog API, or Movable Type API is supported out of the box.  With this free tool and the upcoming Word 2007 release, Internet Explorer now offers a set of professional tools for blogging.

So why does this get mention on the IE blog?  Because if you have the Windows Live Toolbar (WLT), WLW installs an add-on.  The add-on is a custom button for the Windows Live Toolbar with options to blog the current page, create a new post, or open an existing post.

Windows Live Writer add-on for IE7 in the Windows Live Toolbar

Custom buttons allow developers to use the Windows Live Toolbar to extend the functionality of IE.  This gives you a chance to add features that the IE and WLT teams have yet to invent.  With a little XML, you can add a button that searches the Internet, opens an arbitrary web site, displays information from your web site, or performs actions from a custom drop-down menu.  The documentation and samples are available on MSDN, to get you up and started quickly.

The Windows Live Writer team took advantage of these extensions to create a “Blog this page…” button.  Clicking on that button starts Windows Live Writer and opens a new post on your personal blog.  This gives quick access to your blog, directly from within the IE browser frame window.

What will you do with custom buttons?  Give Windows Live Writer a try, and take a crack at custom buttons.  Share your ideas for other custom buttons below.

Mark Harris
Lead Program Manager

Comments (29)

  1. Xepol says:

    I’m sure it’s a very nice button, but frankly, I don’t use the live toolbar – I use the google toolbar.

    Why is important.  In page searches.  Google has a superiour search method – the search terms appearing RIGHT on the toolbar and allowing me to directly click them there is easy. Live Toolbar’s method of pulling up a dialog which is VERY uninititive and difficult to use is the exact opposite.

    If Live Toolbar every adopts the google bar’s method of searching in page, then I will probably switch over, but until that day, I’ll keep my google toolbar and leave the live toolbar off my machine as it doesn’t provide  enough value for the screen space it consumes.

    After all, I already have my search box in the upper left corner to pick any search engine I want, so I’m more focused on ease of in page search than search engine access itself.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That is nice Mark, I look forward to using it.  I guess you can’t please everyone.  I actually prefer the MSN and Live toolbars to Google’s offering.

    Funny thing where I work some people have 3-5 different toolbars stacked on top of one another.  They have no idea where they got them and 1/3 of the screen is taken up with toolbars!

  3. Anonymous says:

    sample the name housting below

  4. Xepol says:

    Pete -> It’s funny, but it is the little details that make the toolbar useful.. Like I said, I already have search engine based search box, so that reduces the need for the toolbar itself to search the internet.  I really like to be able to quickly and easily search the page itself.  All other features aside, the in page search is truely superiour on the google toolbar.  My hope is that if I keep bringing it up enough as a barrier to adoption, that the live team will see the light and at least add the functionality in combination with what they already have (I’m sure someone somwhere likes it, but I can’t imagine why – what an ungainly beast to use)

    So, here’s hoping… someone pass the word.  Live Toolbar could be better and better means more people using it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The custom buttons sound like a nice way of quickly adding functionality but this sort of customisation should be built into IE directly instead of requiring Windows Live Toolbar (or any other toolbar).

    I don’t like clutter in my browsing experience and I run IE7 with the only addition to the standard items being a button for MS Fiddler that I use for debugging my networking code.

    Mog

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just installed and used Windows Live Writer.  Have to say that everything went great.

    I do, however, find it ironic that when I used the built-in spellchecker to check my post, the only "errors" that it found where the words "blogging" and "blogger’s."

    Also, I like the Live Toolbar’s added tabbed browsing functionality.  A couple of months ago I "upgraded" to IE7 and really loved the tabs but had to "downgrade" back to IE6 because IE7 couldn’t handle a few sites that were quite important to me (partner.microsoft.com being one of them).  Nice to have the tabs back.

  7. Anonymous says:

    これまで写真つきのブログ記事を投稿するのがとても面倒だったのですが、この Windows Live Writer が解決してくれそうです。 ・・・というか、これはもう手放せなくなる予感。この記事も Windows Live Writer で書いています。 Windows Live Writer は WYSIWYG (ブログに表示される状態で記事の編集ができる) のエディタです。 なんと自動的にブロ…

  8. PatriotB says:

    I agree that it would be great if IE itself supported the Windows Live custom buttons.

