Yesterday, a new Windows Live release arrived: Windows Live Writer. When I first heard about Writer internally a few weeks ago, my first thought was, "Oh wow! Are we really doing an online word processor?" But after reading past the teaser introduction, I realized that was not the case. Instead, Writer was something much different than that, yet still just as cool of an idea.
Writer is a "smart client" application that runs locally on your machine and provides you with a WYSIWYG editor for writing blog posts. I'm aware that there have been other tools available similar to this, but haven't had time to check them out before.
I've only been blogging for just three short months now (okay... 2 since I really didn't blog in July), but I had already worked out a method to my madness. Anytime I got an idea for a blog post, I'd type it up in Word or Notepad. I've got a "Blog Posts" folder on my machine where I just save these ideas (mostly rough drafts) up. When I'm actually ready to publish a post, I'd cut and paste from Word or Notepad into the text editor of Community Server (the blog server that my blog runs on), fix up any broken links, and hit the "Post" button.
Today, I loaded up Writer to give it a try. So far... pretty cool! It looks as though I can type up a bunch of ideas and save them off as "Drafts" without actually posting them. That's nice, and definitely a bit more organized than the "Notepad + CutNPaste" method I've been using. Although... one minor error I found so far (perhaps it's a bug?)... when you accidentally hit the "Publish" button (like I did half-way through typing this post), there is no cancel button! Once you click that button, whatever you typed is live! As you can see from a screen shot of my blog earlier:
All is good now though. If you see the thumbnail above and it links to the full sized version of the image, then the image feature of Writer works perfectly! Before, I'd have to manually FTP my image(s) to a web server, then edit the HTML in the Community Server text editor to add the <img> tags that linked to the image location. What a pain! With Writer, I simply added that photo as though I was in Word, provided it with the FTP credentials to my web server, and that was it. Writer did all the publishing & linking on its own. Sweet!
Want to try it for yourself? Go get it here:
One neat thing about this... it works against many of the different blog services out there. Not just the Microsoft one (Windows Live Spaces). So for you Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, and LiveJournal users... check it out!