From technology to politics to video games; these are the random thoughts of a geek with too much time on his hands

Windows Live Writer is one of a number of blog writing/management tools out there, and personally, it's my favorite.  It's completely free to download and use, works with both Windows XP and Vista.

Grab Live Writer here.

Essentially what Live Writer is, is a word processor for blogs.  Type and format until you're blue in the face.  Spell check, save a copy to work on later, insert rich media easily etc.  It makes writing long and complex blog posts incredibly easy.

Plus, it does auto-thumbnailing of images if you have somewhere to post them.

Configuring Live Writer is the only tricky part, and to do that you need only a few bits of information:

  1. The URL of your blog (i.e. http://zoomba.joeuser.com/ )
  2. Your login information (username/password)
  3. The JoeUser MetaWebBlog API File:
    https://www.joeuser.com/api/MetaWeblog.axd

Now, once you have Live Writer downloaded and installed, it's time to start it up and configure it to connect to your blog.

Configuring Live Writer

When you start Live Writer for the first time, it will ask to create a new weblog account.  If it doesn't, just go to the Weblog menu and select "Add Weblog Account" from the bottom of the list.

You'll see this window:

image

To start, you'll want to select "Another weblog service" since neither of the other options applies.

Click next.

image

Now enter the URL for your blog, and your login information.  I suggest you check the box to save your password.

Click next.

image

It will briefly try and detect some settings.  You'll then be told to select a provider.

Select Metaweblog API from the drop-down list, and enter this into the Remote posting URL field:

https://joeuser.com/api/MetaWeblog.axd

Click Next.

Now it will try and detect your blog theme  and ask you if you want to create a temporary post.  Click no.  JoeUser does not support this feature.

And you're done!  Just make sure you have your JoeUser blog selected from the Weblog menu before you start writing blogs to publish.


Using Windows Live Writer

Using Live Writer is incredibly easy.  You can almost treat it as a regular word processor.

Here's a quick look at the major parts of the Live Writer interface:

lwriter

The most important parts are the Publish Button, the Writing Area and the Category List.

The first line you see in the Writing area is your blog title.  Live Writer unfortunately doesn't support subtitles like JoeUser does, so you'll have to edit those in on the site later if you want to include one.

Write your blog, format it however you like, go crazy.  When you're done, make sure you have a category selected from the list, and then hit publish.  After a few seconds, the post will be done and you'll automatically be taken to your article on the site.

It couldn't be easier!

You can also edit previously posted articles by selecting them from the "Recently Posted" list on the right bar.  It will download your post from the site, allow you to edit it in LiveWriter and then update it.

It's important to note that this will only work with articles originally posted via LiveWriter.

Well, those are the basics.  Later on I'll put up a tutorial on advanced topics like uploading images, special formatting settings etc.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 25, 2008
Does Live writere allow for posting the same content to multiple blogs?
on Feb 25, 2008
And does it have spell-check?      
on Feb 25, 2008
Yes, it has spell check!  And you can configure as many blog accounts as you like, you just have to pick the one you want to post to from the Weblog menu.
on Feb 25, 2008
And you can configure as many blog accounts as you like, you just have to pick the one you want to post to from the Weblog menu.
That's close to what I want.  I'll take a look.

Thanks for the tip.
on Feb 25, 2008
If you have an article you want to post to multiple sites, all you have to do is write it, pick a blog from the list, hit publish.  Select another blog from the list, hit publish again.  Rinse and repeat for every blog you have configured.

It's not as easy as a "publish to all" button, but it's close.
on Feb 25, 2008
Excellent article. I just happened to have downloaded it this morning.
on Feb 25, 2008

We're actually using JoeUser as a test-bed for a lot of tech and features we want to someday integrate with WinCustomize and our other sites.  A better article system, tags, social interaction features etc that you see on a blog site could be a great add to a site like this. 

As things are tested and ironed out on JoeUser, we hope to bring the best bits here.  This way when we add something really big and cool, we've already spent some time running it live, squashing bugs and catching obvious UI and usability issues.

If folks are curious as to some of the future tech for WC, I suggest taking a look at JoeUser 2. 

on Feb 25, 2008
Thanks for the post, Zoomba. It certainly does make posting easier (especially since FireFox doesn't like to cut/paste into the richtext editor ) and the best part is - you can save it in the middle.

on Feb 25, 2008
I've been using Live Writer since before the website change and I love it. Makes it really easy to write articles before going on to the site and it's easy to edit and add stuff live pictures and video.

I still have some small issues with JU2 like when ever I go from the main page to the forums I sometimes have to log in again to be able to post and sometimes I am not logged in on the main page but am in the forums. That's weird. Sometimes I'm logged on to both the main page and forums but not logged on when I wanna post. I guess the site does not want me to speak my mind. LOL.
on Feb 25, 2008
Zoomba,

Great post! I use WL Writer for my spaces site, but I never knew I could configure it to work with JoeUser too. I'll try this out when I get home.

on Feb 25, 2008
Live Writer is an awesome application.  It's very useful for posting to multiple blogs.


on Feb 25, 2008

All my blogs are posted via Live Writer.

on Feb 25, 2008
It doesn't seem to support sub-categories. Ie, you can select OS Customization, but you can't select a category below that.
on Feb 25, 2008

No, that is one of the weaknesses of it. You end up having to edit that after the fact.

on Feb 27, 2008

Mike, it worked great for me!  I have the problem with whee it posts too, in Personal Computing! 

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