There are more than a few people out there who swear by Windows Live Writer. I’ve been using it to write posts for the past couple days. I feel I’ve gotten to know it enough to offer a solid review of it.
What is Windows Live Writer?
Windows Live Writer is free desktop blog software from Microsoft (I know, me too) for Windows. It connects to your blog and you can write drafts, posts, and pages (if your blog platform supports pages) in it, instead of logging in to your blog’s web-based admin area. There are several other desktop blogging clients out there. I’ve tried and rejected them all. So, is Windows Live Writer Great? or Garbage? Let me break it down for you:
What’s Great About Windows Live Writer
- Can have multiple blogs on different platforms, such as WordPress and Blogger. When you first fire it up, it only asks for one account, but afterwards, just click Weblog > Add Weblog Account… to add as many blogs as you want. Woo hoo!
- Image features and controls blow WordPress image controls away (not a hard thing to do–this is my one biggest criticism of WordPress: image upload and post tools suck). You can even add effects like a photograph paper border or a drop shadow. Mikey likey!
- Easy to work with categories and tagging.
- Advanced hyperlink options rock: “rel” options for nofollow and tag, plus “title”.
- Easy to insert and create a table, which, when you really need a table, is a pain in the bootay to code by hand.
- Uses your blog’s own CSS stylesheet for Web Layout view. You can write your post and see it exactly how it will look on your blog. This is a fantastic feature!
- Windows Live Writer plugins, which I’ll explore in a later post.
- Cool translucent splash screen at startup (hope you really like teal).
What’s Garbage About Windows Live Writer
- Cannot choose XHTML as the default markup language.
- Doesn’t automatically provide fields that exist in WordPress from WordPress plugins, such as All-in-One SEO Pack.
- Doesn’t import posts currently in draft status–had to create new draft posts in Windows Live Writer and delete the drafts in the WordPress admin interface.
I’m Keepin’ It
I really dig this tool. I love WordPress, but using a rich desktop client is a far more pleasurable blogging experience. I can write posts in less time, because I’m not doing so much brute-force markup editing. Because of the way I like to work with post content, I was always compelled to turn off WordPress’ rich text editor (same for Blogger). With Windows Live Writer, I don’t have to. I can blog in Web Layout View using my blog’s own CSS. The picture tools are a snap to use.
And it’s from… Microsoft?
Get Windows Live Writer and try it for yourself. I’m interested in what you think of it. Feel free to trackback this post or comment about your initial experience with it.