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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Windows Live Writer: Video Review

Windows Live Writer, which was released in beta yesterday, promises to make blogging from the comfort of your desktop as easy as sending an email.

With a simple point and click interface that will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a word processor, seamless integration with all of the major blogging platforms, and powerful yet easy to use image manipulation features it is now easier than ever to publish your thoughts and pictures online.

In this exclusive MasterNewMedia video review, I take a look at the main features that set this simple, free application apart from the crowd.

For those of you not on a broadband connection and unable to view the video, please find here below Amit Argawal own first impressions along with the descriptions, as originally published on the Windows Live Writer Official Blog, of the key unique features of this new Microsoft blogging tool:

windows_live_writer_images.jpg


Windows Live Writer Review by Amit Argawal

Enough good things have already been said about Windows Live Writer. If you still haven't heard about it, Live Writer is an extremely powerful WYSIWYG blog editor from Microsoft that is miles ahead of competition (from w.blogger, ecto or blogjet) both in terms of features and user interface. It also have a very reasonable price - $0.00 [download here]

Though Windows only, Windows Live Writer can help you manage blogs hosted on even non-Microsoft blogging platform including Blogspot, Wordpress and Typepad. When you configure your blog in Windows Live Writer, it automatically download your blog template (or layout theme) so that you get to see an Offline preview of your HTML post which is an exact replica of how the post would look like when it is published on the blog. This is just brilliant.

The blog tool has excellent image handling capabilities including transformations like emboss, blur or sepia tone. You can insert a watermark in your photographs before uploading them online right inside the blog software. It comes with a Windows Live Toolbar that will allow you to blog the current page just like the BlogThis button on the Google Toolbar.

Windows Live Writer doesn't provide native support for video blogging, wordpress categories, technorati tags, del.icio.us or posting images to flickr or picasa but they have released Windows Live Writer SDK so it will just be a matter of days (or even hours) before innovative developers start adding all the missing pieces to Live Writer.

My wishlist includes a Google Video or Youtube video embedding plugin that let's search for video and automatically embed it inside my blog post.

I have noticed one minor problem with Windows Live which really doesn't affect my blog but I still want to know what happened. Details below:

When you configure your blog with Windows Live Writer, it will publish a new post on your blog without any notification. I know that can I login to my Blogspot control panel and just delete that temporary post but the funny thing is that I am unable to locate it in my "List of posts". Why did the Microsoft software hide it ?

Temporary Post Used For Style Detection (7571378b-f5fb-44ac-9875-a4797987ceec) - This is a temporary post that was not deleted. Please delete this manually. (eb8b39cb-b438-4025-b26d-3ce09e946014)

When I try to post a comment on this post, the blogger software returns an error saying "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request." I can't locate that post in my RSS feed but it is very much alive on my blog. If Live Writer deleted that post from the blog, the page should return a 404 not found error. So there's either a bug in Blogger or Windows Live writer. Can someone help me here.

Some 800 blog posts on Technorati have the same "Temporary Post Used For Style Detection" title which essentially means that these many blog (and more) have used Live Writer to post to their blogs.

Here are also two excellent features hidden in the Live Writer Preferences window that are very useful but you may not have explored them yet:

Automatic Blog Ping via Windows Live Writer

Windows_Live_Writer_ping_servers.gif

Every time you publish a post on your blog using Windows Live Writer, the software can send a ping XML-RPC signal to ping servers like weblogs.com, blo.gs, ping-o-matic or any custom ping service.

Select Tools->Preferences->Ping Servers. Type the list of ping servers that you would want Live Writer to inform when you create a new post for your blog.

Write your own HTML Snippets for Blog It

Windows Live Toolbar has a "Blog This" button that lets you compose a new post from your current HTML webpage. Pushing the "blog it" opens the selected text and images including the source URL inside Live Writer preserving all the formatting and layout details. This is a great feature for quick blogging but there's more to it.

Windows Live Writer also lets you customize this HTML information that it receives from the IE Window when the blogger presses the Blog It button. For instance, you want to add a disclaimer text or your HTML signature to every item that you blog using the BlogThis button. Or say you are blogging a photograph and want the original image link to open in a new window rather than in the same window.

Select Tools->Preferences->Blog This. Now select Link, Image or Snippet from the Content box and click "Customize HTML". You will see a text box prepopulated with some code which is very easy to understand and there are even hints at the bottom. You can either write your own HTML template code, append the existing code logic or simply delete the entire text which won't fill-in (or credit) the original story in your blog post.

