Trying out Windows Live Writer

28 09 2009

Ok so something I was reading about recently is Microsoft currently encouraging the use of their “Windows Live” set of tools, especially with the introduction of Windows 7. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at them and this is basically me having a play around with Windows Live Writer.

So far I am liking the idea of having a piece of software on my machine that allows me to gradually write blog posts and save them locally before publishing them to the web. Setting up the blog was extremely easy. All I had to do was enter the web address, username and password and it did the rest in about 15 seconds. It also makes it easier to add rich content to blog posts. There is a button in the top left corner for publishing the post, and on the right there is a control panel that provides me with links to my blog and the dashboard for my blog and some shortcuts for inserting rich content like videos, maps etc. I also like the Microsoft Office style spell checker, as I often forget to spell check when I’m writing blog posts via the web interface. Picking a category, adding a new category and adding tags are also just as easy to do as they are on the web.

I also like that you have the Macromedia (or Adobe now!) style “Edit/Preview/Source” tabs. The “Edit” view is what I’m currently writing this in. It gives you a little page, but the font, size and area to type in is the same as it will appear on your blog. The “Preview” view shows you exactly what it will look like on your blog. The “Source” view is the HTML code behind what you are seeing on screen. The only thing that I’ve noticed on first go is that there is no way to highlight selected text and format it as code. This is obviously something I use a lot. Although on the toolbar you are given a drop down box listing different styles allowed on your blog “theme” such as “Paragraph” or “Heading1”, “Code” is not present in this list. It is however possible to go into source view and use the <code></code> HTML tags. This isn’t a deal breaker in my opinion. It just would have been nice to have had it in the toolbar with the other styles, or even a button that would do the formatting. Who knows, I might find something, I have only just opened this piece of software for the first time!

So all in all, I like it so far and will probably continue using it for a while and see if I continue to like it!