Zaki Mirza’s Blog

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… About software and beyond!

Windows Live Writer – A Review


lw One Friday afternoon, I’m bored. I am browsing through my start –> programs menu and I see a windows Live menu there. I expand it and see a Windows Live Writer. Not exactly knowing what it does, I fired it up! Its a blog writer! .. Hmm, interesting. But I’ve seen a few like this and they were hardly every impressing at all! So well, Windows Live Messenger 2009 was an impressive application so might as well try this and give yet another shot to Microsoft to regain its respect with me. It got installed when I recently upgraded my PC to a new HP and had to reinstall everything, including the latest msn messenger.

First Impressions

The first impression is rather impressive. I was able to hook Live Writer with Word press in less than a minute, It knows my theme on word press, shows me a live preview while I edit my post. Picture editing is simpler than ever, at least a lot simpler than the one word press provides. I talk about picture editing later.

Post Editing

untitled

Post editing is as good as Word 2007 editing with all the menus already available for editing. The text rending is also clear type based, so it is quite a breeze working through this. Apart from usual text editing, I can add tables, maps, videos, photos, photo albums and other plug-ins (apparently, but I have not tried the whole set of features it provides). There wont exactly be any need of going to word press at all if you have Live Writer. Just push “Publish” and the post is there 🙂 Also you can set tags, categories and publish date which also comes in handy. Also, the built in spell and grammar check is a must have for serious bloggers, and no-one does it better than Microsoft (IMHO). Also, you can save local drafts of your posts, so you can take your time editing it before posting.

You can do variety of things, like quoting someone yourself 🙂

Picture Editing

Kristen_Stewart_1440 x 900 widescreen

The first thing I try is picture editing.

This is Kristen Stewart, one of the prettiest ladies in Hollywood (IMHO). I had to test some Live Writer picture editing features and for one, they are amazing! This was a simple 1440×900 wide screen wallpaper in full color, in less than 10 seconds i applied the borders, margins, tilt and sepia tone to it all from within the windows live writer. It also providers different options for the sizing of the picture and other effects. Overall I think picture editing must be one of the sexiest features of Microsoft Windows Live Writer. It really takes the pain away from AJAX based hiccups one often feels.

Extensibility

Windows Live writer comes with a plug-in support, though I have not had the time to try writing one for it. You can find more information about it on this post. The whole WPF eye-candy debate, I think, is going to come to a conclusion very soon with applications like Live Writer coming into the scene. (Though I’m not so sure if Microsoft should port Visual Studio Shell on WPF, but if It performs like Live Writer, I’m okay with it. Watch Rico Mariani, chief architect of Visual Studio talk in detail about it here). The application itself feels very native, though I’m not so sure. I would be surprised to know this is all WPF!

Potential Cons

Windows Live Writer, like any other desktop application would be hard to carry along (unless of course you take your whole laptop with you:)). It might never replace the word press dashboard – but I hope Microsoft plans for tackling this issue as well. But the installer is small, if you have a good connection you can set it up anywhere in minutes. Secondly, I cannot see a lot of stock plug-ins with it, I’d like to see them more to see the true potential of the extensibility framework within Live Writer.

Final Verdict

So far, while editing this post, the application hasn’t crashed – very atypical from Microsoft lately. Having had a completely bad experience with IE8 beta, I think the current technology shift that Microsoft is creating is starting to blossom. Windows Live Writer is a must have for any serious blogger! I would give it 4.9/5!

Finally I hit publish, you go hit download if you already haven’t 🙂

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9 Responses

  1. Ali says:

    interessant.. !

  2. Ali Dar says:

    Good one. I was bored with my blogspot editor. So this writer might do the trick. I’ll try it tonight for sure. Let’s see what I get.

  3. Fahim Akhter says:

    So like can I think its like a Microsoft word sort of a thing only online and it lets me publish my work from there? Or do we have some advanced features which kick ass? But its pretty neat considering the pretty basic WordPress things. Like I’m sick of the wordpress picture thing, I hope editing is more flexible.

  4. zakimirza says:

    Fahim, It’s a desktop application that gets installed with the Windows Live Messenger installer package so its much more powerful!

  5. Teck says:

    Thanks for posting about WLW I had the 2008 version I updated to the 2009 version after I
    read your post.

    Great post BTW. 🙂

  6. […] sequel to my Windows Live Writer review post, today I review Window Live Photo Gallery, another application in the Windows Live family. […]

  7. […] Live mail would filter out everything but spam. But having reviewed and used Live applications like Live Writer and Live Gallery, I am starting to get excited again. In this post I review my first experience […]

  8. sidu says:

    thanks XAK for the great help 😉

  9. farhan says:

    One thing I really like about the Windows Live Writer is that it has a quick tagging feature which allows you to tag your post in multiple ways. It is far quicker than the WordPress interface.

    The writer also keeps local copies of your blog posts so you don’t need to worry about backing up your posts in case the blog shuts down or something.

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