Sources: Live Writer Blog, Tim Heuer, Joe Cheng, Live Dev

Original reviews by Amit Argawal:
Microsoft WYSIWYG Blog Editor: How do I Delete Temporary Post Used For Style Detection?

Windows Live Writer Tips & Tricks



From The Windows Live Writer Official Blog

Windows Live Writer is a brilliant blog authoring tool [detailed review] with a WYSIWYG Rich text editor and support for plugins. And here are two excellent features hidden in the Live Writer Preferences window that are very useful but you may not have explored them yet:

Automatic Blog Ping via Windows Live Writer
Every time you publish a post on your blog using Windows Live Writer, the software can send a ping XML-RPC signal to ping servers like weblogs.com, blo.gs, ping-o-matic or any custom ping service.

Select Tools->Preferences->Ping Servers. Type the list of ping servers that you would want Live Writer to inform when you create a new post for your blog.

Write your own HTML Snippets for Blog It
Windows Live Toolbar has a "Blog This" button that lets you compose a new post from your current HTML webpage. Pushing the "blog it" opens the selected text and images including the source URL inside Live Writer preserving all the formatting and layout details. This is a great feature for quick blogging but there's more to it.

Windows Live Writer also lets you customize this HTML information that it receives from the IE Window when the blogger presses the Blog It button. For instance, you want to add a disclaimer text or your HTML signature to every item that you blog using the BlogThis button. Or say you are blogging a photograph and want the original image link to open in a new window rather than in the same window.

Select Tools->Preferences->Blog This. Now select Link, Image or Snippet from the Content box and click "Customize HTML". You will see a text box prepopulated with some code which is very easy to understand and there are even hints at the bottom. You can either write your own HTML template code, append the existing code logic or simply delete the entire text which won't fill-in (or credit) the original story in your blog post.

WYSIWYG Authoring

The first thing to notice about Writer is that it enables true WYSIWYG blog authoring. You can now author your post and know exactly what it will look like before you publish it. Writer knows the styles of your blog such as headings, fonts, colors, background images, paragraph spacing, margins and block quotes and enables you to edit your post using these styles.

Writer also includes other views including HTML source-code editing and web preview mode. Now you don't have to waste time going through the process of publishing, refreshing, previewing, and tweaking your post to get it looking the way you want. It's all right there in Writer as you create your post.



Photo Publishing

Writer makes inserting, customizing, and uploading photos to your blog a snap. You can insert a photo into your post by browsing image thumbnails through the "Insert Picture" dialog or by copying and pasting from a web page.

Once you've inserted the picture, Writer provides contextual editing tools to modify size, text wrapping, borders, and apply graphic effects. Writer also allows you specify a smaller thumbnail to that will link to a larger image for detailed viewing.

Photos can be either uploaded directly to your weblog provider (if they support the newMediaObject API) or to an FTP server.



Map Publishing

Whether you are blogging about a vacation or a political conflict, maps are a great help in engaging the imagination of your readers. You can do this using Writer's ability to insert a Windows Live Local map directly into a post.

Even better is that the map can be customized directly within Writer - including changing the view to show road, aerial or bird's eye detail and by adding pushpins (including custom links and/or photos for each pushpin).

When readers click on the map they get a larger view on the Windows Live Local site.



Writer SDK

The Windows Live Writer SDK allows developers to extend the capabilities of Writer to publish additional content types. Examples of content types that can be added include:

1. Images from online photo publishing sites

2. Embedded video or audio players

3. Product thumbnails and/or links from e-commerce sites

4. Tags from tagging services

windows_live_writer_preview.jpg

Source: Windows Live writer Official Blog



Read more elsewhere:

Official Windows Live Writer blog

Techmeme coverage of Windows Live writer

Performancing.com review

Tech crunch's review

Windows Live Writer First Impressions: Inside Microsoft

Digg.com commentary

Techblog : Just testing: Windows Live Writer

Freshblog- blogger hacks, categories, tips and tricks


Reference: Windows Live Writer Official Blog [ Read more ]
 
 
 
Readers' Comments    
2006-10-12 09:25:17

Job Ireland

Well, I did not find it usewfull at all. I tried to post to blogger.com blog, and guess what? You CAN NOT upload images! :)

See my take on it at:
http://jobireland.blogspot.com/2006/10/windows-live-writer.html



 
posted by Michael Pick on Tuesday, August 15 2006, updated on Tuesday, January 8 2008


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