Better Blogging software from MS

by Marc

Live Writer

We’re all used to bashing Microsoft. Security holes, unstable software, monopolistic tendencies – you can point fingers in all those directions. But if you’ve been watching for the past few years you’ll see that things have been changing. Developers are much more in contact with the community via blogs. Stability is much improved over the bad old days (if you think XP is unstable, you’re too young to remember Windows 3.1…) MS Products are even starting to play nicely with non-MS software.

Which brings me to the Windows Live product suite. Specifically Windows Live Writer. It’s really rather good.

Live writer is a desktop blogging application – think of it as an HTML editor, customised for use with Blogging engines. So what makes it so neat? For starters, it offers you a WISYWIG view of your post-to-be. That’s trickier than it sounds, because to do that it has to connect to your blog, download your specific styles and blog layout template then offer you an editing view based around a single post. It also has standard HTML editing functions such as table and style editing and a preview function to show the post as it will appear on the blog.

Dealing with images is easy – just drag and drop them from wherever they live on the PC into your post. They’ll get uploaded along with the post. I think that’s the killer feature for me, I can upload an image and the text in one hit from one place without navigating a sometimes painful web UI.

Spell checking? Integrated and automatic.

When you install it you get the choice of creating your own blog on Live spaces – fair enough if you don’t already have one. If you already have a blog (say, CG for example ;-) ) it asks you for your login details. Then it connects, downloads its styles and you’re away.

The really cool (and most unexpected) thing is that it supports a variety of non-MS blogging engines. The list includes WordPress, Blogger and of course Live spaces amongst others.

Give it a go. I’ll certainly be using it more in the future (assuming this inaugural post makes it up to the blog intact that is!).

(Source: WinSuperSite)

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