Windows Live Writer Beta2 is here

Now, I’m not the most fanatical blogger in the world by a long stretch, but I do like to share titbits of information and interesting things I have found from time to time.

I do read a lot of different websites on a daily basis and often stumble across things I would blog about, but often put this off until I can find a quiet few minutes to comment and expand upon something, rather than write simply “Look at this…”. All too often those quiet moments come when I am out of range of an internet connection so the thought never gets posted.

Windows Live Writer (now in Beta2) now makes this a whole lot easier by allowing me to compose, edit and publish through a single friendly tool, offline or online.

The RSS feeds in Outlook 2007 are an absolute bonus as they mean that I can just let them gather articles in the background and I can then very quickly browse through the interesting stuff when offline – bus or train journeys are a great time to catch up when I can’t necessarily focus on ‘real’ work.

So the flip side of this offline reading should be offline writing, which is where Windows Live Writer comes in (which I am using to write this post).

I can write a blog post, including links and “rich media” (aka “pretty pictures” to those of us without an A level in Marketing speak) entirely offline. More importantly, I get spell-checking on the fly (with squiggly underlining like MS Word) and I see the result as I go along in the style of my finished site, if I choose to. The WordPress built-in editor does not provide this; I have to preview to realise that I never closed that blockquote, for example.

Currently, Live Writer works with these blog types (and more in future as people take advantage of the APIs):

  • Windows Live Spaces
  • Sharepoint
  • WordPress
  • Blogger
  • LiveJournal
  • TypePad
  • Moveable Type
  • Community Server

There are a few oddities:

  • the install asked me to set my IE homepage to MSN Home which I chose not to do, despite the fact I use IE for only 2% of my browsing so it would not often bug me, but I resent being pushed at a site which has nothing to do with the task at hand.
  • Spell-checking is only US English. I realise this is only Beta but I would have hoped for a regional version, or maybe it could have checked for the presence of MS Office and used the dictionaries I have there, including my customisations.
  • Beta 2 claims to be Beta version 1.0, albeit with a more detailed build number behind that.


So, download Windows Live Writer Beta 2 and start using it to update your own blogs (or create one on MS LiveSpaces if you don’t already have one).

One Response to Windows Live Writer Beta2 is here

  1. Pingback: Using British English spelling in Windows Live Writer « Getting IT right

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