    (IE does have its own custom button functionality, but it hasn’t been updated at all since IE5 (1999), and Live’s buttons seem to be more flexible, powerful, and sharable.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    It is a cool blogging tool.

    It would be beter even if Google would complete their standardized API to Blogger as currently it does not allow for pictures to be updated from the live writer yet.

    The code must already be in place as they made sure that an other google product namely Picasa does update pictures to blogger.

  10. Anonymous says:

    AjaxTags XUL+Javaでリッチアプリケーション – ZK 2.0 h…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for being harsh, but why don’t you put this energy into getting a complete and solid browser out of beta.  Or is IE7 going to go the way of web 2.0 and be in a permanent state of Beta never taking over a dominant share from IE6 leaving a smattering of browsers that all have different issues.

    Seriously, blogging software?!  Other’s have already done it better and people are going to be hardpressed to leave blogger and wordpress.

  12. PatriotB says:

    JWin — You *do* realize that Windows Live Writer is made by a different team than the IE team?

    The IE blog folks are just pointing out something else web-related that other people in the company are working on.  Give them a break.

  13. Anonymous says:

    jsminch – You can install IE7 and make it identify itself as IE6 so that sites not supporting IE7 will not know the difference. Just install IE7 and add the following registry entry: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet Settings5.0User Agent" and then create a string variable named "Version" with a value of "MSIE 6.0"

  14. sarathc says:

    Yea I’ve tried that. my first post was successful. but sometimes it’s showing proxy error. sometimes it’s working fine… 🙁

  15. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t beleive the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team.  I was browsing over…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yeah I get the same problem, too, sarathc. It says, "Error attempting to connect to weblog at: The request was aborted: The request was canceled." I’ve added the program to my Windows Firewall Exceptions, and I even turned off the Windows Firewall, but it still comes with the same error message and simply doesn’t work. What’s the proble :(?

  17. Anonymous says:

    A cool tool I now use as my primary blogging editor.

    Some things ‘missing’

    1.Spell checking on the fly (ala Word).

    2. A spell checking button in the tool bar.

    3. The ability to auto-generate technorati tags

    4. For blogger, the ability to add in a link.

    5. A FireFox Tool bar.

    Yeah, I realise we’re not likely to see the latter – but if MS is really interested in cross platform use of this tool, a tool bar for FireFox would be useful (as I tend not to use IE unless I have to).

    The main reason I prefer FireFox is due to the add-in features. I have several cool add-ins, not least of which is AdBlock that speeds up browing on a number of sites.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Let me be upfront about this: I hate toolbars. They take up too much screen estate and they dont actually provide any features that cant be done better by a more useful program/applet. And, you can configure shortcut keys for everything in Windows anyway, so navigating to a command is not an issue.

    Plus, there is always the nagging doubt over what exactly is being sent back Home by the toolbar. For instance, to show you pageranks and "similar pages", toolbars would be sending back your page URL home and somewhere down the line, someone somewhere would be able to build a very nice user profile with that. I dont like my local network admin staring at proxy logs and I certainly dont want some stranger doing that.

    Also, blogging from the toolbar? Come on.. there’s better things your team can be doing. Some time ago, Google launched a Notebook and they added a "Note this" to their toolbar as well as a link to their Personalized search pages (the ones you see when you login to Google and then do search). I am not sure if its because I have no use for the feature or because there is limited functionality that the Notebook offers, but I dont use that either after initial experimentation with it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t beleive the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team. I was browsing over the

  20. Anonymous says:

    I really can't beleive the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team. I was browsing over

  21. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t beleive the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team.  I was browsing over…

  22. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t beleive the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team.  I was browsing over…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Looking at the IE Blog a while ago I noticed their article about a new beta program called…

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s 2:48am and I’m futzing around with Team Foundation Server build. I came across a permission issue…

  25. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t beleive the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team. I was browsing over…

  26. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t believe the buzz over this new tool by the Windows Live team. I was browsing over the