Saturday, August 18, 2007

Windows Live Writer Beta?

Desperately Seeking Blogging Software

I have been on a quest to improve my blogging "platform" since Google forced the migration to Blogger Beta and the "New Blogger". While I survived the transition with minimal template changes though without benefit of the new template tools, I have been struggling with the loss of the Blogger for Word Add-On. This Add-On helped cleanup the excessive formatting of Microsoft Word and resulted in simple posts with clean .html code.

Complicating matters, an issue with Word 2007’s new Blogger support has never been reported as fixed. As I looked for news about a resolution of this issue, I stumbled upon this post, A Comparison of Blogging Tools: Word 2007 vs. Windows Live Writer on The ToughBot Project.

A free and useful application from Microsoft? Windows Live Writer (WLW) Beta is a desktop application that makes it easy to publish rich content to your blog. WLW supports Blogger with both publish and draft capabilities. There is WYSIWYG with your Blog's template theme. For this Blog, I noticed a few flaws with the WYSIWYG but overall the feature is a plus.

WLW supports rich media types, but, again, Blogger, Microsoft, or both don't seem to have a peace accord to get photos into drafts or published posts. While a picture can be inserted, I couldn't find a way to setup FTP to my Blogger account or to Picasa Web Albums. After going through the trouble of installing the Picasa Image Plugin, I could access my Picasa Albums but I had trouble formatting the inserted photo (operator error?). Oh, you set the size during the insert process.

In another odd twist, Blog photo albums in Picasa Web Albums do not permit photo uploads from your Picasa account. The easy work around is to setup a separate album or post process the draft online with Blogger.

Being able to use tables at will without coding .html is a huge plus, and WLW delivers on this. I like a good table, and tables can help format content in a post for a professional looking layout.

Test Table with border

Gl├╝ck Schwein

Does it work?
Yes it does.

WLW seems like it is worth a trial. I will give it a go with my next post at GUNTHER Portfolio. I forgot to mention Labels are supported.

You can download the application here, Windows Live Writer (WLW) Beta, and, of course, the developers' have a Blog at the Windows Live Writer team blog.

If I find an acceptable solution to posting photos, my wish list includes a word count feature and Mac support. The former is more realistic. It appears everyone knew about this blogging software except me.

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