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Ok, now that's cool.

I've been meaning to try out Windows Live Writer for making blog posts because one of the things that stops me from posting very much is that it's a bit of a pain.  The editors that are embedded in blog software such as Subtext, a fork of the popular .Text software, are surprisingly good but can only take you so far.  Things like inserting a picture can be a real pain and I always find myself switching to the source view to tweak things here and there.

I fired up the program after installing it and a wizard started up.  I picked the option for an existing blog, gave it the URL of my blog, my username, and my password and then it did everything else all by itself!  You mileage may vary depending on whether or not you blogging platform supports the APIs for which Live Writer is looking.  (or Live Writer supports your blogging platform of choice - I'm not certain as to which way around this works)

Like I said, that's frickin' cool.

I think that the most attractive feature for me is the ability to save a draft of the post and come back to it later.  I know that with Subtext I can save a post as unpublished and come back to it but that still requires me to be online.  For me, the experience of a rich desktop program is just far superior to a similar experience that is web-based. 

Raise your hand if you do this:

  1. Write your post
  2. Copy the text (if I can, I copy the actual HTML Source, just in case)
  3. Paste it into Notepad or other suitable program
  4. Submit your post

And why do we do this?  Because we've all been burned when something goes wrong with the post and hitting the back button returns us to a blank form.  Here in Live Writer I simply hit the Save Draft button and I have a nice safe local copy.

Often times when composing a post you want to be sure that it's going to render properly and Subtext doesn't have the facility to preview a post.  (at least not that I can find)  You can save it unpublished so that the public can't see it but that means that neither can you.  All that remains is to publish your post unfinished and then have a look at it and then Shower, Rinse, Repeat.  Annoying.  You favourite (OMG it knows I'm Canadian!) Blog aggregator will likely detect these multiple edits and do something weird as well.  This is where I discover the View menu.

In addition to the HTML Code view there is also a Web Layout view and a Web Preview.  Web Preview shows me my post as it would appear on the actual site!  That is super cool.

The final feature that is immediately noticeable is the [Set categories] area at the bottom of the UI just above the status bar.  Clicking here shows me a list of the blog categories that it has pulled down from my blog.  They're my categories.  Let's see, there's "Ravings of a Lunatic".  Definitely need to check that one.

Now, all of this assumes that when I finally get around to hitting the Publish button that the post actually makes it unscathed onto my blog.  Given how smooth the experience has been thus far, confidence is high.

Time to Point Your Toes;  We're Going In Deep.

Dave
Just because I can...

[UPDATE: Holy Crap It Worked!!]

posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 1:27 AM