Windows Live Writer … Huh?

Microsoft’s newly released Live Writer is getting oodles of praise, but I’m going to demur. It’s typical Microsoft eye candy: Pleasant to look at, but seemingly designed by people who have only seen photographs of real bloggers. Some examples:

  1. On setup it refused to auto-recognize my blog at its actual address. And the typically over-controlling Microsoft software wouldn’t give me a manual config mode screen to set the blog up directly, simply blowing up with an error instead. I had to trick it into giving me a manual config screen by giving it the incorrect URL for my blog. Go figure.
  2. The “Web” layout in the app is nonsensical. Because I have a three column CSS layout Microsoft Live Writer faithfully mimics that on screen. Except there is a problem: On the blog those two other (outer) columns have content. On the editor screen they’re empty, like giant white margins that should be able to get rid of, but can’t. Go back to normal view, however, and it screws up the HTML formatting, like block quotes. Great.
  3. It doesn’t auto-load your most recently posted stories. Instead, it forces you to go find some stories and load them in yourself. That’s dumb.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t bother installing Windows Live Writer. Go get Firefox, and load the excellent Performancing extension. It does everything (useful) Live Writer does (and more), it’s free and open source, and it’s browser-integrated. Who needs another standalone binary app?


  1. The Windows Live Writer folks did a nice job. Also check out RocketPost, It’s far more advanced than Writer, and there’s a free version. (I designed it.)

  2. joining you in the vocal WTF minority.
    hey there’s a guy saying that publishing via live writer fux up the blog in firefox. did you notice that?
    good to see you again paul.

  3. paul,
    live writer (i agree there should be a way to auto-archive posts) is far from perfect but the installation process was fairly smooth (it doesn’t recognize blogware, mind you), and writing and editing posts is easy. the biggest challenge facing microsoft with every product (new and old) it releases is a combination of overly high expectations and a built-in bias that whatever it does will have flaws. live writer is not a huge innovation but it’s solid enough and entirely use-able.

  4. I have heard exactly the same thing

  5. On a scale of 10, I give Live Writer a 6.875. It’s not the best app to use to write a blog (actually I prefer the blog writer found in the beta version of word 2007) But it’s not bad either.

  6. Hey Paul, You might like Qumana then. We download your last 10 or so posts (it’s up to you, you can download more if you wish).
    I agree with your review. I tried it this morning expecting something really cool. I did think the preview of the post on the page was interesting, but how much extra space is that taking on my machine? I have 20 blogs, that’s a lot of extra stuff I’ll rarely use.
    I also had set up troubles with Live Writer. I couldn’t get it to recognize my science blog at all.
    Qumana might not be the best, but we did think about the creature comforts that bloggers need (like being able to look at posts written before you installed Q). This seems to be a first salvo to show some benefit to buying Onfolio (IMHO).

  7. Aha! Tris, you’re here too :) Nice to see.
    I’m from BlogJet. Try me :))

  8. blogschmlog says:

    I liked it. It setup well and it’s a hello of a lot easier to deal with pictures. I don’t recall performancing being able to do that.

  9. Disagree with you with regard to performancing, I’ve just tried inserting a large screen image into Performancing and WLW , WLW created a thumbnail and image automatically, Performancing just inserted the image. Once the image was in the app. WLW handled it easier with respect to formatting etc.

  10. tried writer… what a piece of bloat. had some of the same problems, plus two or three new ones.

  11. Disagree. Very usable app. Far superior to say Blogger’s built-in editor and I had no problems creating a new post in that via WLW. Also, did you check out the “web preview” mode vs the “web layout” mode? The latter shows my blog as it looks complete with previous posts, etc. Finally, from what I can see, this isn’t just going to be a blogging tool and it’s beta – so how about cutting them some slack?

  12. Manish!
    I didn’t find free RocketPost (… Please, post the link 8)

  13. I must disagree on this one. I too am a dedicated Performancing user, but I found the WYSIWYG interface that included formatting, font’s, blockquote, and images quite stunningly better in LiveWriter.
    Performancing is highly convenient as a FF extension, low memory usage, and I will continue to use for those reasons. But its still very much beta when it comes to formatting, and I almost always have to edit to correct.
    If Livewriter gets a FF extension to access I would change.

  14. I’ve been using Peformancing for over a year because a) our blog uses Movable Type which is slow and b) nothing out there is really any better (outside of a desktop app).
    But Performancing has some real issues. First, it uses
    rather than

    . Second, its HTML source view isn’t HTML source. Third, it is extremely inconsistent in its application of categories (whether it’s MT or WordPress).

  15. Just how did you get your Movable Type blog set up using the Live Writer program? I am new to the program and I am having the hardest time getting it to work. It keeps saying that my login information is not correct. Any tips?
    Thanks, Jamie