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May 30, 2007

Blogging with Windows Live Writer

Today I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Charles Teague, who is a principal development lead on the Windows Live Writer Team. Charles was part of the original group of folks who came over from Onfolio when Microsoft acquired the company a few years ago. That same group of people lead by Charles and J.J. Allaire who worked on Writer at Onfolio are still working on Windows Live Writer today.

Download Windows Live Writer Beta 2.

As you probably have heard by now, a new beta of Windows Live Writer has been released – Beta 2. In fact I am writing this blog post in that very beta of Windows Live Writer. If you thought the last beta of Windows Live Writer rocked, the Beta 2 is loaded with some impressive new features that will make blogging with Windows Live Writer even better! You can now edit tables in Windows Live Writer and they have made some great improvements to inserting hyperlinks and images. You’ll notice with this beta that the quality of images when inserted into a blog post and published is preserved a bit better than what the last beta was doing with those images. If you have WordPress (or TypePad) you will notice you now have the ability to add and manage pages on your blog. Check out the Windows Live Writer Team’s blog post outlining the features and improvements with Beta 2.

One thing I noticed right off the bat after playing with the new beta is that those irritating “Style Detection” errors are gone. Or so they appear to be. Charles tells me that a temporary post may still sometimes be required when configuring your weblog (but that it will be really unusual). The new beta will ask you before publishing out anything to your blog to prevent those style detection errors from getting through. You will then be able to choose if you want Writer to publish out or not to detect your blog’s theme style.

Charles also highlighted for me the new Provider Customization API in which providers can customize Writer for adding functionality for their blogging platforms. With Windows Live Spaces, you get direct links to edit your Space and view statistics for your Space. WordPress and TypePad have both jumped on board to take advantage of this API as well.

Windows Live Writer takes full advantage of Windows Desktop Search in Windows Vista (and Windows XP). You can search for a published (or unpublished) blog post from Windows Live Writer directly from Windows Vista’s Start Menu.

Its important to also note in regards to all the awesome plug-ins available over Windows Live Gallery are fully backwards compatible with Beta 2 of Windows Live Writer. That means you shouldn’t have any problem installing the plug-ins from the gallery. And in Beta 2, Windows Live Writer gives the user a better way to grab and install plug-ins. You also don’t need to exit Windows Live Writer after installing a plug-in – plug-ins install live without having to quit the application. My personal favorite is the Insert Video plug-in by ScottIsAFool that allows you to embed video from online video sites like Soapbox or YouTube.

Overall, the Windows Live Writer Team has made some incredible enhancements to Writer with Beta 2. I intend to adopt use of Windows Live Writer for much of my posting to the Windows Experience Blog here on out!

A special thanks to Charles for taking the time to meet with me today.

You can leave feedback for the Windows Live Writer Team by going to or if you’d like, leave a comment here and I can forward them on to the team.