As mentioned yesterday, I have long enjoyed using Windows Live Writer as my offline blogging tool. I appreciate its simplicity. It’s purity of purpose. It’s lightweight, just enough tool to get things done.
It’s not perfect, but it has some great features. It’s simplicity has allowed its functionality to be extended by the user community. For example, there’s a nice trick that uses DropBox to sync WLW drafts between systems. This has proven very productive as I move between desktop & laptop.
I also appreciate the way that it will automatically insert web links to a library of phrases. This kind of auto-linking, previously done server-side using a WordPress plug-in, was a constant source of problems in the past.
Sadly, Microsoft has largely ignored Windows Live Writer in recent years. It wasn’t even included in the Windows 10 RTM. There was a trick initially required to get it installed on Windows 10.
There has been a rumor circulating that a team inside Microsoft was pushing to open source the orphan app. I signed a petition promoting this idea. Happily, Scott Hanselmann yesterday announced that this has in fact happened with the launch of Open Live Writer, a fork of WLW2012 as part of the .NET Foundation.
Last evening I downloaded the app and installed along side old faithful, Windows Live Writer 2012. So far it’s just like WLW2012, but missing a few things. The most significant two omissions are support for Blogger and a spell checker.
Scott notes that the codebase currently reflects some very old standards and practices. We probably shouldn’t be too critical of what exists. At least now there’s the opportunity to take the app into the future.
I for one welcome this move and look forward to engaging with the user community to help push them project ahead. Someone once said that WLW was the first genuine “killer app” in Microsoft’s Live effort.
It’s wonderful to see the app now in the hands of those who appreciate it’s value. They believed enough to fight for it’s freedom. Now they can chart the course of it’s future.
P.S. – How crazy is it that this happens the very same day that Automattic releases the WordPress app for Windows? Or further that this very post has been created using both of these apps?